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How to organize a kids’ clothing swap at your home

Who has “clean out the kids’ closets” on your 2012 to-do list? There’s something about the New Year — or maybe it’s all those new toys that are scattered around the house — that makes moms want to dig in to closets and get rid of things that they no longer need.



What is a clothing swap?

A clothing swap is a great alternative to taking a car-full of your kids’ clothes to the local donation truck or having to spend time going back and forth with the consignment store.

The idea behind a swap is to have a group of friends bring gently used children’s clothes to one home, where everyone gets to off-load the stuff taking up room in their closets and bring home some new pieces for their kids.


How do I organize one with my friends?

Organizing a clothing swap takes a bit of planning. We suggest keeping the number of guests small the first time you host a clothing swap.

Note: Make sure to balance the number of guests bringing boy and girl clothes and consider keeping the sizes of clothes within a small range, such as 2T-5T clothing, or whatever is appropriate for your group.

Once you get a group of friends together, specify the maximum number of items each person can bring — 10 is a good place to start — and for each piece of clothing a mom brings, they get a ticket in the form of a sticker (with their name on it) to take a new-to-them piece of clothing home. So, if you bring 10 items, you can take as many as 10 items home.

When guest arrive, they can put their name stickers on the clothing they want to take home. Popular items may have more than one name on them, in which case you’ll need a system for picking a winner — rock, paper, scissors is always fool-proof! Or, let moms barter with each other for pieces they have to have!

What do I do to get ready?

The easiest way to prepare for a clothing swap at your home is to have participants drop off their clothes prior to the swap itself. This will give you time to organized the items by size, gender and type of clothing before the actual swap begins. When participants drop off their items, give them their tickets to be used at the swap, which they will redeem for their “new” items.

Organizing the clothes themselves can be as simple as laying them out around your home — on the kitchen table, your couch or even your bed — any flat surface will do. You can also put similar clothes in boxes or bins, sorted by size.

I’m looking for an easier alternative — any ideas?

If organizing a clothing swap at your home seems like a daunting task, check out thredUP, an online children’s clothing swap site that works in a similar way.

You send in a box of gently used clothes from your child’s closet and earn credit toward purchasing similar boxes of clothes, but in the sizes you need. Or, post the clothes you have available on the thredUP site and send them directly to another mom who wants to buy. The site is easy to use and since buyers rate your boxes of clothes, everything is in good condition — no duds allowed here!

More on children’s clothing

5 Ways to sell your gently used baby equipment and clothes
What do your kids’ clothes say about them?
Are designer clothes for kids a do or don’t?

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