Wednesday, August 08, 2012
Swap and Save | Family Economics
You quickly realize the expense of raising a family the first time your child outgrows a new wardrobe or set of toys. As a mom of five, it did not take me long to discover the benefits that swapping with neighbors, friends and family had on my bank account.
My first swapping experience was during my local MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group meeting. A few moms brought items they no longer needed, which could be swapped for things they could use. It was during one of those meetings that we got the idea of hosting themed swaps, including a book swap, toy swap and clothing swap.
To host your own swap event, start by recruiting other moms who are willing to help organize a swap and choose a location. The location will be determined by how many swappers are invited and what items will be swapped.
Next, decide on a day and time that meets the needs of those participating and pick a theme. Think about nap schedules and school hours when choosing your time and clothes, toys, books and household items always make great themes.
Before you send out invitations, create guidelines. Creating and sharing guidelines for the swap will ensure success. Your guidelines should include the following:
• List of approved items (make sure to state that only clean and working items will be accepted)
• Date and time specifying when items should be dropped off and picked up
• Details of what will happen with items that aren’t swapped
• Any other guidelines or rules you feel will make for a smooth swap event
When sending out invitations, give your swappers ample time to gather items and be sure to include details such as date, time, location and guidelines. Also ask swappers to drop off items a few days ahead of the party to allow your team time to sort and organize items into categories.
As you set up for the swap, you will need extra tables and grocery bags for swappers to carry their items. Markers, paper and tape are needed to create category and directional signs. A full-length mirror is also helpful if clothing will be swapped.
After the event, I always like to take a few minutes with my team and evaluate successes and failures. This helps me to ensure my next swap is an even bigger success! Lastly, when the event is over, I like to donate any leftover items to a local charity.
Have you attended or hosted your own swap party? What tips do you have?