A Swap Shop How-To

In my last post I talked about our Swap Shop. I wanted to expand on that and give you a few tips on how to do one with your friends.  It’s not difficult and it’s a lot of fun but here are five things to consider before uncorking the wine and having a laugh with your fellow swappers.



1) Choose a category of items to swap.

Pick kids clothing or toys or sports gear or  adult sized clothing, but pick a category and stick with it.  We added things like books and DVDs to our toy swap and those items made sense but mixing everything together might mean a loss of synergy and people not finding what they are looking for.

2) Have a common goal.

For us, our goal was simply to clear the clutter out of our homes.  We all wanted to pass items on to others and for us, that was more important than shopping for items for ourselves.  If there are swappers who are worried about keeping tabs on who brought what or the value of things or how many things each person is taking home it might not go over so well.  Clearing the clutter was our goal.  Shopping for ourselves was a bonus.  There’s a certain level of trust in our group and I think it’s best to do this with close friends rather than a group of acquaintances.

3) Keep your group small.

We had about 8 women.  The excess items we had looked like it could have come from 20 people.  You won’t be prepared for how much stuff there will be and unless you intend to hire a moving crew to deal with it – keep your group on the smaller side.  I think 8-10 people is a great size of group to swap.

4) Choose where the excess will go before hand.

It helps to know where the items will go before you have your swap and are facing a mountain that needs to be dealt with.  This also allows you to make sure you only bring items that can be donated to the chosen recipient.  For instance, we chose to donate to WINS and we checked the website before our event to find out what they would accept.  They don’t accept stuffed animals so we all knew not to bring any to our swap.  If we had a pile of them that couldn’t go anywhere that would have been less than ideal.

5) Figure out who manage the excess.

Some organizations will pick up items you have for donation.  Some won’t.  You might need a truck and two people to manage it all.  Get that sorted out ahead of time before one of your friends is stuck living with boxes in her kitchen for any length of time.  This should leave everyone feeling less stressed out – not more.


There you have it!  A few pointers on how to Swap Shop and have a fun time doing it.  I hope you’ll give it a try and if you do be sure to let me know how it goes!







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