Did you know the most sustainable way to shop for your baby is to buy secondhand? With most parents having less kids these days, there are more than enough hand-me-downs to go around. Added bonus: used clothing that’s been washed a bajillion times doesn’t have chemicals found on new, non-organic clothing.
So naturally, we’ve been dying to host a badass kids clothing swap and couldn’t be happier that we finally did! We teamed up with the Cool Moms Club Bay Area, headed by Katie Hintz-Zambrano, editor of Mother, and Jeanne Chang, founder of Shop Sweet Things. Now we’ve got all the tips and tricks for you to throw your own.
STEP #1 - Choose a Date + Time
We recommend a date towards the end of a season or year. This is usually prime time for moms to do a closet purge. Don’t make the swap too long, 2-4 hours is plenty.
STEP #2 - The Invite List
We found that moms have more than enough goods to donate, so “the more the merrier” isn’t necessarily the answer to throwing an easy breezy swap. We recommend being selective -- pick an age range and invite moms whose kids fall into that age/size range. You can assume 25-30% of invitees will attend.
STEP #3 - Pick a Venue
We chose The Butterfly Joint, a wood workshop for kids (awesome right?!). It proved to be the perfect space because it had a ton of open space, a large center table, bright lights, and slat walls to hang things from (bonus). Alternate options: cool daycare center, kids’ camps, neighborhood rec center, or a big backyard.
STEP #4 - Send an Evite
We’re not only doing this for cool clothes, we’re also doing it for the environment, so avoid paper invitations and stick with a simple Evite. Require people to RSVP so you can plan accordingly.
TELL PEOPLE WHAT THEY SHOULD AND SHOULD NOT DONATE! People should avoid donating anything they'd be embarrassed to give to a friend (like stained or ripped clothes and underwear). Request that they separate the clothing out by size. Ask them to put their name on the front of the bag.
Be clear about when and where people can drop off clothing. It will help you on the day of the event if you receive a portion of the donations in advance.
STEP #5 - THE SHOPPING LIST
This is a sizable list of things, but once you and your group of moms purchase these items you can hold onto some of them for the next “SWAP IT!” or other event you throw together. Before you purchase, try to source items from moms in your group or consider renting.
Organize the space by size and category. We put all of the toys and accessories on the center table and hung the rest on racks organized by size. We hung signs above each section to make it a super easy “shopping” experience.
Set up crates or bins next to each size section. Most moms will bring donations the day of. You aren’t going to have time to hang them beautifully, so we recommend having bins organized by size to throw them in.
Merchandise! Display outfits or organize by color. Show people that used clothing is just as stylish and cool as new clothing.
Add flowers! It’s amazing what a little bit of green can do to liven up a space. We were lucky enough to have flowers donated by BloomThat and we sent all of the moms home with a bouquet at the end of the night, which they loved.
Write down the names of everyone who donated and how many items they donated. When they check in, give them the same amount of tokens as donated items and a large tote bag to shop the event.
STEP #8 - DONATE!
You will definitely have clothing leftover, so choose a local charity to donate to. Most people don’t realize that the clothing they donate to The Goodwill often ends up being sold to companies overseas when it could be used to help moms in your local community. This step might take a tiny bit longer to research, but your fellow moms will thank you for doing so.
And that is a Swap! Have more questions on how to throw an awesome swap, feel free to leave a comment below! If you would like to be invited to our next Swap, sign up for our newsletter and you will be the first to know.