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Swapping Benefits Your Pocketbook and Community

Guest post by Laurie from Peace Love Swap.

I have always kept an eye out for a good bargain, and I have always put forth effort to reuse and re-purpose whenever I can. When I became pregnant, my husband and I decided to decline any offers to throw us a baby shower. We decided instead just to ask our friends to pass down any baby items that they were done with (that they were more than happy to part with — you know how it is), and we were blessed with almost everything we needed to welcome a new baby.

Then I started my years as a stay-at-home mom. I traded toys and clothing with friends, and shopped craigslist and resale stores for anything else I needed.

Swapping soon became my new shopping. Then one day I was lucky enough to run across an organization that allowed me take swapping to the next level for myself and for my community: I became a swap organizer with peace. love. swap!

Every six to eight weeks, a local kids’ gym hosts our community swap. We invite families to clear out their clutter by collecting items that their kids have outgrown or no longer use.

They drop their items off at the event and volunteers organize and display everything boutique style, categorized by size. The kids enjoy playing at the gym and families socialize with each other. When the swap floor is ready, everyone comes in to take home items that are new to them. No tags, no item counting–just good clean sharing. Swaps are large for a great inventory and ongoing because, well, you know how quickly kids grow.

My motto is “swap with goodness in your heart.” And they do. For the swappers, the cost is just $5, and includes fun time for the kids and great raffle prizes.  So, for just $5 and stuff to swap, you can bring home a bag of “new” clothing, a few fresh toys, a nursing pillow, a diaper bag or whatever treasures you come across.

At the end of the day, you’ve cleaned out your clutter, found some useful items for yourself and your kids, had a great playdate, perhaps won a prize, supported a green event, and donated to local charities (all unadopted items are donated). That’s a day well spent!

For the swap organizer, it is a way to bring in a little extra cash, do something great for the community, and bring home “new” items for your kids to boot!  For me, personally, it is so rewarding to run a green and charitable event, while saving money on my family’s expenses at the same time.  I also love inspiring others to live frugally and to share the many resources that we are blessed with.  It really is a win-win for everyone!

To find a swap in your area, or to become a swap organizer, please feel free to contact Laurie at plssouthbay@gmail.com, or visit www.peaceloveswap.com.

Laurie is a stay-home mom in Manhattan Beach, California.  She has two kids, one and four years old, and a partner in frugality, her husband.  She can be reached at plssouthbay@gmail.com.

photo credit

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12 Comments

  • I love swapping my children’s clothes and all their baby items. I cannot tell you how many people have used my girls basinets, strollers, swings, high chairs, etc. It makes me feel so good that I am saving my friends and family just by letting them borrow our stuff…and of course we save by using their things when needed. This is a great way to save money.

  • Elise Adams says:

    Wow….LOVE this idea. I’ve been involved with our church yard sale to support our church school but this idea sounds SO much simpler! Especially for all the families in our parish. Thanks so much for sharing your experience and expertise!

    ~Elise Adams

  • Brigitte says:

    Been organizing clothing swaps for 10 years in Holly, MI. The only difference is that our event is entirely free and we only have them twice a year, every May & Sept. Great to see other areas do this too.

    • katie says:

      We’ve been doing the same in Phoenix for the past 10 years too – also free. It started as a group of friends and has grown to a huge group of women. We only swap women’s clothes, shoes and accessories, and basically you can take the same number of items that you came with. Everyone draws a number when they drop off their items; that number corresponds to their place in “line” for “shopping.” Works great and anything left over gets donated to charity. Plus we ask everyone to bring something for the food bank, so we get to help others too.

  • Lindsey says:

    I love this idea! anyone in the west chicago suburbs interested. i dont have kids but i feel like swapping in general is always fun.
    I love to sew and recently have been trying to only use items i already have in my closet or find at thrift stores. a challenge sometimes but so fun!

    • Katrina says:

      Hey, I live in the western suburbs and really like this idea. I already organize and run a garage sale for our preschool in the spring, so I have some experience with this and really enjoy it. Email me at shirleysnrussian@hotmail.com and we’ll see if we are even close to eachother!

  • That is a wonderful idea! And sounds so simple.
    My best friend has 3 sons and I have had to buy hardly anything because of her generosity in hand-me-downs. I cannot imagine how much money we have saved over 6 years!

  • It is a nice idea! I’m pregnant with my first, and one of my sorority sisters recently sent me some of her boys’ old clothes, as well as some maternity clothes for me. Very sweet and appreciated! As a thank-you, I had my stormtrooper husband sign some Star Wars activity books (ones that are exclusive to his Star Wars costuming group and can’t be purchased anywhere) and include SW tattoos for her oldest, who adores Star Wars. He can share with friends or use them as party favors, should he ever have a Star Wars party.

    Admittedly, I’m happy to be on the receiving end of baby showers for our baby, though. I’m hoping for cloth diapers. And I know we’ll be inundated with clothes. While I’m not opposed to used, I’m extremely obsessive about laundry and the appearance of our clothes, and I’ve found that most people aren’t as meticulous as I am about caring for their clothing.

    • Stacy says:

      I have a feeling once you have your baby you will become less meticulous about your kids clothes. Kids unfortunately are messy and they ruin just about anything you don’t want them to, LOL. I would like to pass down clothes from my two boys but after going through two kids most of them are just too trashed to hand down. It wasn’t from lack of trying.

      I am very fortunate to have a neighbor who hands me down girls clothes for my 2 year old and I am so grateful for it! I’ve had more luck passing down the girls clothes since they seem to get less messy than my boys.

      Love this idea!

  • This sounds awesome! I live in Maryland currently, but we are considering a job in California. I’m excited to see that there are Peace Love Swap events in both places!

  • Christina says:

    I LOVE this idea! I have been brainstorming a way to organize a toy swap in our area and this is great information! Thank you!

  • Laurie says:

    I forgot to mention that peace. love. swap. is also a great way to raise funds for a local church or school 🙂

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