Ever wondered how to host a swap meet? It’s a great way to get new stuff and declutter your house. It promotes goodwill and neighborly relationships.
A couple of weeks ago I hosted a swap meet.
Having heard of the concept for years, I had always wanted to try it. Free stuff! Get rid of clutter! What’s not to love?!
1) Host your swap meet in spring or autumn, not summer.
It seems that summertime is just too busy for most folks, what with vacations, weddings (and the accompanying showers to attend) and such going on. Next time I host a swap meet, I will do it in spring or early fall, when people are looking for new kid’s clothes.
My event was small, but I consider it a success, and plan on doing it again. Dozens of people told me that they loved the idea of a swap meet and wish they could have participated, but had previous plans. Many asked me to contact them the next time.
2) Decide on a theme for your swap meet and find a location
What I mean by theme is, what kind of stuff should people bring to swap? Do you want to have just women’s or kid’s clothing and shoes, or all clothing? What about small household items, books, etc? A lot of this might depend on the size of your space and how many people you invite.
Next month I’m helping with a kid’s clothing and book exchange with my homeschool field trip group. While it will be a smaller invite list, the stuff will be more targeted.
I hosted my swap in my living room. But if you wanted to have an open invitation and advertise a little, you could “rent” a library conference room (most are free if the event is non commercial in nature) or something spiffy like that.
Another nicety is a bedroom or bathroom with a full length mirror. This way, people can try on clothing.
3) Send out your invites AND a reminder
I invited most everyone on my Facebook and email contact list who lived in the area. I limited it to a one hour drive radius. I
stole shamelessly loosely paraphrased another invitation email I saw online.
I wish I had sent out a reminder though, because several people (including my mom!) forgot about the swap after RSVP’ing.
What to include in your email invitation?
People are more likely to participate in something when they know exactly what to do and what the expectations are.
You might require that all clothing items be hung. Assuming you have a place to hang stuff up, something I would recommend. If not, forget that and require that everything be neatly folded.
Ask that all items be clean and in good condition, and clearly marked as to size to simplify the “shopping” experience and save time.
I decided to keep my swap very simple.
While some might come up with a complicated system of points or whatever to keep things more “fair”, I was more concerned with making the swap fun and easy. My only rule was “don’t come empty handed”, but I didn’t concern myself with how much anyone brought or left with.
4) Have snacks
Where women are gathered, there need to be snacks! A little sangria makes it extra fun.
More info: How to host a really really free market
What is a really really free market?