Monday, February 15, 2010

My Story: A Swap Party!

After reading about Swaps in magazines and other blogs, I knew a Swap would be a fun gathering for some of the ladies in my church circle. We've been looking for more mingling-type events to help ladies get to know one another better. Food and "free" shopping - how could you go wrong? :-) Not to mention in this economy it's also very practical. Most of us are moms of little ones, so we treasure all child-free outings. I'll share my experience with you in case you're catching the trend and thinking about hosting one, too!
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I started by enlisting a co-organizer and a hostess. This made it much more manageable. We decided a "Home Goods" theme would suit our group nicely. Other themes: clothing, accessories, kids stuff, holiday, etc. We drew up a guest list. We settled on a Saturday morning from 10am to noon and asked everyone to bring a brunch item to share. Out went the invitations, complete with suggestions of what [home decor, kitchen goods, lamps, pillows, gadgets, craft supplies, etc.] and how much [1-8 items] to bring:

Our hostess was simply asked to make coffee ... and open her home to a small crowd of excited shoppers with armfuls of treasures. We mixed, mingled and munched in her great room, while we displayed our Swap wares on her patio. Unfortunately, I was too busy to think about taking pictures until we were almost down to the leftovers:

(Tip: be sure you think ahead about how much space is required to display the goods. For example, our 20 guests filled one large dining table, 7 patio chairs, 3 side tables plus floor space for larger items. Also, offer sticky notes if anyone wants to add some qualifier to an item. Provide extra bags if needed for taking one's haul home in.)

As ladies arrived, they were given a swap # and some "mixer" suggestions:

as well as a name tag. I am THAT person who forgets your name before you've finished telling me, so name tags helped me if no one else! Our main goal was really just to connect people who fly by each other at church on their way to pick up the kids from the nursery, so name tags and the mixer questions were a plus!

As everyone arrived, they set out their swap items and brunch treats, and got settled in. About 10:15 we began. We announced the rules: in groups of 3, ladies would shop the patio for one item. (based on their Swap #: 1-3, 4-6, 7-9, etc. So first arrivals had an advantage in nabbing the good stuff!) After everyone snagged one thing, we went around the numbers again. Each was asked to take in proportion to what they had brought. Meanwhile everyone could snack and chat. The no pressure, no all-eyes-on-me way it was set up with the wares a little separated from the hanging-out was well-received. The focus was on the fellowship.

We cycled through our 20 guests three times, then we said everyone could pop out and take whatever was left that they had their eye on. A generous amount of items were brought and several of us wanted to leave with less than we had come!  :-)  After this last shop, anyone was welcome to take their own leftovers home. The remainders were donated to a thrift store run by our Crisis Pregnancy center.

So, other than tips like "have your friend tell you your shirt label is sticking out BEFORE the event is over" I think I covered it! :-)  I imagine we'll be doing more swap or swap-type events. The ladies who came are buzzing about what the next theme should be and the ones who missed want to do home stuff again! Let me know if you have questions or more tips to add!

If you'd like to use this invitation template/background to get started, feel free:


PS: Two of my best resources were:  Better Homes & Gardens Jan. 2010, Swap till you drop article pg. 20 and this blog post by Nester.

Linking this post to the DIY collection of ideas at Kimba's blog. 

39 comments:

kirstin & jordan said...

This is such a great idea... I love it!
We have a Friday Fun Find party- we'd love it if you'd link up!

Molly @ A Bit O' Shine said...

I HAVE been dreaming about doing this. I am in the mood to pare down my possessions and rather than just haul it off to Goodwill, I'd love for it to go to someone who really wants it and gets it free.

Thanks so much for the invitation template!

oneordinaryday said...

What a great idea. That's recycling at its finest. (and most fun!)

Cindy Conner said...

This is such a neat idea! I am going to pass this on to my oldest daughter. She does a moms play date at our church and is always looking for new ways to get new mommies involved. TFS

too Blessed to Stress said...

looks like a blast! I so wantot host one of these. Thanks for the tips and ideas .

~ Emily N. from "too Blessed to Stress"

ALVN of WhisperWood Cottage and Junkologie said...

This is so helpful! I totally want to host one!

Tracy Suzanne said...

Hi Jeanne. I just came across your blog, well as in about an hour ago. LOL. I love it you have so many wonderful ideas. I can't wait to come back and see more. I love how detailed you are and the great pictures you take. You're swap party looks like it was so much fun, I wish I could go. Great idea and execution.

Hugs...Tracy :)

Angie @ SeriouslyAHomemaker.com said...

wowza! this is SUCH a great idea! and a great way to get friends from my different social circles (church, kid's school, the gym, work, etc) together in one place for fun, food, and great "take-aways"!! i am going to do it!!

Vanessa said...

Sounds so fun! I've been wanting to do one of these!

katie jean said...

Such a great idea! I would love to do this with a crafty group of girls. Thanks for the inspiration :)

Donna said...

Thank you so much for providing the giveaway gift for TidyMom! I am looking forward to your terrific new book!!!

The Scooper said...

Such a great idea and adorable invites! Thank you for sharing your template!

Aurora said...

Jeanne, what a great idea!!! Thanks so much for stopping by my blog and allowing me to discover yours - those valentine ideas look yummy!

Debbie said...

That sounds like such a wonderful idea! I'd love to do that with my friends.

Stacey @ The Blessed Nest said...

Very cute & sounds like a lot of fun! I've done clothing/wardrobe accessories swap before, but a "home" swap would be great! Thanks for the lovely "Let's Swap" download too! :)
Blessings,
Stacey

Kim @ Frostmeblog.blogspot.com said...

Great idea! I so want to do this when the snow melts! Great blog!

Kim @ http://frostmeblog.blogspot.com

Tina Lane said...

This is a thrifty fun idea. I have been thinking about doing one of these for my friends. Sounds great.

Stopping by from SITS.

Elizabeth Patch said...

This is such a wonderful way to organize a swap without it becoming a mad dash for the good stuff! hi! Thanks for stopping by my blog on Monday and helping to make my SITS day special.

Unknown Mami said...

Very fun! I've hosted a clothing swap before and it was great.

Thank you for visiting on my SITs day!

Linda said...

Way to go green and free at the same time! Happy SITS Thursday.

The Blonde Duck said...

Popped in to say hi! That's a great idea!

Anonymous said...

This is great! I've been thinking about doing this for awhile, but didn't know quite how to organize it.

Thanks for the download too!

Heather said...

Love that idea Jeanne! Hope you are doing well. :)

Lisa said...

You've inspired me and I am in the process of setting up a swap party with my friends! Thanks!

Helen said...

What a awesome idea... so much fun! so glad I found your blog - cant wait to have a read of your other posts. Thanks so much for sharing. Helen

Anonymous said...

Hello. And Bye.

mommaof4wife2r said...

oh my word...love this!!! came by from SITS and i'm totally thinking i need a swap! i gotta find some friends with good stuff too! ha! have a great day!

Michelle said...

What a great idea! Thanks for sharing how you did it. This looks like tons of fun!

Rene W. said...

What a fantastic idea! I just love reading your blogs :) Rene W.

Yummy Mummy said...

What a fun idea! It sounds like everyone had a great time and went home with awesome "new" things!

Miss G said...

may I use your invitation wording for a swap I'm hosting? This is such a helpful post, thanks! Kelly

jeanne @ Inspiring Ideas said...

Hi Kelly! Yes, of course you may use the wording! Have a great event!!

Anonymous said...

A few very good tips. Very well thought out

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Anonymous said...

Incredibly clear info. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

With thanks for an excellent post

Anonymous said...

Thank you for taking the time to create a real beneficial blog page, it's been very useful.

Patty said...

What a wonderful idea! I am totally going to do this once it gets cooler and I can set up some tables in my backyard! Great way to recycle our wares!
I'm so glad to have "found" your blog thru SITS!

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