What exactly is a Kids Clothing Swap, you ask?
It’s an opportunity to bring clothes your kids can’t use any longer for other families to take and you to take home “new” clothes that others brought that your kids can use. Basically, swapping out kids clothes.
Why would anyone want to host a Kids Clothing Swap?
I don’t know about you, but when my daughter was a wee little baby and toddler I had a TON of clothes. They were accumulated from grandparents and family (she was the first little one in her generation – so naturally she was gifted plenty of cute and adorable clothes), and handed down from wonderful church family friends who had daughters slightly older.
With all of these clothes, there were a few littler girls than my daughter that I could in turn pass down to them. But after going through everything I really didn’t want to decide who gets what, and then track everyone down to give them their bag.
I devised a plan that I would invite those moms over and they could pick out the clothes that they wanted. It was great to give away clothes I couldn’t use any longer. And it was pretty awesome to get more hand-me-downs that my growing daughter could fit into.
I invited this core of 6-8 moms over about once or twice a year to do this swapping of kids clothes. After a couple of years my home was too small to extend the invitation to the friends of these moms. I asked the church if I could use the gym to host my little Kids Clothing Swap, and of course they said yes.
It was the first time I could invite more moms to be a part of the sharing. I made up an insert to put in our church bulletin (we have a modest congregation around 120 people) and made sure to invite all the moms I personally knew.
It was a small swap but everyone benefited in some way. Most were able to clean out their kids’ closets and bring home “new” clothes.
The next time I extended the invitation to homeschoolers in the area by posting the event on Facebook. The turnout was growing. Moms were loving that they could get free clothes for their kids, and they were picking things out for their friends’ kids too.
After that time I knew I was comfortable with inviting strangers, I knew how to organize the event, and I saw that this would be a huge blessing to our town. It was time to branch out and extend the invitation outside of my own circles.
Our last Kids Clothing Swap was a super success! We had at least 20 moms come in with clothes they didn’t need and leave with clothes they could use. Also, most of those moms were able to pick up a bag of clothes for their friends with kids.
We had so many clothes leftover I asked a couple of the young moms help me distribute donations; one mom is dropping a bag off to her daughter’s preschool and the other mom is dropping a bag off to her son’s elementary school. This is so that the schools have a change of clothes for kids when those inevitable accidents happen.
Even still, there are bags of clothes left. I will be donating the size 5T and under to our local WIC Caring Closet and the bigger sizes to a Christian center in our community who serves those in need.
Can you imagine that!? So many kids are getting blessed with the clothes they need! Thank you, Lord, for providing this opportunity to these families!
How do you get your church on board?
I think it’s pretty easy to get your church leadership loving this idea, but sometimes getting individuals excited and wanting to help can be a challenge. There are a few things I do to get our members involved (because this is an outreach ministry): ask for help in the bulletin, at the podium, and to individuals.
For the bulletin insert I create I make sure the most important details of what a kids clothing swap is and I include a call to action. Something like “Hey church… you can help make this a success! You can help with set up, donations, making snacks, helping with clean up or helping to drop off donations” usually will do the trick. Clear and concise is best.
Speaking at the podium is not always fun for those with stage fright but “the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7). It can be really simple, less than a minute to announce what and when is the kids clothing swap along with how they can be involved.
And nothing beats walking up to someone and saying: “Hi, I’m hosting a kids clothing swap and I need help to make it run smoothly. Can you help by making coffee and providing a snack for the moms who attend?” People are more likely to get involved when they personally feel needed.
How often should you host a Kids Clothing Swap?
Our clothing swaps usually happen once in the Spring and once in the Fall. You could choose to do it annually as well.
This ministry has been really fun to do, I love seeing the moms get excited because they are getting the clothes they need for their kids. Every time this event comes around there are moms telling me they can’t wait and are so thankful for the opportunity.
Are you ready to bring a Kids Clothing Swap to your community? Check out my next post for the details of how to host a kids clothing swap.