Tuesday, September 10, 2013

An Elementary School Clothing Swap

Everything I brought home from the swap

One of our local elementary schools, Zilker Elementary, hosted their annual back-to-school clothing and book swap last weekend. I had the good fortune to spend a couple of hours at the swap sans children and I came home with two market bags full of clothes and shoes. (I didn't have any luck with the books this time.)  

The rules are simple: bring books and clothes you no longer need, take ones you do. If you don't bring anything to swap you are still welcome to take something home because there is always enough to go around. I took three bags of clothes and books to donate and came home with two bags. (Two big bags of free clothes and shoes. Totally free.) One of the lovely things about this particular swap is that the whole community was invited; it wasn't just for families who have children at the school.

Some sweet prints for my nephew
The swap was held in the school cafeteria with the cafeteria tables set up with category signs on posts ("Toddler", "Girls", "Boys", "Women", "Shoes", etc). Swappers sorted their own donations into the appropriate piles as they arrived, which meant that the piles were constantly being refreshed as new people arrived. (And that is why I visited the shoe table no fewer than four times!) There were lots of folks swapping clothes and conversation and there was a fun, active energy in the room. I ran into several people I knew but hadn't seen in quite a while, which made the whole thing even more fun for me. It was pretty crowded, which made for a quick turnover of new materials. Kids were welcome and there were many babies strapped on backs. 

Some funky robot-themed tennies for mama
In addition to the clothes piles there were screen printers and sewing machine operators on hand to help folks transform their new finds into something unique and special. I didn't take advantage of that opportunity, though, because I had limited time and freshly screened items take time to dry. I love the instant-art-gratification of this, though! I think it's an excellent idea for larger, community-based clothes swaps where you have plenty of volunteers. 

I have to say that after attending this swap I'm determined to start a clothing swap at my kids' elementary school next year. Every school should have one!

The kids' shoes I scored


  1. That is such a great idea!! I love the idea of the sewing machines, too.

  2. I have never been to one of these but have always wanted to. Mostly because I is CHEAP, but also because I love the idea of repurposing things. It's just so civilized. I have something I don't need, you have something I do - let's talk. No money. I dig that.


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