Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Clothing Swap

Our church clothing swap has saved me big bucks over the past six years.  This year I got 3 pairs of jeans for my boys, 3 boys' shirts in good condition, and a couple of dress clothes for my son's school uniform.  I estimate that it saved me $50 or more.  More importantly, the clothing swap is an easy way I can help my neighbors to get through these hard economic times.

This year, I enjoyed meeting our missionaries at the clothing swap.  One of the elders had outgrown his suit and was able to find a new one.  Both of them were so happy.  It reminded me how much they're sacrificing to be able to serve the people in our neighborhood.  I'm glad someone's donation helped them.

Our swap usually happens in July--right before the start of the new school year.  A few months before the swap, we start seeing posters announcing the date and reminding us to start collecting clothes.  About a month ahead, the Relief Society President announces that we can take our clothes to some of the volunteers in our neighborhood.  These families help to take the clothes over to the building on the day of the swap, but they also get first dibs on the clothes.

We swap clothes for every size and gender, including women's plus size and men's Sunday clothing.  The leaders like to emphasize that "You don't have to swap to donate! You don't have to donate to swap!"  To donate, we bring our clothes pre-sorted by size and gender.  We can drop them off ahead of time to one of the volunteers, or we can bring them to the church on the morning of the swap between 9 and 11 am. 

The swap is from 12 pm to 2 pm.  Usually, women's clothing is in the cultural hall on labeled tables.  Children's clothing is separated into size groups in the smaller classrooms.  Men's clothing usually takes up a larger classroom.  Any leftover clothing is sent to Deseret Industries, a local non-profit thrift store.

I've never been to a smaller swap, but I think it would be a lot of fun.  One of my neighbors organized a Halloween costume swap.  (In this swap, the costumes were borrowed then returned after Halloween.)  I've also heard of women having accessory swaps.  Wouldn't that be fun?

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