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Parties With A Message: How Exchange Parties Have Moved Beyond Just Cookies
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Parties With A Message: How Exchange Parties Have Moved Beyond Just Cookies

Everyone is familiar with cookie exchanges, the parties where you bring a few dozen of your famous, home baked cookies and bring home a few dozen of other people's baked goods. But, did you know that that same kind of party concept can be used for other exchanges? From toys to books to even clothing, like minded people are getting together and having exchange parties to make the most of their items and to save money in the process.

The exchange concept works best when you keep the party small but not too small. Keeping the concept simple is also important. For instance, if you are swapping clothing, limit all items to clothing. For a toddler or baby item exchange it can be both clothing and baby toys or other related items. This can be a great way to keep fresh items coming in without having to spend way more money than you can really afford. You know that some of your friends will show up with their best items, looking suspiciously brand new while other friends will bring items that are just this side of trash. You have to expect the best but prepare for the worst. If you know that one friend or family member is likely to come in and snatch up all of the good things, either limit how much can be swapped or drop them from your invite list.

Other exchanges can be done with skills and services as well. If a neighbor cannot get out and mow her lawn for herself ask if she can handle a small task while you do it. One community has local college students provide pet care or tutoring for their children while the student gets the use of the washing machine or a hot, home cooked meal. Bartering skills like this can keep people from having to pay huge amounts of money for the services that they need to have done.

Set a day for your exchange, depending on the type and make it into a party. That way it is more a social event than anything else. Some people may come and bring items but not take anything away. After the end of your exchange, take remaining items to a shelter or a resale shop so that you are not stuck with things you do not need. It is a great way to keep things from cluttering your house as well as helping others in need- it is a win-win for everyone.


Street Talk

What a great idea! Thanks Amie.

Reply
  about 9 years ago
William6  

Ami, This was a part of my neighborhood ritual when I was growing up. One or 2 days a month, neighbors would all chip in and everybody would do what needed to be done. It was my first real ' networking" experience. It was also fun. Are these "parties" on the increase by any chance? I could see them working here in my community...maybe. Where can I find out more about these parties?

Reply
  about 9 years ago

I think that in tight knit communities it just takes a planning meeting and then a place to hold it. I am going to approach my local high school to see if we can have a clothing exchange in the cafeteria - that way we can have more people come in rather than trying to do it in someone's home. The cheerleaders or another group might also serve refreshments if they would like, so they can do some fundraising as well. I found a group that pooled their resources and bought a community oven. Every month, the oven is fired up and everyone brings their dough and other things to bake- and they can hang around and sample. It sounds so great I would like to see that happen too.

Reply
  about 9 years ago
William6  

Well, It sounds like you got a plan going there. I think you are right about using the High School cafeteria too. People have a tendency to be more at ease on common ground. Good Luck and keep us posted.

  
  about 9 years ago
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