Get Free Stuff: Parenting Magazines Offer Ideas for Swapping Clothes and Toys

kiwi_december2010-january2011.jpgIf the holidays left you with a mountain of bills to be paid, you might feel like you’ll never buy anything else again. But a few parenting magazines offer some ideas on how to organize a swap with friends (or even strangers). You can cut down on clutter with things you don’t want anymore while scoring some new stuff for your family. While economical, it’s also an eco-friendly move.

Clothing swap: Children outgrow clothing before you can blink. But now you can try trading those outgrown clothes with other parents whose tots might get wear out of your little one’s stylish duds. The December 2010/January 2011 issue of KIWI magazine explains how you can use swapping websites to trade clothes with eco-conscious shoppers across the country.

  • ThredUp: Find new clothes for your kids with this site that allows you to browse virtual boxes of gently used kids’ clothing. Pick one and pay $5 plus shipping and the box’s contents are yours. Then list your own box and wait for someone to pick it. Once your first box is chosen you’re eligible for another pick.
  • Big Wardrobe: Teach your clothes-crazy child to share clothes with kids all over the country by listing outgrown clothes in her virtual closet. For a fee of $18 a year, your child can make unlimited swaps.
  • Out Growing In: This site also lets you find and trade maternity clothing. Simply list your items on the site, and when one of them is selected you’ll receive free shipping boxes, a prepaid label, and a pickup will be scheduled. Then it’s your turn to shop. When you find a virtual box you’d like, pay the shipping (usually $15 or so) and it’s yours.

parents_january2011.jpgToy swap: If the toy your child once coveted has now be relegated to the bottom of the toy box, it might be time to organize a toy swap. It’s a great way to clear space and get new things for your children to play with–and it’s eco-friendly.

The January 2011 issue of Parents magazine gives a step-by-step guide on how to hold a swap with friends. The magazine suggest inviting three to six guests and asking each to bring two toys they’d like to give away. Preparing your child in advance is key to avoiding a meltdown when others walk off with one of their toys.

Once everyone has arrived, place the toys in a spot where children can easily check them out. If the kids are old enough, have them explain what they like about the toys they brought. Allow the children to tag their top three choices and then distribute the items based on how kids picked. If there’s more than one first-choice tag on a toy, draw names out of a hat for fairness.

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Shannon McRae

About Shannon McRae

Shannon McRae is a work-at-home mom of three young children whose days are spent wiping mouths, playing Candyland, planning dinners and stealing time in between at the computer for her freelance writing. She's a stickler for healthy eating, with a slight exception for Oreos. She lives in Alabama with her precious children, loving husband and 13-year-old Australian Shepherd named Ricky Martin.

  • Sara

    Wow, great article! So fantastic to be included in such great company! We’ll see you at to swap out those clothes AND toys, girls ~ HAPPY SWAPPING!! ~ Sara at thredUP

  • Anonymous

    Hi Sara! Thanks so much for your comments. Glad you clarified that you guys swap toys, too. I think it’s such a great idea–a good way to clear clutter AND be green!