How To Host A Swap Meet.

This morning I both attended and hosted my very first swap meet.

I had no idea what to expect, but the end result was even better than what I didn't know to hope for!

I thought I'd share some highlights from the experience in case anyone else would like to give this idea a spin in their community, workplace, or ministry.

If you search on Pinterest you'll find beautiful - really beautiful - examples of swap parties. What you're about to see from me is not in that realm of Martha-ness. Easy-peasy; no-fuss; minimal planning, set-up, and clean-up is what you're getting here.

  • Pick a date. Choose a location. We chose a Saturday and blocked off a time window from 9:00am-12:00pm, and used our church building.
  • Tell your swappers that they need to bring at least 1/2 a table's worth of items to participate.
  • Facebook is a great place to promote your event.  We used this banner to help promote our event page:
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  • Remind your swappers that they can barter time and talents. Can you teach swim lessons? Are you a great babysitter? Can you teach art?
  • Encourage swappers to also bring a few 'freebie' items - treasures that may not have a lot of value for bartering, but they'd like to bless someone else with.
  • Set up a time for pickup for any items your swappers want to leave for thrift store donations after the swap is over.
  • On the day of the event, have your tables set up and ready for your attendees.
  • As swappers begin setting up their goods, give each participant a large sheet of paper to write items/services/gifts of time they are wishing for. They will tape this to the front of their table. This helps with the swapping process.
  • If you have a large crowd, you might consider drawing numbers for first picks at the tables, or have people begin bartering based on the order of their arrival.
  • Encourage creative bartering. Food (especially homemade canned items) is a great thing to trade, as well as homemade bath and spa items.
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I am so proud of my haul!  After today's swapping my takeaway treasures included a pair of antique roller skates, a pretty candle holder, a DVD for my kiddos, and a TheraCane. I just put a TheraCane on my Amazon wishlist a few months ago. They sell for $35. Mine today, via the creative bartering some of my unneeded goods, was FREE. I also racked up almost 2 hours of free babysitting time, and a 30 minute massage! SCORE!

Once everyone got into the 'bartering groove,' I was amazed at the swappers' creativity! One of our ladies needed a gym membership. Another lady had a gym membership, but needed a workout partner. Turns out that her gym membership has guest privileges, and they worked it out so both of their needs are met! What a blessing to see the body of believers interacting in this way!

I'd love to hear your experiences in bartering. Please share below!

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