We want to help you organize a neighbour-to-neighbour clothing swap: HERE'S HOW
The goals of a clothing swap are to reduce textile waste -- save money -- redistribute clothing to where it's most useful -- do something useful in the neighbourhood. If any of these goals interest you, we are seeking partners to run a physically distanced Neighbour-to-Neighbour Clothing Swap during Earth Month 2021. The swaps will be in in 2-3 neighbourhoods/apartment complexes in the GTHA or thereabouts; we will share our expertise, tools and artistic support to help you run the event.
If this is an event that you would like to have happen in your neighbourhood, and you are willing to help organize, please read on.
The basic idea:
There will be multiple "hosts" in a neighbourhood clothing swap, ideally within a block or two (walking distance) where each host hosts a one clothing size “shop” featuring clothing of the size they want to receive.
Donors and “shoppers” donate clean outgrown/unwanted clothes at the appropriate site(s) and then walk to “shop” at the site with their desired size.
The benefits of this kind of swap are that is spreads the responsibility to multiple hosts, the hosts are able to man tables without missing out on "shopping" because the size and style they're looking for is coming to them, and it allows everyone to keep a safe distance as recommended by public health.
The organizer communicates with hosts and advertises the event, and helps to distribute and pick up donated clothes.
First: who are we? We are a collective of artists called Works-in-Progress who work with up-cycled materials; mostly textiles. Doing these swaps helps generate materials for up-cycling, and it helps other people divert waste, save money and get excited about the idea of reuse. This has been largely a labour of love in the past BUT this year we have a WASTE REDUCTION COMMUNITY GRANT from the City of Toronto to expand and include more communities. Therefore, we are seeking some collaborators to try this out but you can also just use this information if it helps you.
Here is a quick overview of what you need to run your own swap, plus ways we can help:
To start, this will take some work, but the work-to-payoff ratio for your community is in your favour.
You will need a small core group of organizers, 1-4 people
At least a couple of committed hosts (same or in addition to the organizers)
By the day of the swap you will need at least 8 and up to 12 sites with host volunteers.
You should start 6 weeks- 2 months before your swap date, to give you time to advertise the event and recruit volunteers
A day or so of time after the event to collect leftovers donations.
A place to store or process leftover donations
Works-in-Progress can support by sharing our extensive experience and a network of swaps, plus:
Poster and graphics We will share our WIP graphics and pdfs that you can use in your own neighbourhood, for posters (online and on poles), and can provide our map poster template. We are artists, so this is our major contribution.
Online forms and map templates to populate a volunteer spreadsheet and track host addresses.
Map printouts made for hosts to distribute on the day of the swap
Laminated signs with size being offered (one size per host site)
Organizer responsible for:
Recruiting and caring for your local hosts. Advertising your swap locally and on facebook or other social media. Distribution of starter kits, paper posters and maps for all hosts, and coordinating donations arriving to the correct hosts.
Collecting donated clothes after the swap and finding homes for them (donating to second hand organization is fine, please encourage hosts to keep all they want.) NOTE: for this EARTH WEEK swap, we can organize a chain of the leftovers to populate the next swap.
Hosts responsible to:
Store donations (outside ok in covered plastic bins or well-secured labelled garbage bags) from the day before to a day or so after the swap
Provide hand sanitizer
Wear a mask as required by public health
Provide and set up display infrastructure (tables, clothes, ropes)
Clean up their “shop” and have leftovers ready for pick-up
If you are interested, please contact us directly and talk to a human about how we can you get going: