How to host a back-to-school swap

How to host a Back-To-School Swap

It’s getting closer to that time of the year; back to school season is eagerly coming upon us. However, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to get ready for this expensive time of the year. Have you ever thought of hosting a back to school swap? Here are several tips on how to host a successful swap.

Plan ahead

Plan a place and a time to host your swap, the summertime is a great time to host one to give you enough time to prepare for the upcoming school year. You can host your swap in a variety of different places if you’re doing a swap among friends and family you can host it at your house or in your backyard. If you’re planning a community event look into hosting the event at a church or local library these places may allow you to host your event at little to no cost. When advertising your event be sure to send out invites, post flyers and create a Facebook event to help manage attendees.

Tell guests what to bring

For a back-to-school swap tell everyone to bring school-related items such as supplies, backpacks, lunch boxes, uniforms, shoes, and clothing. All items should be gently used or in like-new condition and free of stains, tears, and excessive wear.

Ask guests to bring a dish

Suggest everyone bring a dish to the event and have a potluck lunch. This is a great idea for everyone to relax and mingle after shopping.

Don’t forget the kids!

If you’re hosting the event in the summer plan out activities for kids to do while their parent’s shop. Outdoor activities are great if your hosting in your own home, coloring books, or craft projects are great for compact and easy to clean up messed at special locations.

Create an organizational system

Ask your guests to bring your items the day before so that the hosts can organize the items for the big day. Organize items by sizes and categories to avoid big mess label items by color-coding them to make them easy to find.

Create a draw system

Color code Popsicle sticks, clothespins or even straws to choose who goes first. This helps everyone stay organized until everyone has a chance. Limit the first draw to 5 items in ensuring everyone has a chance to chose; then you can rotate as needed.


Mommy network! Meet other moms (and dads!) who have children in the same range as yours. Share recipes, tips, stories and even make a new friend or two for both yourself and your child(ren). You’ll realize how easy it is to develop a support system and help with future swaps.

Have extra bags and boxes on hand

Have lots of extra bags or boxes on hand for shoppers to tote their items home in case they forget their own bags.

Don’t limit yourself

You don’t have to limit this to just the kids or even back to school items. Have moms bring other things that would like to swap as well. Clothing, shoes, handbags, books, movies, games because moms could use a little treat too! Plus it’s an excellent way to get rid of the clutter and have something new too.


Should you have any leftovers donate the items to a charity, shelter or organization. I like donating to women and children shelters because they are always in need of clothing, shoes and other items. After having for the first successful swap it will be much easier to have additional swaps throughout the year. You could have a themed swap or just a mixture of items, swaps are a great way to make new friends and clear out unused items.

Have you ever hosted or participated in a swap? Did I leave anything else? I’d love to hear your tips for hosting a successful swap.

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