Get 'free' back to school clothes

August 3, 2011 3:09:14 PM PDT
We are continuing back to school week, and this time, we are helping Stretch Your Dollar on school clothes with an idea called a clothes swap; essentially, parents get together and bring their gently used school clothes or uniforms to swap. But in order to have a successful swap, you must get organized. If you do that, you could save big.

When Nora Kapche was making her back to school clothes list, she needed to find a way to cut costs.

"We all know that kids grow up so quickly, that buying one size at the beginning of the year is not going to last the entire year," Kapche said.

So to soften the financial blow, Kapche set up a back-to-school clothes swap, an event where several moms come together to trade their kids' clothes they no longer use or want in the hopes other kids can use them.

You can set one up, too. First, nora emailed several moms from her church.

"We have chosen about five different families and we are here swapping clothes today," Kapche said.

You can swap with as little as two parents, provided the sizes work for your swap. If you have a bigger swap, Kapche says it's important to pick parents that have kids in a wide range of sizes so that everyone has an opportunity to get something.

"And sometimes it can get a little bit tricky because all of our kids are at different ages, different sizes; just clothes fit differently," she said.

Kapche asks the parents to bring clothes that are in "like-new condition."

"Yes we did request that things be clean and stain free, hopefully, and school clothes," Kapche said.

Many items on the table still have the tags on them.

"It looks brand new and people won't be able to tell we did a little clothing swap, so it's just like we went out and shopped," mom Eileen Paulus said.

Next, it's time to organize. Kapche does this by size and sex; that way it makes swapping fast and easy.

"We just went ahead and organized girls clothes and boys clothes and then broke it down into sizes. For girls clothes 4, 5, 6, 6x, all the way up to 10. Boys clothes 4, 4t, 5t, all the way up to 10," she said.

When it's time to shop, it's up to the moms to take as little or as many items as they want.

"It's great for their closet and it's great for my budget," mom Stephanie Bryson said.

"Huge money savings for me!" mom Leslie Simank said. "That gave them the opportunity to walk away with brand name clothes and we didn't have to pay for it."

Obviously you can do this with school uniforms too; just be sure you ask what color the polo shirts need to be because most schools are specific.


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