Ok, so this is the last day I will post about the clothing swap, I promise -but can't you tell that we enjoyed it so much? As fun as it was, it was a lot of work. So I wanted to just share a little bit about how everything came together in case anyone is thinking of hosting a clothing swap of their own in the future.
So in case you don't know how a clothing swap works, participants bring in unwanted clothing (but still in good condition) to swap with other participants. Now, we have a fairly large student ministry and I knew there would be some students who would not be able to bring in anything - so I made it clear in the beginning that everyone was invited and could participate no matter if you brought in clothing or not. For me, I thought this was a ministry to others in a lot of ways - one of them being a great way for girls to give what they have to others who don't have as much.
Now, trying to get teenage girls to bring in anything ahead of time is almost impossible - but was doable. We received most of the clothing a few days before hand and then several donations the day of (some even minutes before we started) so it was important to be organized and to have people there who know what the plan is. We had organized and sorted sections of clothing so we could easily sort through a big bag as it was brought to us.
Some needed items for a clothing swap:
1. Clothing Racks (not completely necessary but it was really nice with items like dresses). We found a couple of really cheap ones at Target (for $9.99) - and they were cheaply made but served their purpose. We also borrowed some clothing racks from another ministry at our church.
2. Hangers - we asked for donations and got a ton, someone also clued me in on freecycle, which is a local online recycling community (there seems to be lots of these all over the US)
3. Tables - pretty obvious
4. Shopping Bags - we just asked our adult leaders if they had any to donate, we ended up getting a ton of really nice ones with the handles
5. Lint Roller - there were just a few items that needed a little roll
6. Some sort of dressing rooms (we just used the girls restrooms since it had plenty of space and mirrors).
Other items that would help:
1. Table Cloths - just to make things pretty (we just used plastic ones that we saved from a previous event, so no cost there).
2. Clothing pins (to help pin up clothing items like skirts to racks)
3. We also made signs, really just for fun and for the girls to quickly find what they were looking for
It's important too to remember that not all clothing will be taken so you need to have a charity or ministry in mind that you want to donate the remaining clothing to.
Another thing we did was add a check out table. Mainly for us to count items, bag the clothing for the girls and also to break the girls up into their groups for the discussion sessions. We gave them each a "receipt" or ticket that had a group number on it - much easier than trying to get them back together and divide them up.
After all of the swapping was completed the girls broke up into their groups where they were lead in different discussions based on modesty. We talked about outward modesty, inward modesty and how God makes old things new. The girls talked together, prayed together and had time to reflect and spend quiet time with God - the most important part of the night.
So that was our clothing swap journey - it was well worth all of the work and I do think we will do it again. Thank so much for taking this little journey with us the past couple of days!