How to Host a Baby-Themed Swap Party
Upgrade your baby's wardrobe (for zero dollars!) with a swap party for you and your best mom friends
Words Jessica Myers
Published September 2018 DFWBaby
Updated September 24, 2018
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It’s no joke that babies are expensive (to the tune of $9,000–$15,000 or higher per year, according to a USDA report). Don’t spend thousands of dollars on stuff babies outgrow in a matter of weeks—even days. Gather girlfriends (fellow moms) for a thrifty get-together and start trading.

STEP ONE: INVITE SWAPPERS

When planning the guest list, choose 10–15 friends who have children close in age and size but with a few months in between. Doing this ensures that each guest takes home something that fits her child now and for the weeks ahead.

Send invitations two weeks in advance of your party date. Two weeks’ notice gives moms ample time to sift through closets and launder the items they want to exchange. In the invitation, include suggestions of what gets swapped and what does not. Guests should bring freshly cleaned and gently used items—nothing with stains, holes or other damage.

Request clothes suitable for the season. Or to narrow the field, create a theme for the party: swimwear, accessories, shoes … you get the idea.

Set limits on the number of items each guest should bring—10 is a good starting point. You don’t want to overwhelm swappers with mountains of clothes, nor do you want anyone to get stuck hauling a load of rejects to the thrift store.

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SWAP TO SPLURGE

If you save a buck by swapping, you won’t feel so bad about splurging on a few pieces at these boutiques and consignment shops:

Animal Crackers
Though this boutique specializes in duds for girls and women, it also carries boys’ clothing for infants and toddlers.
1900 Preston Road, Suite 260, Plano, 972/867-4802

Babies on the Boulevard
Styles for boys and girls include pastel pants and bloomer sets, plus monogramming services. Sizes preemie to 6X for girls and 4T for boys.
6323 Camp Bowie Blvd., Suite 145, Fort Worth, 817/737-7171

Baby by Design
A one-stop shop for kids’ clothes, toys, accessories and furniture. Sizes newborn to 5.
4806 Camp Bowie Blvd., Fort Worth, 817/731-0440

Covey House
Find fall dresses, sweaters and button-downs in sizes 2T–16.
5800 Camp Bowie Blvd., Suite 152, Fort Worth, 817/439-9137

Doodle & Stinker
Splurge on soiree-appropriate dresses and cozy onesies for tiny tots. Sizes newborn to 6 for boys and newborn to 8 for girls.
5450 W. Lovers Lane, Dallas, 214/220-8975

Heaven Sent
Carries classics like polos and patterned dresses in sizes preemie to 10 for boys and preemie to 12 for girls.
2585 MacArthur Blvd., Lewisville, 972/459-9400

KidBiz, Dallas
The almost 30-year-old boutique has a new location at Inwood Village. Sizes infant to 16.
5370 West Lovers Lane, Suite 314, Dallas, 214/692-5437

Little Orange Fish
Carries silhouettes from rompers and onesies to tops and dresses. Sizes preemie to 10.
601 S. Main St., Suite 101, Grapevine, 817/416-7774

Small Fry
From dresses to dapper shorts-and-top sets in sizes up to 16 for girls and 4T for boys.
330 Sunset St. Denton, 940/387-9915

Small Pockets
This consignment shop (with a tearoom!) accepts brands from Little Marc Jacobs to Janie and Jack. Check the website for a full list.
12300 Inwood Road, Suite 160, Dallas, 214/484-9240

Zoe and Jack
Find cozy fleece wear for boys and girls at Zoe and Jack this fall season. Sizes preemie to 14/16 for girls and preemie to 6/7 for boys.
5137 Birchman Ave., Fort Worth, 817/989-2200

 

Lastly, address the menu. Serve your guests potluck-style, or let a caterer do all the work and supply your swap with fancy finger foods.

STEP TWO: BUILD A SWAP STATION

Designate a series of bins, boxes, baskets, tables, drawers, or even chairs as receptacles for all the goods up for trade.

Before guests arrive, label each container according to size, or get pickier and separate by style, season, gender or color.  

As guests arrive, have them sort their swappables into the appropriate piles. All your labeling efforts will help speed this process along so there will be less stalling and more swapping.

STEP THREE: START SWAPPING

First, set rules to govern the swap. One option is to assign numbers at random—each mom draws a number from a hat, and swapping ensues in the randomly designated order. Guests can either take turns picking one must-have item for a few rounds, or they can pick up to three must-haves in one round. After each mom has had the opportunity to grab at least one of her favorites, the free-for-all swap can begin.

Another option is to assign color-coded clothespins to the swappers. Then draw a color from a hat, and the matching mom gets to pin up to five items. If one item has multiple pins from multiple swappers, the moms can hash it out over cucumber sandwiches and sparkling lemonade.

If guests have kids with a wide range of ages and sizes, it may work best to pair up moms that have babies in similar age brackets and do one-for-one swapping within each group.

Or throw the rules out the window and give swappers the green light. Set a timer for 30-45 minutes so everyone gets plenty of time to sort through the loot and make her selections.

The general rule of thumb is that every guest goes home with the same number of items she brought. But if you’re not one for rules, let group dynamics determine the pace. As long as moms can munch and mingle to their heart’s content and leave with a bag of “new” outfits, you’ve done your job.

ONLINE SWAP GROUPS

No time to party? There are loads of online groups that host swaps exclusively for baby goods and kids stuff. Trade or claim the items you like from the convenience of your desk or smartphone. Search for the following groups on Facebook or get connected at your local community center or moms group.