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Trade for What You Need
You may have heard of people hosting clothing swap parties. Well you can do the same for your baby gear. Just think of all the "necessities" a parent needs to get ready for a new baby: newborn clothes, a car seat, a bouncy chair, a bassinet, bibs, booties, blankets, hats, slings, wraps, diapers, and so much more. Once the newborn phase is over with larger clothing is needed, along with outerwear for the season, toys, books, shoes, a highchair - the list goes on!
These necessary items are used for such a short time before your child reaches their next new phase. Most baby items are in excellent used condition and have a lot of life left in them when you are done. Sure, you could take them to a consignment store or donate them to a thrift store, but your extra outgrown baby gear is perfect for bartering and trading with your friends.
By trading baby gear instead of buying new, you and your friends will save so much more than money. You'll also eliminate the packaging waste and fossil fuel emissions associated with making and transporting new goods. Everyone wins!
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Host Your Own Baby Exchange Party
The most fun way to trade baby gear is to organize a gear trade event. You can keep it small and host it in your home with a handful of friends or go big and see if a church or community organization will donate a space for a trade open to the community at large. Whatever the size of your trading party, everything should be free.
Set up tables with the baby items organized by size. Allow guests to browse for 10 minutes or so before trading begins. For a small gathering, draw numbers out of a hat to determine the order in which each person will do their "shopping." Each person can choose 1 item per turn until they are done shopping.
A large, community-sized trade party can operate on a first-come, first-served basis, with a limit to how many items are allowed.
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The online community is also filled with parents who are anxious to trade with others for what they need. Take caution, of course, when agreeing to a trade in an online forum or other unofficial trade site. Check feedback whenever possible.
Zwaggle.com is a new website for trading baby and family items. Users acquire Zwaggle points, called zoints, for each item given away. Zoints are then redeemed toward items on your wishlist.
Freecycle.org is a great tool you can use to trade baby gear with other parents in your area. Search for needed baby items within your local freecycle group.
Trading for baby gear is the idea behind swapbabygoods.com, an online resource for parents to buy, sell, or swap baby items. Register for free and start exchanging baby items with other parents.