One way parents are finding deals on toys and clothes are <a href=http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/business/7341205.html>toy-swap sites</a>.

A few of the sites on line are <a href=http://www.Toyswap.com>Toy Swap</a>, <a href=http://www.thredup.com>Thred Up</a> and <a href=http://www.swapmamas.com>Swap Mamas</a>.

With Thredup you can browse the available boxes, post a box of gently worn clothes that your child no longer wears, then when another member picks your box send it 100% free of charge. When you select a box of clothes you are interested in, it costs $5 per box plus shipping.

Swap Mamas offers a variety of baby, children’s, teen items and maternity items.

Following are ideas to set up a local toy swap.

Create rules for the toy swap. State in the rules that the toys must be in clean and working condition. You may also state a minimum number of toys to bring and that participants will be able to take home as many “new” toys as they bring to recycle.

Get the word out. Call or email people you think may be interested in a toy swap to let them know you would like to host one. Be sure to inform these individuals of the rules and ask them to reply if they are interested in participating. Once you see how much interest there is, you can then decide on the location.

Set a date, time and location for the toy swap. If the initial response was small, you may be able to host the toy swap at your house. If you had an overwhelming response and need a larger location, you may be able to host a toy swap at your church or some other public location. If hosting the toy swap somewhere other than your house, you may ask participants for small monetary donations for the organization that is letting you use their space.

Create a flier announcing the scheduled toy swap. If this is a large toy swap include a toy drop off date, time, and location so you will be able to inspect and organize the toys before the actual event. Also note that participants should bring their own bags and or boxes for gathering toys to the toy swap.

Collect toys and check to be sure they are clean and in working condition. Record the number of toys dropped off by each participant and reward them with one ticket per toy. Organize the toys by age and type. Place in boxes until the day of the toy swap.

Swap toys. Participants arrive at the scheduled event with their tickets and bags or boxes. They look through the recycled toys and choose as many toys as they have tickets for. Participants check out by redeeming their tickets for the toys.

Clean up. Not all toy swap participants may redeem all the tickets, donate the remaining toys to charities.

This is an idea of a way to get rid of some of the toys your kids may not play with anymore and get new ones at a fraction of the cost of purchasing new. You could also expand it to include clothes and books, etc also.

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