The common area in your hostel is a perfect place to organize a Swapping Market – an event where people bring nice things and clothes they do not use anymore, and exchange them with others. – Good for both the environment and your wallet.
Preparations prior to the event
- Set a date and time, for example a Sunday from 14.00-17:00.
- Decide what you want to be swapped. Only clothes? Or also shoes and things up to a certain size? Perhaps only children’s things? Or maybe only books, CDs and movies?
- Announce the event on posters, the hostel’s website and social media channels. You could also create a Facebook event. Invite for example local NGOs, sports teams, schools, neighbors and student societies to participate.
- Outline that the things people want to swap have to be in good order – something you would have used yourself, and set a time for receiving things prior to the event, for example some hours two days during the week, and also 1-2 hours the same day as the event is going to take place.
- Make a simple “price list” for various categories, so that you can hand people vouchers (just a piece of paper) of a value that corresponds to what they hand in, for example more for a coat than a t-shirt, and more for a pair of rollerblades than a toy car
- It is nice to operate with another valuta than money on the vouchers, such as “thanks”. Then, a person may receive a voucher with 80 thanks to keep and bring for the event.
- When people hand in their things, be sure to only accept nice and clean things that others might be interested in.
How to organize the very event
Make sure to host the event in a spacious room, such as the dining hall, common room etc. Set out tables, chairs, racks with hangers if you have or perhaps a mannequin or other thing you can put clothes/things on. Organize the things and clothes in different categories and put up a sign with name of the category and a price. Depending of the space and what kind of things you would like to receive, examples of different sections could be:
- Children’s clothes and toys
- Men’s clothes
- Women’s clothes (based on experience, this is the biggest category)
- Movies, books, CDs
- Handbags, necklaces, shoes
- “Exclusive section” (for example if somebody hands in a wedding dress)
Set aside at least an hour to only receive and organize things before people are allowed to exchange. In addition to giving the host time to put things in place and organize the sections, it is also a great opportunity to show your hostel, sell food and drinks, showcase your activities/tours, promote your recycling station, water saving system etc.
When opening the event, you can give a short welcoming speech about how good it is to swap and share, for our environment and the economy, and then allow people to start swapping. Make sure to have enough people helping during the event. At least 3, preferably more, depending of how many people you expect to come. With few helpers, you could make one “cashier station” where people can exchange the vouchers for things. Make sure to also always have a person free to organizing the things during the event, since the sectors usually start to look messy as soon as people start to search through them.. With many helpers, there can be people operating each section, making sure these look nice, and also assisting people in swapping their vouchers for things.
- Music (for example by a Dj) always creates a good atmosphere
- Food and drinks always attract people and could contribute to extra income
- 2-3 hours is often a good duration for the event. For example an hour only for people to hand in things, and then two hours of swapping.
- Remember to take photos!
- Utilize the backside of the voucher to spread a good message and to write the hostel’s website/instagram etc. Ideas:
- Thanks for helping the planet reduce CO2 emissions by swapping instead of buying new!
- Did you know that it takes 2,700 liters of water to produce just one t-shirt?
- There will always be a lot of things left after the swapping market has ended. These can for example be donated to a local charity. If you want to limit the amount of things you are being left with, you can announce that you do not accept people to hand in things more than 30 minutes/an hour after the event has started.
The main purpose of organizing a Swapping Market is to bring the guests as well as people from the local community together and engage them in a social and environmental cause. By swapping instead of buying new, we also save the planet for the negative impact linked to production, such as high amount of water and chemical usage, as well as CO2 emissions.