Impressions of this weekend's "Take Off Your Clothes" clothing swap

I had heard about the success of last year's clothing swap, organized by The S.W.A.P. team, and was thrilled to hear that the event would be taking place here in Montreal again.   I was particularly amped about the event location:  Place des Arts!  So accessible!  I carefully read the instructions on how to submit clothing & accessories for swap and bought my ticket on-line.  

I then spent an afternoon merrily digging around the Trove closet, hemmed and hawed, and then selected over 60 items to donate/swap.    Per the event instructions, I laundered everything, folded them, and placed them in clear plastic bags for pick up.  The volunteers who coordinated the clothing pick up, as well as the gal who came to pick up the clothing, were all cheerful & friendly. 

I'd purchased a ticket for the first available swapping slot, this past Saturday at 1pm, but wasn't able to make it.   I went the next day, for the last available swapping spot (at 3pm), and was hoping that the selection would still be decent, considering how strict the submission rules were.

Here are the pros and cons of my swap experience:

  1. Clear communication:  the website, Facebook page, blog, and email communication were all very good.   The necessary information was easy to access, and responses to my emails were rapid &  professional.
  2. Location:  right off Place des Arts metro, it doesn't get much easier than that!
  3. Price: $10 for a ticket is very reasonable, and its for a good cause as well
  4. Volunteers:  a veritable army of volunteers helps to make the event run smoothly, and pretty much everyone I encountered was upbeat & helpful.
  5. Clothing pick up:   I don't have a vehicle, and don't live close to any of the Renaissance drop off locations, so was very happy that they organized an NDG pick up.
  6. Signage:  the on-site signs indicating the clothing types (Dresses, Pants, Skirts, etc) were nice and big.
CONS/Lessons learned:
  1. GO EARLY: Go the first day, as early as possible.   By the time the last swap time slot opened up, it seemed that most of the items which had been donated via the pick ups and drop off points were already gone, and many of the pieces on the racks were being taken from the bags of clothing brought by folks who showed up that day.   I was somewhat disappointed with the selection, especially since I'd taken so much care with my own selection of items for swap.
  2. INSPECT:  Take the clothing into a brightly lit part of the swap area for inspection.   One of the rooms was quite dark, and I ended up bringing home several items that needed small repairs, or had stains.
I ended up donating 40 of my swap tickets back to the volunteers, but still managed to snag some fun pieces.   Congrats to the organizing team for another successful event, and if there's a 2012 edition, I'll be there for sure, on day one :)


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