|This year's book swap: Detail of a photo by Lisa Aurigemma.|
1. Invite early. People will need time to plan for a swap or craft exchange. I suggest inviting people at least a few months ahead so they can (not only save the date but also) begin to cull their wardrobe, or their bookshelves, or their CD and DVD rack ahead of time. For a craft event, people may need to gather materials or they might even want to research or acquire a new skill. Then send out a reminder to rsvp about a week before the event.
|The haul from last year's Holiday Craft exchange included |
baked goods, candy, embroidery, hand-stamped gift tags,
laminated paper art and Perler bead art.
3. Include the aftermath in your event plan. Swaps generate a lot of leftovers. It helps to know what you plan to do with those leftovers and when you plan to do it. We also make a large-party dinner reservation at a nearby restaurant for the evening of the swap. I set an alarm to go off a half hour before the event endtime. When the alarm goes off, I know it is time to announce that we will soon be packing up all the books and get an official count for who's coming with us to dinner. This makes sure we stay on schedule, and generally means we get help packing up all the leftovers.
My boyfriend and I save cardboard boxes for weeks before the book swap. Even before the swap itself, we mark on the calendar the day we will donate all the leftovers to Housing Works.
If you host swaps or exchanges, I'd love to hear how you go about it, too!