How to Organize a Swap Meet

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A swap meet is a great way for collectors, crafters, scrapbookers, gardeners or antiquers to get new items and get rid of ones they no longer need or use. Swap meets can be a social event as well. Just ask everyone to bring finger foods to share and their own drinks, and you've practically got a party.

Decide which kind of swap meet you want to hold, as they can be for collectors of all sorts. Swap meets can also serve as an alternative to garage sales for general household items, tools, CDs, DVDs, clothing and accessories. Secure a location and set the date.

Make the rules for the swap meet. For example, decide whether to allow selling, or stick to strictly swapping. You could also limit the number of items a participant brings. Only write down the rules you are prepared to enforce.

Start advertising widely at least a month before the swap meet. Include relevant rules when advertising. Tell all your friends, family, and members of any groups or organizations you belong to. Post signs in grocery stores and community bulletin boards, online forums and newspapers.

Set up the tables the evening before the event. Post the rules in a prominent place.

Be on hand at least an hour before things are set to greet the swappers, answer questions and help people find tables. If you know of a children's group that wants to do fund raising, invite them to sell morning refreshments if they like.

Consider whether you want to have a free table where people can leave items they haven't been able to swap. Many items will find a home that way, but you should be prepared to deal with any leftovers. Think of a place where you could donate them.

Set out a donation jar to help recover the money spent on facility rental and other organizational costs. Collect the names and contact information of people who might want to help you organize the next swap meet.

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