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07.29.09

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News Blast

Cassandra Landry


Free kids clothes

The unyielding cash flow from Mom's wallet at back-to-school time is one of the best parts of being a kid—the new backpack is absolutely necessary, as are the stiff new pairs of jeans and squeaky sneakers. In this setting, the words "hand-me-down" and "used" usually release a barrage of mortified whining, but this season there's a cooler way to save money. The Back-to-School Clothes Swap on Aug. 8 allows parents to find back-to-school chic on the cheap—make that free—for kids from ages five to 13.

The swap is hosted by organizing consultant and speaker Grace Brooke, "The Efficiency Specialist," who says parents feel the cash crunch most during the beginning of school season.

"I have a daughter going into kindergarten," Brooke says. "I realized that it's got to be tough on a lot of parents facing all that school shopping in these challenging financial times."

The idea of a kids clothes swap snowballed from a desire to give back to the community and old memories of thrifty ways. "I did a clothes swap with some of my friends 10 years ago," Brooke says, "but I really like the idea of being able to help out the community using my skills as an organizer."

Brooke emphasizes that swappable items include shirts, pants, shorts, skirts, dresses, coats, shoes and belts—and they must be in good condition. Clothes can be dropped off at 9am the day of, and the bartering (on a first-come, first-served basis) will begin at 9:45am. Participants may bring no more than 10 things to trade and will receive one ticket per item to be used in exchanging clothes.

There will be prize giveaways, refreshments —the works—and as an added bonus, Brooke will be giving away a free two-hour consultation on organizing a bedroom closet.

"When it's your own children, it's a lot harder for to get them to listen to you," she says. "When it's someone from the outside coming in, it's a bit easier."

All leftover items that aren't swapped will be donated to Sutter VNA and Hospice thrift store.

"It's a great way to teach kids about reusing and recycling, and living green in general," she says. "My hope is that they get involved and it's not just the parents picking out the clothes for them."

Revamp the wardrobe on Saturday, Aug. 8 at the New Vintage Church, 3300 Sonoma Ave., Santa Rosa. 9am–1pm. Free. For more information, contact Grace Brooke at 707.321.4232.


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