Community clothes swap encouraging people to reuse children’s clothing

Every year in the UK we throw away 300,000 tonnes of clothing and a massive 183 million items of outgrown baby clothing tucked away in UK homes.

In an effort to prevent these clothes ending up in the bin, we’ve launched ‘Street Store’ - a campaign and kit to help community groups and schools set up a clothes swap where people can swap high quality clothes they don't want, for ones they do. Follow the campaign with #StreetStore.

A typical Street Store will have a simple clothes rail allowing people to bring along their high-quality pre-loved clothes, hang them up, and take something else in return. They also have a few designed posters to explain to people how they work, tags to help organise clothes and social media images to help spread the word about your Street Store. We've started with children's clothing but you set up a Street Store to swap any type of clothing.

The difference made

Street Store has been successfully trialled in a community centre and an after-school and summer activity club. From one event in South Derbyshire town of Swadlincote 268 items of clothing were brought in for swaps, 29 people took part in the workshopsFollowing the success of the stores, we want to encourage other community groups, businesses, schools and charities to run their own Street Store to help further benefit the local community and prevent clothes going to waste.

Run your own

We’ve produced a how-to guide below which contains the information you will need to get started. This can be a one-off event, something you have in place for a couple of days or a longer-term community fixture. Street Store can be easily modified to suit your needs, enabling a wide range of people to swap items of clothing. Download the resource kit here.

Street Store has been developed by Hubbub and North London Waste Authority. If you have any questions about running your own event, get in touch at [email protected]. If you run your own event, we’d love to know how you got on.