How to Set it Up
First, pick a date and time for your swap to take place. You could incorporate it into another event, such as a public Pagan gathering, or you can keep it small, and invite just close friends and coven members. Regardless, make sure you give yourself a bit of time for planning. In addition to your date and time, figure out where your swap will happen.
One option is to have everyone bring their items the day of the event. If you opt to have everything dropped off ahead of time, include a final date for donations, so people can get their contributions cleaned up, dusted, and sent to you. If you’re treating this as a sale or fundraiser, be sure to tell everyone how the proceeds will be used. It can be as simple as a line reading, “All proceeds from this sale will benefit the Capital City Animal Shelter.”
If your swap is going to be open to a large group, it’s a good idea to put together some sort of flyer to announce the information. Also, if you make a flyer or advertising sheet, you can let people know if there are certain items that are NOT acceptable for trading – athames or animal parts, for example.
When you’re working with just a small group, it’s easy to keep things informal. Wendy Wiccan shows up, drops her bag of books and candles on a table, and then goes and picks up the things she likes from other people. If you’re working with a lot of guests, however, it might be a good idea to offer vouchers. When Wendy Wiccan checks in, and she has seven books and three candles, she gets ten vouchers.
Each of these can be traded in for one item – in other words, each person leaves with the same number of items they brought. Again, if your event is a sale rather than a swap, then it doesn’t matter if people get vouchers, because they’ll have cash in hand and can shop at their own leisure.
As people begin to drop off items or bring them in, you may find it easier to sort things by category. Put books on one table, Tarot decks on another, and give candles, crystals and stones, and jewelry all their own spots. If you’re doing a sale instead of a swap, this is when you’ll want to put price tags on donated items. But remember – if the point is to get rid of stuff, rather than make a profit, your best bet is to price things low.
If your event is a big one, have a few volunteers working as runners to help people find things, or to help carry larger items out to cars.
When You’re Finished
Make sure you have a backup plan for what to do with unclaimed items. Will they go home with their original owners? Can you donate them to a local organization that collects ritual items for prisoners or for Pagan soldiers?
Finally, be sure that any magical item you take home with you gets thoroughly cleansed and consecrated before its first use.
Image by Allegory Malaprop via Flickr (License CC BY-ND 2.0)