Janesville34.1°

Growing group organizes swap meets for area mothers

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ANN MARIE AMES
October 29, 2011
— Babies snoozed under blankets despite the October chill.

Their siblings made fast friends by the dozens on the Peace Park playground.


A few daddies waited in the car.


The mommies stood among piles of stuffed-to-the-brim tote bins, plastic shopping bags, cardboard boxes and one soft-sided cooler.


Some of the moms stared in awe at the mountain of used clothing and the huge number of women there to trade. Others strode confidently through the crowd calling for their “customers” with the confidence of auctioneers.


They are members of a Facebook group devoted to buying, selling and trading used clothing and household items. More than 50 women met after work Friday at Peace Park on Janesville’s west side. They came from Janesville, Evansville, Milton, Whitewater, Jefferson and Clinton among other places.


Jenna Eden of Janesville is the mom who organized the chaos. The group started as an online local mom-to-mom group, Eden said. Soon, in addition to trading tips about diaper rash and bedtime routines, members started posting things for sale or trade.


To keep things from getting confusing, Eden started a swap page on Facebook and a website to help the moms connect.


The first few swaps took place in the parking lot of Target on Janesville’s north side. They lasted 45 minutes or so.


“Five weeks ago, there were 8 of us,” Eden said. “Then 30, then 60.”


The trades started out as mostly baby clothes and supplies at first. Now trades include women’s clothing, electronics and furniture, she said.


The women arrange sales, purchases or trades online. Some meet at coffee shops or each other’s houses to make trades.


Krista Schmidt of Evansville had been to a couple of the swaps at Target and had met moms in the meantime for individual trades.


Not all the sales are pre-arranged. Schmidt brought bins full of baby toys and clothes. Women dug through the bins and made offers.


“We’ve been cleaning the house all week for this,” Schmidt said.


Friday was the first time the group met at a park, and the swap was more social than previous ones had been, Eden said. She hopes to find space so the meetings can continue this winter.


More than 860 people are members of the Janesville mom-to-mom Facebook group, and 165 have accounts on the group’s website.


More than a few moms on Friday evening swore this was the last time they would buy, sell or trade used clothes and toys.


“I started a 12-step group,” one mom said. Her hands were full of labeled envelopes for more than a dozen planned purchases.


“Then you relapsed,” said another mom, laughing.


ON THE WEB


A growing group of moms from Janesville and surrounding communities have been using invitation-only websites to buy, sell or trade household items and clothes. Sometimes the women meet individually to trade. Other times group members meet in a public place.


To participate, get a friend to invite you to the Facebook group “M2M List-JVille.”


You also could visit cliquesale.com. Once you create an account with your name, your email address and a password (it takes less than a minute), click on the “my cliques” tab. You will be prompted to enter an invite code.


The code for the Janesville M2M group is 7DE20DB.


You also may start your own clique.



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