Free Clothing Exchange

Keep Your Style. Change Your Clothes.

A Gobsmackingly-Huge, New-to-You Pile of Clothes and Fun

Zack Stack
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A Basement a Buzz with Friendly Exchangers

I arrived at 1:30 to find a basement already abuzz with Friendly Exchangers busy transforming the space into FCE event shape. I can’t tell you how amazing it felt to see so many folks taking ownership of their event!

Exchangers, you are amazing and always so ready to pitch in…can’t thank you enough as your help made our first Free Clothing Exchange of 2019 a very special one.

First of all, there were so many new and old faces that showed up ready to work, and there was a lot of work to be done this time around as Mosaic Church gifted the FCE a gobsmackingly-huge pile of great, new-to-us clothes. Thank you Mosaic friends!

Those of you who worked the sorting table…I’m in awe of your clothes sorting stamina. You shifted, sorted, folded, pondered and hung thousands of clothing items. You rock!

Many of these new items went out to new homes, but this influx of clothes and books will help keep our racks full through the March and May exchanges for sure.

Speaking of new clothes, we saw a big batch of boys infant to toddler baby clothes come in, so if you’re in the market or soon to be in the market for little boy’s clothes stop by the upcoming March 10th exchange.

Spin Laundry Lounge Wash & Dry Tokens

A new feature at this month’s exchange were Wash & Dry tokens for Spin Laundry Lounge (sponsored by Spin and Mosaic Church). The goal with these Wash & Dry tokens is to help fellow exchangers who might have limited access to laundry services keep their clothes longer - to make what they have go further.

If you didn’t get one of these tokens at the last exchange, and it would be a help to you, don’t hesitate to ask for one at the welcome desk during the March 10th event.

Book Exchange Update

The book exchange is going strong as well. More folks brought and engaged with the book area then I’ve seen in the past and, with a lot of new books for adults coming in, I saw as many grown ups as I did children checking out books.

I personally took home An Anthology of Oregon Poetry, a Minimalist cookbook and a copy of Number The Stars for Baya and I to read together. A literary haul, if I don’t say so myself.

We’d like to get our books more organized. If you have access to 2-3 rolling book racks that will fit on the elevator please let us know through the contact form on our website.

Inspiring The Next Generation of Exchangers

Finally, a boy named Walter and his mom came to help out at the exchange. Before they left they told me that they came to study the event so that Walter and some of his student peers at Franklin might replicate it for their community.

I think that’s awesome! There’s so much need for clothing resources, but even more than that there’s a need to build communities that go beyond the limits of our socio-economic clicks. If you can find something in common, say a preference for being stylishly un-naked when we leave the house, and mix in a time and a place then you can build a community.

More power to you, Walter! If we can help you and your friends get set up just let us know.

So many encouraging stories came out of the last event, but I’ll leave you with this bit of feedback from fleeo exchanger Aimee F. Best of luck, Aimee!

Thank You! So well organized and I found some professional clothes to wear to my internship - this will be so helpful!

EXCHANGING THE OLD FOR THE NEW-TO-YOU

Zack Stack
In DEC, folks at Mosaic Church in Portland’s Hollywood District donated a mountain of clothes to the FCE, which we will be sorting and getting on the racks during the first two exchange events of 2019.

In DEC, folks at Mosaic Church in Portland’s Hollywood District donated a mountain of clothes to the FCE, which we will be sorting and getting on the racks during the first two exchange events of 2019.


Happy New Year, Fellow Friendly Exchangers! 

I am finding myself irrationally optimistic about 2019. Why? Much of my optimism is fueled by all the ways this community cared for each other last year.

In 2018, we shared our clothing and reading resources with over 235 other exchangers.

Together we received, sorted, distributed and recycled thousands and thousands of articles of clothing.

We continued distributing socks and providing a light lunch during events to any exchangers who come hungry.

We added a book exchange and were delighted to see so many children (and adults) take home armloads of books they can call their very own.

We also grew from four exchanges a year to six - providing us with more opportunities to grab some new garments, don some new digs or even tear into a new tome.

Thank you all for the role you played in making 2018 another great year in the life of your Free Clothing Exchange!

And we're starting 2019 off with a boost of new-to-us clothes and books generously heaped upon us from the folks at Mosaic Church (see the photo above). We’ll be doing our best to sort through this generous mountain of clothes and get them into rotation for the upcoming exchanges. Speaking of sorting clothes…

NEW OPPORTUNITIES TO HELP OUT

We have been so blessed by how willing our fellow exchangers are to lend a hand during our events.

Starting FEB 10th, we are going to start meeting on the 2nd Sunday's of our off months from 2-4pm to sort, organize and plan.

If you'd like to get more involved with our zany, caring community these "sorting parties" are the place to be.

Email us, if you'd like to help out.

Spring 2018 Free Clothing Exchange Recap

Zack Stack
For the first time ever we added books to the exchange…and it was big hit with the little readers. While their parents looked for new clothes, kids picked out new books to call their own. We hope to expand and offer a greater selection of books for grown ups in the future. A huge thanks to the   Children's Book Bank   for getting us started and sharing our love for reading.

For the first time ever we added books to the exchange…and it was big hit with the little readers. While their parents looked for new clothes, kids picked out new books to call their own. We hope to expand and offer a greater selection of books for grown ups in the future. A huge thanks to the Children's Book Bank for getting us started and sharing our love for reading.

What a Great Event We Had On April 8th! Here’s a Recap…

It was the good kind of hectic at the beginning, as folks started showing up around 1:30pm to get first pick, but everyone was patient and many helped sort and hang the mountain of donations that we had to go through before the doors even were officially opened.

By my count, the Spring Exchange saw about 48 individuals and upwards of 10 volunteers mingling about. I didn’t get a first timer count, but I’d estimate roughly half the attendees were there for a the first time.

The addition of 3 new racks helped relieve the pressure on the women’s clothes section, which in the past were packed so tight you'd need a pry bar to pull a blouse from.

This exchange has blessed my family so much over the years.

The Children’s Books Were a Huge Hit With Kids and Parents! 

A handful of exchangers brought books, so the grant from the Children’s Book Bank really helped in terms of getting things started. 

I didn’t get a count of how many books went out, but just about every child left with 2-3 books in hand. And throughout the event kids were reading. It was so great!

Let's keep the book exchange going. It'll be a regular part of our events. We'd like to see it expand to offer more books for adults as well as kiddos.

So…if you have any books that you've already devoured and would like to share with a neighbor bring them along with you to the next exchange on July 1st.

A trio of Friendly Exchange volunteers help sort and hang incoming clothing items so that you can get out there and shop for new threads faster.

A trio of Friendly Exchange volunteers help sort and hang incoming clothing items so that you can get out there and shop for new threads faster.

We're Increasing the Frequency of the Free Clothing Exchange

Our next exchange is still scheduled for Sunday, July 1st, but after that we're looking to add two more events each year. So…after the upcoming July event, we'll have two more exchanges in 2018:

  • A Back-to-School Exchange on SEP 9th and…
  • A Fall Exchange on NOV 11

We hope no one misses any of the upcoming exchanges this year, but if you do, then you won't have to wait so long before the next one, as they'll be happening on the second Sunday of every odd month.

As always, you can look for the yellow signs and the email alert beforehand.

As you know, the Free Clothing Exchange is an all volunteer-powered, community organization. Even the space we meet in is donated by the amazing folks at Kenton Church.

We're able to expand the frequency of the event now, not because I suddenly got more time on my hands, but because of an influx of volunteers from Mosaic's Neighborhood Communities and because so many of our own Friendly Exchangers stick around and volunteer at each event. 

Thank you all for your part in making this truly an event that's not just FOR our community, but BY us as well.


Here’s some More of the feedback we received from our friendly April exchangers…

It was very organized - only swap I went to with everything on hangers and volunteers. Nice touch.
Thank you for your generosity and sweet courtesy.

Why We Do This and Want To Do It More

Zack Stack
We kicked 2018 off with one of the most bustling exchanges we've had to date. A big thanks to all the amazing folks who help sort and rack all the new clothes.

We kicked 2018 off with one of the most bustling exchanges we've had to date. A big thanks to all the amazing folks who help sort and rack all the new clothes.


What a different start to the year it's been!

A friend reminded me this morning that last year at this time us Portlanders were trudging through snow and ice and today I had to take my coat off as I road my bike home from church.

Last January's Exchange had to be rescheduled and when we finally had it only about 20 or so hardcore Friendly Exchangers showed up. This year folks started showing up early and the stream of Friendly Exchangers remained steady the whole time.

I didn’t have any winter clothes, so this really helped me out. Thanks.
— Friendly Exchanger

But I have to remind the data analyst part of myself that holds down the 9-5, that the Free Clothing Exchange is not a numbers-driven event.

We exist for that one friendly exchanger that didn't have any warm winter clothes until they left the church basement last Sunday, for the young woman who needed something to wear to her upcoming job interview, for the man who needed a coat and some new socks, and of course for whoever scored that T-shirt with Freddy Mercury's face on it and the words "Too Rad". 

If only one of those people showed up and emerged from the Kenton Church's basement sporting a smile and some new threads, then, in our books, we just had a successful exchange.

That said, the first Exchange of 2018 was fantastic for so many of those reasons. It was wonderful to see so many of your now familiar faces and make at least a few dozen new friends as well.

In addition to the 50+ Friendly Exchangers who celebrated the New Year AND FCE's 5th birthday with us, we were able to provide 114 new pairs of socks to more than 30 different exchangers.

The next Free Clothing Exchange is scheduled for Sunday, April 8th, 2018.

We're already planning ways to make sure it's great. If you have any ideas or would like to help out don't hesitate to reach out.

On that note, I'll leave you with some of the feedback we heard from some of you amazing people who participated in the most recent exchange. See you in the Spring!

very organized, gets better every time
— Kanna
Great community resource.
— Kelly
This was so much fun. My first time - and next time I will bring more clothing and friends. Thank you so much!
— Leslie C.

Looking Back On FCE's 2017 and Ahead To 2018

Zack Stack
Help us get the word out! Community boards are cluttered, but telling a friend is a clear and easy way to support your exchange. FCE turns 5 this January. Come celebrate with us!

Help us get the word out! Community boards are cluttered, but telling a friend is a clear and easy way to support your exchange. FCE turns 5 this January. Come celebrate with us!

What a Year 2017 Was For Your Friendly Neighborhood Free Clothing Exchange

We're so grateful for all our Exchangers. You're the ones who made the 5th year in the life of the FCE so special.

Thanks to your help and participation in 2017 the Free Clothing Exchange was able to:

  • Serve over 105 households this year
  • Provide clothes for 180 individuals - at least 70 of which were first time exchangers
  • Provide lunches for dozens of hungry FCE attendees
  • Give out over 100 pairs of new socks during last winter's exchange
  • Provide clothes to refugee families from the Congo and Iraq
  • Provide interview and work clothing to folks looking for jobs

We're also grateful for the amazing generosity of the folks at the Kenton Presbyterian Church (who donate our event and storage space) and the folks at Mosaic Church (who sponsor supplies and help pay for things like this website).

Perhaps my favorite memory from this year's events was watching folks from all different walks of life give freely of their time and resources in order to bless their neighbors. And seeing more and more Exchangers stick around after they were done hunting for new digs and visit with other Exchangers.

I realized this year more than ever we were watching strangers become friends. We were watching a new community coalesce and I'm so grateful to be a part of it.

Thank you.

Let's have even more fun while we grow together in 2018. Come exchange and help celebrate our 5th birthday with us at the Kenton Church on Sunday, January 7th, 2018 from 2-4pm.


JAN 7, 2018: Winter 2018 Free Clothing Exchange

Many of you may recall all the crazy snow and ice from last January that caused us to have to delay our winter event.

Should the forecast call for another round of snow and ice as the JAN 7th winter exchange approaches, please be sure to check this site and your email inbox before heading out to the exchange. 

Hopefully we won't have to postpone again this year, but more than that we don't want anyone venturing out if the roads and sidewalks aren't safe. 

Help Us Distribute New Socks

During last winter's exchange we asked a Life Group from Mosaic North Church if they'd like to sponsor new socks, and without hesitation they pitched in and donated enough to purchase 120 pairs of NEW men's and women's socks.

We gave out 105 pairs at the exchange and our super exchanger Rita took what was left to the folks under the Burnside Bridge.

Help us provide even more this year. Having seen the need at the shelters around town, I can tell you that warm socks go out as fast as they come in this time of year.

If you are able, please bring some new socks to donate during this coming winter exchange.

Merry Christmas and we'll see you in the New Year!

Summer 2017 Free Clothing Exchange

Zack Stack

I know I say this about every event, but this year's spring exchange really was the best one ever.

Over fifty exchangers participated, more than half of which were first timers, and we were aided by no less than 15 volunteers. Many hands make the work less worky, so the saying goes.

The best thing about having all the extra help is that it allowed our volunteers to go beyond the normal duties of sorting and racking clothes. It allowed us to…

Looking Ahead To The Spring 2017 Free Clothing Exchange

Zack Stack

Spring is here. That just feels good to say. So does this: the Spring 2017 Free Clothing Exchange is right around the corner on Sunday, April 2nd, 2017.

To help prepare for the the Spring exchange, a handful of Friendly Exchangers recently met up at FCE-HQ, as we like to call it, but it's really just our storage space, to do some serious organizational shtuff.

We cleaned. We culled. We organized. We upgraded. All to prep for the Spring event. Here's what's new…

Small, But Mighty: Winter Exchange Wrap Up

Zack Stack

22 Households, 36 Individuals, 19 First Timers, 105 Pairs of Socks and 8 Amazing Volunteers High Fived at Your Winter Free Clothing Exchange

After emerging from a blanket of snow and a sheet of ice and having to reschedule the event at the last minute, we still managed to have ourselves a great Winter Exchange. The sun even made a brief cameo in the basement of the Kenton Church.

By my count, 22 Households36 Individuals, 19 1st-Timers and 8 amazing volunteers participated.

19 1st-time exchangers! If you were one of them, we were so stoked that you made it and we hope that you were blessed will be back on April 2nd for the spring edition of Free Clothing Exchange.

Fall Free Clothing Exchange: Was It The Best Ever? Yes. Yes It Was.

Zack Stack

It was deeply encouraging to see the exchange continue to grow. When we relaunched back in April, 24 households participated. This time around, by my very rough count, there were 37 households totaling 64 individuals happily buzzing around the basement at Kenton Church replenishing their wardrobes and connecting with fellow friendly exchangers. 

Read the full scoop here and help us look ahead to the Winter 2017 exchange.

New Location For The 2016 Summer Exchange

Zack Stack

We trusted God to provide a place where the FCE would be able to meet quarterly, would have room to grow and would be easily accessible via public transit. All this and if you could make it free, God…that would be just fantastic.

And God provided just the space, so we are very excited to announce that we've partnered with the wonderful, generous folks at Kenton Church: 2115 N Lombard Street - 97217.

Free Clothing Exchange Relaunches Spring 2016

Zack StackComment

After nearly a year on hiatus we’re super, super, super happy to announce that the Free Clothing Exchange is back, baby. Join us Sunday, April 3rd, 2016 from 2-4pm in the gym at De La Salle North for the FCE's relaunch.

As you may know, the Free Clothing Exchange was started in 2013 by five families looking to solve a problem: what to do with the boat loads of clothes their little tikes burn through and how can they maybe save a little money on fresh duds for little Jimmy and Annabelle as they go from size 2 to 3 to 4 to…you get the picture.

FCE TURNS TWO AND CELEBRATES WITH THE BIGGEST EXCHANGE TO DATE

Zack Stack

A huge THANK YOU to everyone who came out and participated in the first Free Clothing Exchange of 2015!

Saturday, January 3rd, marked the clothing exchange's 2-year anniversary with the biggest and best exchange to date - serving over 120 individuals overall. The doors opened at 3:30pm to a line of eager exchangers that stretched past the Kenton Library's check out desk and nearly to the front door on Denver Avenue.

51 households came through the doors and donated, exchanged or just found something that suited their fancy in just the first 50 minutes. We don't have the hard data on this, but we may have set some sort of clothing exchange land speed record.