There are communities based around selling baby clothes, carriers and items. There are communities that revolve around talking about them, too. But when you think about it, is there one single successful community that revolves around giving baby items away? As the maintainer (fathomed), my goal is to create a successful baby community revolving around generosity and "freepeats" or "freecycling." The catch with this community is that if you do post something, please be willing to pay shipping unless it's over ten dollars. The point of this community is not getting something in return, but doing something nice for someone else while cleaning out your house/closet. We all know that babies are a drain on our wallets, and we can all use a little help.
What can I post here? Anything you're willing to give away that's a baby related item, so long as it's actually in reusable condition and is current with all safety standards to your knowledge. It can be as small as one onesie to as big as a crib you can't seem to get rid of. Maternity and toddler items have also been deemed acceptable.
What can I not post here? Anything that's in bad condition. What constitutes bad condition? Excessively stained, broken parts, missing key components... use your common sense. If you would read your post and wonder why someone would post the item, don't post it. If you know something has been recalled or doesn't mean current safety standards, do not post it. Not only should you not put your child in danger, but it's downright wrong to put someone else's child at risk without telling them.
1. The owned of this community, fathomed, reserves the right to change these rules at any time without prior notice or warning. She also reserves the right to ban anyone at anytime for any reason, although she makes a promise to her members not to do so without good reason. If you want to challenge a ban, send her a message asking why you were banned. She will then respond with the reason (if you have not already been told), and you may only one message explaining your actions. You will get up to one warning about offenses in the community.
2. Be respectful and polite, and do not start drama. This is a common sense rule. Do not break it.
3. This is not first come, first serve. Just because someone posts an item and you are the first to comment does not mean you are entitled to it. It is up to the poster to decide who they would like to give the item to.
4. Do not harass the poster for an item. Doing so is a bannable offense, and you will not be allowed in the community again. On that note, it's also not community etiquette to guilt trip a poster into choosing you as the recipient of their item(s). A lot of moms struggle, and I assure you that you are not the only one. Try again next time.
5. Do not post an item you have no intention of giving away. We do understand that sometimes things get lost in the mail, or real life catches up and you may not have the money for shipping you once thought you had. If this is the case, then please, just explain your situation. You will not be flamed for circumstances preventing you from giving an item away, but posting an item and editing it to something like, "Nevermind... decided I wanted to keep it!" will get you banned. Please think long and hard and make sure you're willing to part with whatever you post. A good way to make sure you don't post anything you won't take back is to only post things your children have completely grown out of/never liked and you never use them.
6. If you receive, try to give. This isn't really a set-in-stone rule, but it's more a rule of thumb. If you ask people to send you their used baby items, try to post a few when your little one outgrows them. Heck, if you see something on clearance for a dollar at K-mart that you won't use but you think someone here will, we'd love for you to snatch it. It's always good to give back. Remember, this community won't succeed if no one gives and everyone takes!
Pictures are loved, but not absolutely necessary. Basically, your average post should just say you have whatever item you want to give away, and if you believe the postage will be over ten dollars whether you want to be reimbursed for postage or not. (More details on that below in the "Postage Reimbursement Guidelines") It's also up to you whether you want to give away the item first come first serve or if you want to choose the recipient. A good rule of thumb to follow is to edit your post when the item is taken. Even if it's first come first serve, if your first commenter doesn't work out, it's a good idea to either pick the next commenter or to open up commenting again by editing with the date and time and saying the first commenter gets it.
Tagging: A system for tagging is still being devised, however we do ask that you tag with your state if in the USA and the country. This will help people figure out who's close to them and honestly, a lot of us won't want to pay international shipping costs. Virginia would be "Virginia, USA" not "VA, united states" or "virginia, united states." For those outside of the US, please just put your country as a tag. There will be different tags for different types of items and clothes but fathomed is still working on this system so for now, please just let her tag the entries.
Don't beg. No "ME ME ME!" either. Simply say something respectful saying you'd like/love to have the item (but OMG I LOVE THIS!!! could constitute as begging, so be careful with the love word) and let the poster know a good way of contacting you. Email would probably be the best way for this. It's appropriate to say, "That onesie is so cute! I wouldn't mind having it. If you want you can reach me at email@example.com." However, it's unapproprite to say, "OMG! I LOVE THAT ONESIE I HAVE TO HAVE IT RIGHT NOW! EMAIL ME AT EMAIL@EMAIL.COM NOW PLEASE!!!" This is another one of those common sense things. ;)
Postage Reimbursement Guidelines
Now, the point of this community is giving. However, some excessively large items/lots of clothes may cost a bit to ship and I've realized (with the help of suggestions from members) that putting all that cost on the giver can make people less likely to give away items for free. So with this, there is now a new rule of thumb. You can ask for reimbursement on shipping only if the item will cost approximately ten dollars or more to ship. Please don't lie about the shipping to make a profit, because we can see how much you paid when the item comes. I'm not saying that 9.99 wouldn't be okay, but not seven dollars. This is simply trying to keep the community in the spirit of giving/random acts of kindness. If you're caught lying about the cost of shipping to make a profit, you will be blacklisted. That's not the point of babyswaps.
A tip is that if you do expect to be reimbursed, don't give items to journals that have less than a few entries/friends/communities. Use your good judgement. There is not a list of people who have failed to reimburse yet, and I hope that I don't have to create one. However, if you haven't received reimbursement through whatever means you choose, you can report the person to fathomed and they will be banned and put on a list. However, if they can prove that they paid you (a Paypal receipt that has your email, money order receipt, ect.), you will be banned for instigating drama. The money order one will be a little trickier because sometimes mail is lost, but it's rare. A good way to prevent this is getting Delivery Confirmation or a signature required on your money order when you mail it. Or to mail the money order before the item is ever shipped.
The terms of reimbursement are to be negotiated between giver and receiver. Honestly, I don't care whether you pay by Paypal or Money Order or before the item is sent or after. The person shipping the item probably does, though. If you say you'll pay after you get the item, please do. Not paying is not only a bannable offense but it ruins the spirit of the community, and we don't want that, do we?