Trade show season does more than send you home with great ideas for the coming year—there’s also all of the booth swag. While that tote or t-shirt was a must-have at the show, it could end up taking over useful space or cluttering your office. Even if you plan on using the items,
consider this: What did you do with all of last year’s swag? Chances are if you
didn’t keep and use it then, it’s now buried in the bottom of a desk drawer or was
in last year’s garbage.
Here at interiors+sources, we use the And On That Note page to showcase
positive works in the design community and this time it’s your turn. The i+s team
pulled together ideas on how to put trade show swag to good use.
T-Shirts: Many of us have drawers full of free t-shirts from trade shows and 5k runs,
piled with pictures from that one family picnic that took place years ago. These shirts
can be put to good use helping a problem in America that doesn’t get enough coverage: many of the 2.5 million kids who are homeless don’t have designated outfits for
sleep. Instead, they tend to sleep in their day clothes which isn’t conducive to a good
night’s rest. Donating gently used pajamas (or leftover trade show t-shirts) for homeless kids and teens gives them the comfort and security of having their very own
clothes just for sleeping. Initiatives like pajamaprogram.org provide kids with new PJs
and bedtime stories.
Pens and Stationery: One of the easiest ways to help your community is by
simply cleaning out your bags. For many public schools, supplies like pens, pencils,
and notebooks come from students’ families and teachers are often left supplementing
classrooms out of their own pockets. Instead of throwing out your office extras, give
your local schools or childcare programs a call to see if they could use more supplies.
Tote Bags: These fun trade show staples can run out their use well before their life-cycle is over. For America’s homeless population, keeping one’s possessions on hand is
essential. What’s more: while city-wide bans on plastic bags are great for the environment, they have unintended consequences for those struggling financially. Tote bags
help fill the need for reusable bags for those in lower income levels and can also give
the homeless reliable, sturdy means for transporting their belongings.
Coffee Cups: One of the cornerstones of organizations like Alcoholics Anonymous
and Narcotics Anonymous is that they are self-supporting through member donations
and oftentimes this means groups are low on goods such as coffee cups. If your cupboard can’t possibly hold another mug, consider giving a call to your local fellowship
club or AA/NA meeting and ask if they could use them.
Samples and USB Drives: The end of trade show season starts another annual
event: the purging of the samples. The design departments of local colleges can many
times put out-of-season samples to good use in their own materials libraries or provide
students with materials for final projects. Students can also use your extra USB/flash
drives for saving their work and portfolios.
By Kadie Yale
Find out how to repurpose those unwanted t-shirts, totes, and more.
SWAG’S NEXT LIFE
Don’t have the time to
visit organizations who may
use your unwanted items?
Swing by the i+s Materials
Pavilion (7-1000) during NeoCon to drop them
off and the i+s staff will
repurpose the bags, pens,
chapsticks, etc., for you. If
you’re not at NeoCon, feel
free to send it to i+s headquarters: interiors+sources,
615 5th St SE Cedar Rapids,