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Swap Till You Drop

Fact: 9/10 times the phrase, “I have nothing to wear,” is actually synonymous for “I have a closet full of clothes and don’t want to wear any of them.” **

**results not based on any scientific evidence.

We’ve all had that moment though, right? You open your closet door and the only expression you can muster is “Ugh.” It’s frustrating and happens way too often. If you’ve been searching for a practical solution to turn your drab into fab, a solution that will bring the “WOW” back to your wardrobe, we have just the answer for you.

Hint: it doesn’t involve breaking the budget, but it does involve you and your friends, those clothes shoved to the back of your dresser drawer, and party snacks, so many party snacks.

You guessed it, it’s a clothing swap!

The premise of a clothing swap is pretty self-explanatory—you and your guests bring your good condition but no longer worn clothing and swap for clothing that you would wear. While the premise is simple, the impact is great. Not only do guests leave happy with a revived and refreshed wardrobe, but the act of keeping well-conditioned clothes “in the loop” prevents unnecessary items from inhabiting landfills and slows the use of resources for new clothing.

There really aren’t many better excuses to have a party, am I right?

We’ve covered the basics but, to have the most successful clothing swap possible, let’s dive into the depths of the hamper for more details (and potentially more clothing puns).

To have a fair swap for everyone, set an agreed-upon number of clothing items for each guest to bring and that they are willing to part with. If this is your first swap as hostess, it’s recommended you start small. Keep it amongst your friends and consider inviting women who are sized similarly to have the most swap options for each guest. If your friends vary in shapes and sizes, consider an accessory swap. Jewelry, earrings, bracelets, scarves, and purses are one-size-fits-all and also deserve new homes where they’ll be cherished.

A few days before the party, share your foundational guidelines with guests such as the number of items each guest is expected to bring and that each item should be cleaned and in good condition. This will give time for your guests to gather the perfect items and maybe hit the laundry pile.

It is also important to consider how the “shopping” will be executed. Will each guest pick a number, and everyone proceeds chronologically? Or will guests all browse at the same time and abide by standard retail store rules? There’s no better way except whatever way fits your preferred party mood. Above all though, remember that presentation is everything. No one likes digging through a mountain of clothes as if they’re scavenging for trash in a dumpster. Clothing swaps turn one woman’s trash into another woman’s treasure. So, setup some tables and properly display those gems.

Now the part you’ve been waiting for...start swapping!

Your new-to-you treasures are just a hunt away. Keep in mind that someone else may have their eyes on your treasure, too, so be polite and fair to avoid any unnecessary conflict. Guests are also to leave with the number of items they contributed to the swap unless otherwise unanimously agreed upon by everyone in attendance. We love a good night of fun and that’s exactly what swapping can bring if we’re all in it together.

Lastly, any item that didn’t find its new home isn’t without hope. Whatever is leftover can be donated with the permission of the original owner. The goal of a clothing swap is to find new life for unwanted items and reduce clutter; likely no one will oppose your extra efforts to make that happen. Pack up any unwanted items and make time to deliver them to your local secondhand store. There’s no such thing as an unwanted donation of quality clothes.

But wait. Didn’t someone say snacks?

Yes, we must never forget the snacks. This, too, is a personal preference on your style of execution. You can offer to provide the food and drinks if those attending agree to pay a small “admission” fee or you can politely ask guests to bring a dish of choice. Let’s be honest, it’s hard to go wrong with party food, so snack as you see fit.

And that’s a wrap! Or a blouse or jeans or whatever treasure you so find. You have officially completed your guide to clothing swap success. Soon you’ll be perfecting your lead as clothing swap planner and be organizing swaps for your whole community, spreading the awareness of sustainable, eco-friendly fashion to others and beyond.

It’s never too late to start making an impact. Get swapping today.