Before we both moved away from Pasadena, my friend Monette and I used to host a swap every year. Now you should know that Monette is a much MUCH better dresser than I. She put up with me for all of those years because she could count on me to take home a lot of things. It feels good to know your cute clothes are going to someone who will appreciate and wear them. Click To TweetAnyway, we were a good team and those were great parties! Here are some of our organized ideas which I hope will inspire you to throw your own swap party.
General guidelines for a clothing swap
First of all, this is lady time. No boys allowed! Not even for a minute. If there is no way around it, children can come but that is really going to change the self-care vibe. So, do everything you can to store the children somewhere else for this event. (ha!)
Invite a lot of people
For all parties, half of the people you invite will not come. So invite twice as many women as you want to attend. Tell them to spread the word and bring friends! Send invitations 3 weeks in advance to allow time for closet clearing.
Set your guidelines
Decide on some parameters for items. For example- will your clothing swap include costumes? shoes and belts? plus sizes? formal wear? It’s okay to include everything if you have a large enough space to display it all. Your guests will appreciate some guidance about what is acceptable. Even though it may be obvious to you, sweetly pass on the parameters IN WRITING. Make sure to specify that the swap is for items which could be re-sold or gifted–nothing with stains or rips.
Have good lighting
The most important thing about choosing your location is the lighting. A swap in the day time gives the best lighting, but can be very tricky to schedule. If your swap will be at night, make sure there are a few really well-lit areas.
Create large labels
Nothing fancy. Just write some categories (e.g. short-sleeved tops; leggings; skirts; etc.) on pieces of paper with a wide marker and tape them to the wall or couch with painter’s tape (blue tape). Keep the marker, tape, and extra paper handy to make more labels as needed during the swap.
What to provide for your swappers
Don’t buy any bags! Just grab what you have in your house. If you and 1-2 people bring the bags they have in their homes, you’ll have enough. Bags help shoppers know which stuff is taken and what is still up for grabs.
I prefer girl power music for a clothing swap because it will increase confidence. Spotify has great playlists for this genre! Use the search feature, enter “girl” and find the playlists. JACKPOT!
Whatever this means to you, keep it pouring. Some women have more inhibitions than others and we don’t want those keeping them from trying on their next favorite outfit.
Neat finger snacks
Easy munchies like nuts, chips, grapes, cheese and crackers will work well. Cookies and finger-sized treats are also great.
What guests could bring
Obviously they’ll bring items to swap. Monette and I never had rules about how much to bring or how much you were allowed to take. We like to keep it easy and friendly. If you aren’t especially excited about providing any of the items listed above, ask your guests to bring them! If you ask them to bring snacks, be specific. Otherwise you could end up with some saucy food that requires plates and will get all over the clothes. Party foul!
Some guests are helpful cleaner-uppers. And since you’ll be hauling a lot of stuff to the donation drop-off after this party, if anyone offers, ask if they can come back the next day to help you get the donation bags out of your house!
Hosting a party is a gift you give your friends
Are you feeling on the fence about this? Are you thinking to yourself, isn’t it easier to just donate my clothes, to take all of it to the consignment shop? or to sell it on the realreal.com?
NO. It isn’t easier. It’s often a pain in the neck.
And PS- parties are magic. Having people into your home is such a special gesture. No one cares that your house is dusty or there are toys in the living room. Women (ESPECIALLY MAMAS) need to do something different and nice–something just for themselves.
Trust me. It is so stinkin’ fun to see everyone dancing around and complimenting each other on their outfits and decisions. Just do it!
If you have a group of ladies you always see, or already get together for a book club or drinks, why not spice it up a little and save yourselves all some money on a free wardrobe upgrade!
I’m inspired writing this to host a clothing swap in my new city, Long Beach. How about you, Monette?
Please give it a try. It’s spring. The perfect time for a wardrobe upgrade. And if you do host a swap party, please let me know how it goes!
As always, thank you so much for reading and for subscribing to read (and watch!) more of our organizing tips.
Share and watch these videos from the clutter challenge to help you and your guests thin out items in your closet and drawers to bring to the clothing swap:
More posts to read about closet organization: