It’s that time of year again when many of us go through our closets to retire our summer sundresses and halter tops and pull out our favorite cold-weather wardrobe. If you’re anything like me, you’ll definitely find things you should’ve gotten rid of last year. So what do you do with all those old clothes you can’t wear anymore? With the sustainability movement on the rise, more and more options are popping up for people to rework, recycle, or resell their pre-loved items, but why not make an event of it and host a clothing swap?
A clothing swap is a party where you and your guests bring new or gently-used clothes and accessories you want to get rid of so you can refresh your closets by trading with each other. It’s perfect for giving those old clothes a second life and a great excuse to hang out with friends. So how exactly do you host a clothing swap party? College Fashionista has detailed six things to consider before you host your first clothing swap.
1. Work out the details
Work out all the details well in advance to make things go smoothly. Choose a date, time, and location that makes sense for you. You may be more comfortable hosting a swap at your home, where you can access private changing spaces and bathrooms. Decide how many people will be there. It may be easier to split your guests into smaller groups that swap items one at a time, so the event isn’t a total Black Friday free-for-all.
If you plan to host the event for several hours, plan to offer snacks and drinks. Or, make it potluck style and have your guests each bring something too. If you don’t want the swap to be the central part of the day, get everyone together for a fun brunch to catch up and swap clothes at the end.
2. Make your invite list
Once you have all the details, like the time, date, and location, the last step is your invite list. Make sure you give your guests enough time to plan so they can decide what they want to swap and prepare those items. Also, remember that everybody’s body type is different. Everyone you invite should be equally included in the swap, so it might be easier to stick to accessories like purses, jewelry, or shoes if you think someone might otherwise be leaving empty-handed.
3. Determine the rules for the event
Make sure everyone understands the expectations for the event, like the style or quality of the items they should be bringing. You may find those old sweats from college that you just have to get rid of, but your friends likely don’t want them either. Any items with missing buttons, broken zippers, stains, tears, or holes should also be avoided to make things fair unless you happen to be friends with project runway stars. Set a minimum of how many items they can bring and limit how many they can walk away with. It would only be fair for one person to leave with ten items and another with two if that’s what you all agreed on.
4. Display your items
How are you and your guests going to display your items? Your clothes may be stuffed in drawers or thrown across your desk chair day-to-day, but that doesn’t mean they should be for this. Make sure everything is visible and easily accessible. Different kinds of display items can also help minimize clutter and make your space flow easier. And, unless your guests bring their own displays, you’ll probably want to create designated areas for each person to separate things. Jewelry hangers, table tops, clothes hangers, coat racks, and shoe racks may be useful items on your list. Don’t forget the mirror!
You may think, “we have our snacks, fun drinks, and a killer playlist on, so what more do we need?” This step is completely optional, depending on the vibe you want to create. If your guests are swapping in groups, keep them comfortable while they wait by putting out chairs and cushions for them to lounge on. If you’re feeling up for it, you can use other decorations like flowers, garlands, or string lights to create a warm, cozy environment.
6. Donate leftover items
If everyone is ok with it, you can gather up the items at the end and set them aside to be donated. Make sure your guests know that the leftover items may be given away so they can decide if that’s something they’re on board with. If not, they can grab their things once the swap is over. Otherwise, organize all the leftover items, bag them up so that nobody knows what was passed on, and take them to a donation center to give them a second life.
Hosting a clothing swap might take a little trial and error to get just right, but your friends will still enjoy the opportunity to mingle and refresh their wardrobes for free. Happy swapping!