How to Organize a Clothing Swap

Tired of opening up your closet only to find it FULL of clothes, yet there is nothing in there you really want to wear? It's time you  participated in a Clothing Swap!

Organizing a Clothing Swap is a fantastic way to not only clean out your closet, but freshen up your wardrobe for FREE as well! 

 Invite a collection of friends neighbors and co-workers to bring their gently used clothing, shoes, accessories and even handbags to one location in order to swap with one another.  A variety of guests ensures that you'll get loads of options and sizes to go around.  You could invite by mail or the ever popular evite, encouraging attendees to invite one or two guests each as well, if you like. 

It's a good idea to request that guests drop off items a few days ahead of time to allow for goods to be organized and put on display by size, season or style ahead of time (like you'd find in a boutique store). This will provide for easier browsing on the day of the swap.

At the Swap Event:
Allow everyone to 'just browse' the goods on display for about 30 minutes as they arrive.  Drinks and desserts or appetizers would be a nice touch, but is not required.  You could even ask each guest to bring something to share in the invitation.

There are a few options for how to carry out the actual swap:
1.  Casual: Allow everyone to select items at the same time.  But, perhaps 'suggest' guests limit selections to what match the same amount as what they brought until everyone has filled their own quota.  If more items are available, allow for more selections to be made.

2.  Semi Formal: Create and distribute "Swap" coupons or tokens for items brought in. The more a guest brings, the more they get to swap, complete with a 'check out'.  If there are more items left after 'check outs' have been made, allow for casual selections to follow.

3. Extra Formal: Still using the coupon or token process, the hostess would begin the Swap by having everyone draw a number from some type of random numbered drawing.  The person that draws #1 would get to select one to three items first, #2 would go next, and so on.  Once all guests had made their first selections, numbers would be returned then drawn again for round two.  Selections would continue to be made until all the items have been chosen or nobody has an interest in anything else.

Trades could be made amongst guests after items are distributed and tried on, if desired.

It may even be a good idea to plan ahead for some light-hearted games to play in the event you have two or more people that want the same item. This is a fun way to decide who will get to take favored frocks.
This could be as simple as a fun competition like an egg and spoon race.

You could also hold a type of auction for really popular (perhaps brand name) items:
Give everyone a cup or bowl of M&M's or skittles.  Whomever wants an item would then bid on them with their equally distributed candy...(i.e.: Hostess would supervise, "I have two skittles here, oh, now I have 6, I see 10 over here!" )

After the party is complete, it would be understood that the hostess takes the leftovers to donate them to a local charity organization. A battered-women’s shelter is an excellent choice.

I've casually swapped clothes with friends and our church hosts a semi formal women's Clothing Swap each year.  It's SO much fun!  Have you ever attended or hosted a Swap?

Clean out that closet and give it a go!


    1. AnonymousMay 18, 2011

      These are GREAT tips! A friend of mine had mentioned doing this a couple months ago and we never did it because we honestly just didn't know how to go about it. Love these ideas and I will definitely keep them in mind. Thanks, Heidi!

    2. Every year at Easter the women in my family bring bags of clothes and other items to swap. It is so fun. Since were all family we are not nearly as civil as you suggest!


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