It happens to all of us. There at the back of the closet sits that stack of clothing, barely worn, but no longer wanted. Perhaps it’s time for a clothing swap.
Clothing swaps are popular ways for friends and family to get together for fun and share unwanted clothing. Our tips will help you get started.
1. Decide what type of swap you want to host.
Do you want to swap kids clothes or adult? Men’s or women’s? Perhaps a mother/daughter swap? Or maybe a swap with something for the entire family?
When making this decision, keep in mind how many people your house can accommodate. (If that’s where you plan to hold it.) A swap for you and 6 or 8 friends is one thing. Having each friend bring one or more children is another.
If the swap will include children, you may want to consider having it at a local park where kids can play while moms swap.
2. Decide who to invite.
Do you invite only friends who you feel share your taste in clothing? What to do about friends who are pregnant? Or friends who are obviously a much different size than everyone else, either much larger or much smaller? How can you guarantee that everyone will be able to swap for something they can use?
One way to include all, regardless of size or shape, would be to create ways in which everyone can enjoy the fun even if not able to find clothing in their size.
Consider including in the swap style accessories such as shoes, purses and jewelry which will fit almost anyone. You could also plan for a clothing swap followed by fun conversation, cheese and wine for anyone who chooses not to participate in the swap. By making the clothing swap only a part of the evening, even those not able or not interested in participating can have a good time.
3. Chose a date and time.
Remember, when temperatures begin to rise in the spring or dip in the fall, people naturally start thinking about the coming change of season. They begin planning what clothing they’ll soon need, making it a perfect time for an exchange.
Grab the calendar and pick a date at least 3-4 weeks in the future to give invitees time to plan.
Decide whether to host a daytime swap (best when children are involved) or an evening swap.
4. Decide the rules.
Before sending the invitations, you’ll need to decide a few details, or rules of the swap. These should be included with the invitation so everyone understands what to expect.
The following is a sample list of rules. Your own could be much different.
- Bring clothing which is clean and contains no rips, tears, stains, or missing buttons.
- Bring a minimum of 5 items (clothing, purses, shoes, jewelry, belts, accessories) with you to the party.
- You will receive one swap ticket for each item brought. Later you can claim one new item per ticket.
- The first 30 minutes of the party, everyone will be allowed to look through the items being swapped.
- Swap participants will then take turns claiming new items.
- Should two people become determined to claim the same item, your dear hostess will gladly flip a coin to decide the winner.
- At the end of the swap, owners will be allowed to claim any swap items which remain. Leftovers will be donated to charity.
5. Plan for snacks.
Any party, even a clothing swap, is really not complete without food! Decide what type of snacks should be served, and who should provide it. Will guests be asked to bring a dish, or do you plan to provide it yourself?
Remember, messy foods can lead to messy clothes.
You’ll also want to decide whether or not adult beverages will be served and if you’ll be providing or if each guest should bring their own.
6. Send the invitation.
Make it easy on yourself. No need to shop for invites, run around around for town for stamps, and worry about getting them in the mail.
Go online to Evite.com or Facebook Invitation and send friends an electronic invitation. They’re easy to send and easy for your guest to RSVP. You’ll be able to see at a glance who has responded and how many to expect. Plus if you don’t hear back from someone, it’s simple to follow up with them and ask if they’re planning to attend.
7. Setup for the day of the swap.
Clear plenty of space and make room.
Set up several tables. Make signs to display (‘Pants’, ‘Tops’, ‘Dresses’, etc.) which help guests figure where their things go. Create a display board on which to pin jewelry to keep it looking neat and attractive.
Designate one bedroom or bathroom as a dressing room and make sure there is at least one full length mirror available.
8. Swap clothing and have fun.
When it’s all over, donate the leftovers to a good charity.
Have you been to or hosted a clothing swap? How did it go? Any fun stories to tell?
Image courtesy of nenetus at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.