How to Host a Clothing Swap

Reduce Your Waste and Look Chic Doing It

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Have you made a New Year’s resolution to clean out your closet or to change up your wardrobe? Maybe you received new clothes for the holidays and you’re trying to pare down. There are a number of reasons to reduce the amount of shirts, pants, accessories, and shoes in your possession – and you don’t want to just throw them out. After all, an estimated 1.2 million tons of textiles ended up in California landfills in 2014, and you don’t want to add to that. What’s the solution? A wardrobe swapping party! Follow these tips and you’ll turn heads, even without a runway.

Send Invites

A group of 10 to 15 people is reasonable to ensure you have enough garments and accessories but without risking chaos. Try to be conscious of people’s styles and sizes, but don’t exclude anyone because they might be preppy and plus-size or a punky petite – they might still find something that suits them. 

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Set Ground Rules

Make it a point to list the rules in your invitation so everyone knows before they arrive, and make sure you give a friendly reminder once everyone is there. The point of the clothing swap is to have fun, save money, and reduce waste. Here are some rules to start:

  • Everyone takes a turn.
  • No fighting over items.
  • Everyone brings a certain amount of items and leaves with that amount.

Be Clear

Make sure everyone knows what is considered swappable. Everything must be washed, dried, and ironed, and nothing should be stained or torn. Don’t bring low-quality items just to get rid of them. 

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Get Organized

Before everyone comes over, make sure you have plenty of room to display the items. Tables and racks would be ideal so everyone can see what’s up for grabs. If you don’t want to dig through a pile of what looks like dirty laundry, your friends probably don’t either. As people walk in, have them organize their items on the tables and/or racks. 

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A Perfect Fit

Have a designated space as a fitting room so everyone can try on items if they choose. This can be a restroom, bedroom, or even a corner of the room with a partition for privacy. Don’t forget to include mirrors!

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Make It a Party

You’re not just there to swap clothing—you’re there to have a good time with your friends. Encourage guests to bring snacks and drinks (but be careful not to spill on the clothes!). Play music and games after you trade items. For bonus eco-points, buy snacks in bulk and skip the disposable dishware. 

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Donate Leftovers

Once everyone has taken a turn and their reusable shopping bags are full of new fashions, donate any of the leftovers to the Goodwill, Salvation Army, WEAVE, Dress for Success, or thrift shops. That way, whatever you and your fellow swappers don’t use will certainly be used by someone else.

One last tip for the runway: Take fashion risks when you trade. You’re not spending any money, so this is the perfect time to try something you might not normally purchase in the store. 

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— TC Clark
Posted on Jan 19, 2017

Summary: Have you made a New Year’s resolution to clean out your closet or to change up your wardrobe? Maybe you received new clothes for the holidays and you’re trying to pare down.