Clothing Swap – 5 tips to hosting a successful clothing swap
April 2, 2012
Yesterday, I hosted a clothing swap at my home, also known as “Swishing”. From the looks on the faces of the smiling ladies leaving with bags and arms full of goodies, it was deemed a success. While my clothing swap is still fresh in my mind, I thought I would share my tips to help make your clothing swap a success.
Give everyone lots of time to get organized. I sent a sweet and proper invitation via email (see image – please feel free to use my little poem and customize to suit your event) over a month in advance so that everyone could save the date, plus have time to go through their closets and storage bins to pick out items that would be good for the swap. While this is not a serious affair, it pays to be organized in order to get a good number of participants together. That way, there will be a range of styles and sizes to choose from (more on that in a minute). Encourage your friends to invite other friends. I ended up with about twelve at this party and it seemed to be a perfect number.
Do NOT worry about sizes.
Some of my friends expressed concern that they were a smaller or bigger size than…and I stopped them right there. What we all know is that we often buy clothes that are too big or too small, for whatever reason. We loved the colour so much, or the price was irresistible. (Tell me you haven’t done it.) So right away, participants will be contributing items above and below their actual size.
We also know that sizes on the tag are not as they initially appear. A 6 is not a 6 is not a 6. Small can be large, and large can be small. Please trust me on this and gently encourage your friends by reassuring them that there will be something for everyone.
My friends ranged from slight, androngenous rockers, to a seriously tall and voluptuous, Yours will too. I also had an age range as it turns out, from 25 to almost 65. Everyone went home with something, including the one who went home with at least 6 pairs of shoes….which leads me to…
Remember the shoes you bought for your 9 to 5 job that you no longer need? The slingbacks youconstantly slip out of? What about the purse that is too big for your day-to-day, or the tiny clutch you have used one too many times for formal events? Some of the most coveted items in the swap were scarves, purses, earrings, boots and shoes, belts and headbands. Also, fragrance items. They went quickly. These items are for everyone, and you will be so happy to see them in a new home.
I simply love anything with the iconic Hudson Bay stripes, and plucked this unused bag which I will put to use right away. I must also mention my friend Lara who hit the jackpot with shoes and “walked away” with a whole new shoe wardrobe.
Set it up
You are going to be doing a bit of running around when your friends arrive, so definitely have your drinks and food set-up ahead of time. (I was not quite ready in this department after a Sunday morning of the usual running around, so would be a bit more prepped next time.) Enlist a friend to come a bit early and help you with set-up – luckily my girlfriend Brienne helped me by running up and down the stairs as goodies arrived. A few items that will help you in ‘displaying’ swap items:
- baskets or bins for accessories
- extra hangers to hang items (use the backs of chairs, stair rails, window ledges, or ask around to see if anyone has a rolling rack)
- an empty table or ottoman for folded items and pants.
Don’t forget to bring out a few full length mirrors, and let your friends know where they can change privately if need be.
Time to shop till you drop!
It didn’t take long for my friends to dive in, but a little encouragement was needed. Some of your guests may feel ‘guilty’ about rummaging through the piles, wondering how many pieces they could take, who should start…forget it!
Remind your guests that all of these items are looking for a new home and would otherwise be sitting in a closet being unused. As the host, you know your guests the best, so if you see an item that you think would be great on someone, let them know.
Everyone walked away with some ‘new’ clothes for spring; everyone! We will be donating the gently used remaining items to our local shelter. The afternoon was deemed a success, and everyone begged for another swap this fall. Good luck with yours. Happy Swishing and Swapping!