If you’re addicted to fashion but are on a budget, then we have the perfect solution for you. Sure we love a good thrift shop, and we even love stores like Plato’s closet for trends on a budget, but have you considered a clothing swap?
Maybe you’re looking to clean out the closet and get rid of the clothes you don’t wear. The Wall Street Journal says that you only wear about 20% of your wardrobe on a daily basis. Why are you still hanging on to the other 80%?
It’s time to let go of that dress you just haven’t found an occasion for. We know, it looked amazing on the rack, but somehow you can’t figure out how to wear it we’ve been there. Trade it in for something you’ll actually wear, like your best friend’s leggings that would look better on you anyway.
Time to get thrifty, let’s get started.
What Is a Clothing Swap?
A clothing swap is a perfect way to keep your shopping habit and finances in check. A swap is when a group of people bring their clean, lightly worn items and trade with each other.
It’s estimated that the UK alone there’s an estimated 46.7 billion dollars worth of unworn clothes in the back of people’s closets. Imagine the clothing swap they could have!
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How Does It Work?
Hosting a clothing exchange is quite simple, gather up your girlfriends, decide on some basic rules, and set up camp. One girl’s lightly worn clothing is another girl’s new favorite trend.
Let’s get into everything you need to know about hosting the perfect clothing swap party that everyone will love.
Choose Your Swap Spot
When it comes to choosing a spot for your swap, you’ll want a large open space. Places like a church hall, library, or town center work well, but even your basement or living room will work fine.
Choose somewhere where you set up tables. No one wants to climb around the floor sorting through clothes and accessories.
Invite Your Friends
Whether you invite your girls on Facebook, send them a text, or deliver the invite via posted note over a cubicle, there won’t be a party without people. The more the merrier!
It’s suggested that you invite friends of the same size, style, or age. That can be uncomfortable but might be logistically sound. A nice way to get around it is to include accessories that are one-size-fits-all.
It’s also a good idea to tell your girls what they shouldn’t bring to the swap. If you don’t want to include shoes, winter gear, men’s clothing, or lingerie, be sure to say so in the invite, so your guests have time to prepare.
Pick up Some Supplies and Organize
Grab some folding tables, colored stickers (for claiming articles of clothing), full-length mirrors, and supplies to make signs. The key to a successful clothing exchange is organization.
Let your guests know ahead of time that you’ll be separating the clothes into categories. Some good categories are party clothes, blouses, tank tops, jeans, dresses, sweaters, jewelry, winter, beach, etc. If they come prepared with separate items you can start the party sooner!
Let the Swapping Begin
An important part of hosting is creating a set of party guidelines. This will make the party run a lot smoother and hopefully avoid any drama.
We’ve gathered up some ground rules to ensure your next clothing swap is a success.
1. Wash Before You Swap
Avoid weird smells, dust bunnies, and wrinkles by making sure your guests wash their clothes before the event. No one wants to bring home bed bugs with them along with their new styles.
2. Set Some Boundaries
Decide on a minimum and maximum limits for guests. Ashely can’t bring two cardigans and expect to leave like there was a BOGO sale at Forever 21 and Lindsey can’t drop off 67 trash bags just because she’s moving to another country next month or you’ll be stuck loading your car with donations until next Thursday.
Let the group know how much they can take with them. A reasonable amount is a trash bag, but it’s a good idea to tell the girls to bring reusable bags to tote home their new goods.
3. Create a System
If you’re a big group, you can draw numbers to decide on who partakes in the first round of shopping. You can either limit it by the number of articles (say 3-5), by time (say 15 minutes), or a combo of both. This should give your friends enough time to try on clothes without starting fights because Ashley took all of the bodysuits.
4. Pick a theme
In this article, we focused on a clothing exchange, but you can throw this type of party for any theme. Adapt this party template into anything from tools for you guys out there, makeup, Halloween costumes, or even holiday decorations.
Maybe you have a lot of houseware, baking supplies, or appliances. Maybe you have an enormous mound of children’s clothing or toys in your attic. Whatever the occasion, invite your friends, bring a snack, and swap your stuff!
Donate the Leftovers to Charity
Naturally, there are going to articles left over after the clothing exchange. The best thing to do with these treasures is to donate them to people in need. On average, Americans throw away 80 pounds of clothing.
What Kind of Exchange Will You Throw?
If your girlfriends always opt for a girl’s night out, it may be time to switch it up. Throw in a few bottles of wine to the mix, and a clothing swap is a fun girl’s night in for any group of friends.
For more articles on the best party themes, gift ideas, and celebrations, check out our archive here.