Have you ever been to a Clothes Swap?
I refuse to imagine my life without them. Today I realized that everything I’m wearing is from a swap, including a cozy wrap from Splendid, a sassy striped shirt, a perfectly broken-in belt, and a pair of cargos:
My friend Chrissy and I have been hosting swaps for over 10 years, so we’ve perfected every detail. Below is our recipe for success:
- 2 swaps a year is ideal. We do one in the Spring and one in the Fall.
- Swaps work best when you’ve got a mix of sizes and styles, so send out an invitation to everyone you know. Ideal size for a swap is about 20 people, but we’ve swapped with as few as 5 and as many as 40.
- Allow for 3 hours.
- Provide nibbles and drinks.
- Encourage swappers to ruthlessly purge their closets! Clothes, shoes, bags, accessories…everything.
- Tip: pre-sorting clothes by type (tops, pants, etc.) before arrival at the swap is a good idea.
- To set up at the swap, create separate areas for each type of item. Rolling racks work really well here…ask around to see if you can score a few. Don’t worry if you can’t: you can fold and stack items on tables or drape them over sofas and chairs.
- When swappers arrive, have each person sign in. Their number on the list determines their pick order.
- Have each swapper set out their items in the appropriate locations (this is where pre-sorting comes in handy).
- As people arrive and for the next hour or so, it’s time to “shop” – try stuff on, scope out the goods. Remind swappers not to put anything aside – everything needs to stay out and “shoppable.” This is always a fun time because you can try on numerous different looks and get feedback from all your friends!
- Tip: it’s a good idea to have pens and paper handy so swappers can jot down items of interest. Otherwise it’s really easy to lose track of what you want.
- Tip: the more mirrors, the merrier. Encourage swappers to bring full-size mirrors if they’ve got any that are easily transportable.
- After the shopping frenzy, it’s time to get down to business. Reading from the sign-in list, give each swapper the chance to choose a gem. We always run through the list 3 times.
- After everyone has cherry-picked 3 items, it’s time for the FREE FOR ALL! This is kind of like Supermarket Sweep, or the Toys R’ Us timed shopping spree you always dreamed about when you were a kid. Basically, you can snag whatever you want.
- At the end of the swap, everyone helps bag up what’s left and grabs a couple of sacks to take to the local shelter/Goodwill.
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