Let’s face facts. It’s sometimes difficult to let go of items in one’s wardrobe. Among the hardest items to get rid of are those which are expensive or sentimental. Perhaps the item was a splurge or reminds you of a special event you attended. But clothing items and accessories that we no longer wear, or use, can rob us of valuable closet space. Rather than sadly part with items, consider holding a clothing swap with good friends. Not only do items get a second life, but you’ll come home with some “newer” pieces you’ll love. It’s also a great way to give impulse buys a second chance; things we mistakenly thought we needed but generally end up not using. Here’s some basic tips to hosting a clothing swap or trade:
- Decide on a venue and date to hold the event.
- Invite 12 to 15 friends to participate.
- Attendees should be encouraged to bring their favorite appetizer, dessert, or beverage to share.
- Decide on a set number of tradable items each person should bring to permanently swap.
- Do limit the quantity of items each person should bring, such as five pieces.
- Participants will turn-in their items and go home with replacement items; therefore, they should not expect to get their items back.
- Clothing items for the swap must be clean and in good shape; not torn, worn, or misshapen.
- Encourage participants to arrive early so that items for the swap can be checked-in, organized, and displayed beforehand.
- Create categories for exchanges – such as jewelry, hats, scarves, belts, shoes, handbags, tops, jeans, casual dresses, and so forth.
- Set up a table to display purses and jewelry. Have several hanging racks to hold dresses, jackets, coats, and other items that are best seen hung. Also have a full-length mirror and several handheld mirrors available.
- Participants should have access to a private dressing space for quick try-ons.
- Everyone picks a number out of a hat. Number one gets the first pick of one item from a category to which they contributed an item. Number two goes second, third goes third, and so forth. Repeat the entire process until all items are gone.
- Strive for fairness. Expensive name brands should be in a separate category and be traded for equivalent priced items.
- Whatever is left or not wanted should be donated to a worthy organization following the swap.
Clothing swaps bring groups of friends together while giving life to no-longer-worn clothing and accessories. It provides a great opportunity to sort through closets and pull-out items you don’t wear. You may even come across some impulse items that still have the tags attached. Not only do clothing swaps help people declutter their closets, but it’s also a great way to gain some new treasures while having fun. Trading clothes also helps end the cycle of overspending on fashion. Plus, it’s an excellent way to make others happy by rehoming clothing to someone who will greatly enjoy your less worn hand-me-downs or closet rejects.
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Another idea is upcycling. Jeans and old shirts become quilts. Nobody wants used underwear, even if it is clean, but old cotton boxers make great rags. You get the idea… useful when clothes are in a condition they can’t be swapped.