Thursday, February 23, 2012

Host your own clothing swap!
Tips and Tricks for your own swap and party.
Swapped outfit :: What I Wore 2.22.12

Last weekend, with the help from some friends, I hosted my second clothing swap. I love swaps! What better way to revamp your wardrobe for no cost whatsoever! Not only do you get "new" things, but at the same time, you clean out what you don't wear, and someone else gets to love your clothes. It's win-win for everyone!
1. First, create a guest list. I use Facebook and create an event. I invite every woman I know in my town. They don't have to be close friends, because this is a great way to get to know some of your casual acquaintances. I always invite about 100 people to the event. You'll get half to respond and even less to actually come. Encourage friends to bring other friends. The more the merrier.

2. Set rules. Everyone must bring clothes and/or accessories. I like to be sure to remind everyone to bring things that women will actually pick up and take home. No junk! Some clothes should just go straight to Goodwill. Save the hassle of having clutter in the swap and only bring wearable clothes. This of course is objective and a matter of opinion for most women. Sometimes you'll end up with crap in the piles but that's ok. There are always leftovers.

3. Set up folding tables and clothing racks. Label them according to type of clothes. My friend Sarah always brings over her tables she uses for craft shows. We set up as many tables as we can, labeling them with cardstock signs, catergories like short sleeved shirts, long sleeved shirts, sweaters, pants, shorts, skirts, accessories, etc. I also utilized my mantle and dining room table for accessories. Place shoes under the tables, neatly arranged of course, to save room. Set up a clothing rack for dresses or drape them over the back of a couch with skirts. 

4. Upon arrival, each woman sorts her own clothes! This prevents the host from having to do all the work. When you have 10+ women, that's a lot of clothing!

5. Provide appetizers and wine. Nothing gets strangers to chatting like wine and clothing. It's great to see women that I know, but don't know each other, become friends and meet at these swaps. It's like I'm a little matchmaker. When people are filtering in during the first half hour to hour is a great time to socialize and have a glass or two.

6. Add a little incentive and prize! Put all the women's names in a bowl. Once all clothing is sorted and out, pick a name or two, depending on the size of your group. The name(s) selected get(s) a first round pick at all the clothes. Then time to start swapping!

Most important rule to swapping: DON'T BE SHY! Try on clothes. Wear sometime to the swap you can easily throw something over. Or head to the bathroom and try on a pile of selected clothes. You don't want to take something home, only to find it doesn't fit and that someone else could have used it. I love this dress that Jaye found (above). I wish I had seen it first! Lucky gal. She found some amazing things at the swap.
Carry a bag on one shoulder. Toss all your finds in it, and when it gets a little full, step aside, go through it again, seeing what you picked. Ask yourself questions like: "Would I wear this?" or "How much use would I get from this piece?" If you don't know the answer, maybe consider putting it back.
Be picky with your choices. Again, someone else could use the top you are indecisive about. I started having these swaps to aid in my hoarding, and to help ME clean out my closet. So the last thing I want to do it take an excessive amount of clothes that I will not wear. 
Don't forget about accessories! I had two huge shoe boxes full of sunglasses last week. Now, only one. I managed to part with 20+ pairs of sunglasses (I told you I'm a slight hoarder), and since I donated all these pairs to the swap, I'm sure a bunch of the ladies now have some sweet new shades to sport. It feels good knowing they'll get some use and see the sun, since they mostly only see the inside of their box.
Make rounds and rounds at all the tables. Don't spend too much time and try to circle as much as possible. Even at the end of the swap, you'll discover items you didn't see the first three go-arounds. This is my favorite part! When the tables dwindle down to half that was there in the beginning...

And then you'll have leftovers. After everyone finished swapping, drank their wine and wound up conversations, they headed home with their new clothes. With the help of friends Sarah and Katie, we separated business and business casual clothing into garbage bags. These will go to a women's shelter and will help women that are trying to find work and need clothing.

The rest of the clothes I am taking to resale shops like Plato's closet and Uptown Cheapskate. Whatever money is earned from the sale of these leftovers I am donating to the local ASPCA or Humane Society. As much as I love Goodwill and Salvation Army, I have about 6 garbage bags left and the women that participated can do some good for local animals. I can't wait to see how much money I can get!

The leftovers from the resale shops will go to a thrift store, and hopefully I can hand a nice chunk of change to the local animal shelter, I haven't decided which one yet, I need to do some more research on where the money will be best sent to.

My first fully swapped outfit, what I wore yesterday. Swapped skirt, swapped cardigan, swapped t-shirt. The cardigan was something I wouldn't ever buy in a retail store. It has the hem that is longer in the front, and waist height in the back. Very slouchy and almost a tissue tee material. Great way to wear it: tie it in a bow! I loved it with the high-waisted floral skirt and tights, paired with some comfy thrifted cowboy boots and I was set for my first day back to work after a brief flu on Monday and Tuesday.

Questions? Comments? Want to host your own swap?! DO IT! It's a blast.
Check out the post from the last swap I hosted: here!

Have a great day!

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