Question: How do you get 20 women to all show up to a party five minutes early?
Answer: Let them know they will leave with a new wardrobe and it won’t cost them a thing.
That’s right friends we are talking about a Clothes Swap.
“The more I’ve limited my choices in my wardrobe, the happier and more creative I’ve felt. It’s so refreshing to open my closet door and find a clutter-free zone, filled with all I need and nothing I don’t.”
Many of us were already trying to downsize our wardrobes but were also looking for pieces we love rather than lots of pieces that are just okay. We discovered that a clothes swap is a great way to pass on great items that just don’t fit quite right or don’t get as much wear as we thought they would. Plus it is a great feeling to see something that never worked great on you looking fabulous on one of your friends.
Here are some pointers:
You will need: Clothing racks, several full length mirrors, at least one place to try on clothes (we had three), lots of hangers, a system to label different categories and sizes.
1. Decide what items to swap. We included (I say we as if I had anything to do with it, really all I did was show up, shop and snap a few photos, but I loved the event so much I had to share it here) clothes as well as shoes, scarves, bags and jewelry. Each of us were asked to bring 15 items all in good condition. Once I got into cleaning-out-my-closet-mode it was fun and easy to come up with 15 items that I was ready to pass on and that I thought others would love.
2. Consider your invite list. If you only have 3 or 4 friends coming then you need to all be close to the same size. The larger number of people you have the more sizes you can include. We had about 20 ladies, so we had a variety of sizes which made swapping fun for everyone.
3. Set the rules. Our swap had a relaxed atmosphere, there was no hair pulling or fist fights. We all started shopping at the same time and were allowed to take as many items as we wanted. The only rule was that we could take no more than 5 items at a time off the rack to try on. If you have a larger group or are worried it might get crazy you can limit this to three items, set limits on how many items people can take home and even draw straws to decide who will be the first to start shopping.
4. Make sure you set up is clear. Kat did an amazing job of arranging clothes from small to large and then organizing them by category: dresses, long sleeve tops, short sleeve tops, pants and skirts. She asked us to drop off clothes a day in advance to set up (I totally failed at this, but did manage to bring my stuff a few hours before so all could be ready when the party started).
5. Don’t forget snacks. It is easy to ask everybody to contribute. We were all asked to either bring either something to munch on or a bottle of wine.
6. No negative self talk. Kat set the rule and I loved it. No negative comments about your body. We have a tendency to complain about how things don’t fit or we wish we were a different size or shape. We wanted this night to be fun and cutting out the negative talk definitely helped everyone go home feeling good.
7. Give away what is left. At the end of the swap we had the option to either collect our left over things or leave them so they could be donated.