One of the fun things I’ve done a few times with friends is to have a clothing swap party. During the party, people exchange articles of clothing that are still in good condition but that they no longer use. It gives participants a chance to unclutter their closets, socialize with friends, and pick up a few items that they really will use and enjoy. Although donating can be accomplished through charity drop-offs and services like Freecycle, the Swap Party is a good excuse to get together with friends.
It is fairly straightforward to organize a Swap Party. Send an invitation to your friends indicating the date, time, and location of the party (send it electronically and you won’t even have to worry about the clutter of invitations). You should also lay out the Swap Party rules in the invitation. Here are the rules that I used for my last clothing swap party:
- Bring unwanted women’s clothing; clean and in good condition.
- Feel free to bring shoes, purses, scarves, jewelry and other accessories.
- No arguing over the clothes — remember we are friends!
- You may take home as many or as few clothes as you like.
- Don’t feel bad if nothing fits you and you don’t get to take home anything. There will always be a next time.
- Don’t feel bad if no one takes the clothes you brought. There will always be a next time.
- You may return home with the clothes you brought or you can leave them with the hostess to take to a local charity.
Before the party, ensure you have an area that can be used as a changing room. Make sure it has good lighting and good curtains. Ideally, you should set up a full-length mirror in the room. When the party is over, arrange to deliver the leftover clothing to charity.
While women’s clothing swap parties seem to be the most common, there are other types of swap parties you can organize with your friends and neighbours.
Holiday decorations: You can limit this to one specific holiday such as a Christmas Ornament exchange or include all sorts of holidays.
Baby/toddler items: Swap parties of baby and toddler clothes, furniture, and accessories are popular with the parent-tot crowd.
Toiletries: The hairspray you don’t use since you got your hair cut, the hand cream that Aunt Bertha got you for your birthday, and those other personal care products cluttering your cupboards might be of value to your friends.
Pet products: Your pet-loving friends may enjoy a get-together to swap pet clothing, unused pet shampoo, and toys. It could be a chance for the pets to socialize too!
Cleaning products: There is no point storing a can of oven cleaner if you have a self-cleaning oven or carpet shampoo if you have hardwood floors. Prior to spring-cleaning, consider gathering for a neighbourhood cleaning product exchange.
Sports: Sport specific clothing and equipment, especially children’s sizes, as well as specialized cleaning products and accessories, can be swapped within your sports team or club. You could also invite the teams in your league to participate for some pre-season socializing.
Office supplies: Fellow entrepreneurs can get together and trade supplies to get what they need: pens, markers, report covers, binders, even computers.
Hardware: If you have friends who are into building, have a hardware swap. Eliminate the nails, screws, hardware, lumber, and paint cluttering your garage or garden shed. You may get the items you need for that fix-it project.
Hobbies: Whether your hobby is rebuilding cars or scrapbooking, find a group of fellow enthusiasts and “swap ’till ya drop”!
Remember, it should be good stuff, good friends, and good fun at your party. With the extra items going to charity, it is also good for the community and the environment.