Fact: Quality, ethically-produced clothing can be expensive, while cheaper clothing–a.k.a. “fast fashion”–has a serious environmental impact. Also fact: Fashion is fun and a way to express yourself.
Adding those facts up can lead to a dilemma: How do you look amazing while saving your cash and the planet? Easy solutions include vintage shops, second-hand stores, and my favorite… clothing swaps.
Clothing swaps are fabulous for three reasons:
- You get to clear out your closet of the things that no longer bring you joy.
- You get a super cute (and free!) new wardrobe.
- You get to hang out with your friends and what’s better than friendship? Nothing!
See? They’re seriously the best. And they’re easy to organize, too! Here’s a step-by-step guide to making a clothing swap happen:
Find a location
All you need is a space with room to display the clothes and an area for people to change. Depending on the needs of your group, you could do it at someone’s home, a local community center, a library (lots of libraries let you reserve rooms for free!), or even a park (as long as people are willing to try clothes on over what they’re currently wearing or run to the bathroom to change).
Invite your friends and ask them to invite their friends
Tell everyone to bring clean clothes in good condition, and whatever else you want to swap—accessories, shoes, etc. Decide if you want to allow people to bring whatever they want, or if you want to put a cap on the number of items. It’s up to you, and dependent on the size of your group and space.
Serve snacks and drinks
This isn’t something everyone thinks of, but having some treats fosters a sense of community and a festive atmosphere, and gets people to stick around longer. Plus, it’s delicious! Self-contained finger foods are best, because you don’t want to get too messy around all the cute clothes.
Have the right supplies
Bring a full-length mirror or two, hangers and clothing lines, and boxes. It’ll make things easier the day-of if you have a few simple items to help with organization.
When people arrive, have everyone sort their clothes into different piles — skirts, dresses, pants, accessories, etc. There are a few different methods for swapping, but I like having everyone take turns choosing items. So, the first person picks something, and then the second person, etc. And then back to the beginning. Another option is to decide that everyone comes and leaves with the same amount of things (so if you bring ten items to swap, you leave with 10 items). Or you could do it as a free-for-all. You know your friends best, so decide on a strategy and go for it.
Donate the leftover clothing
Arrange ahead of time for someone to take all the extras to a nearby charity. Not only will you leave the sale with a fantastic new wardrobe, but you’ll be helping people in need at the same time. Win-win!