give and get: clothing swap how-to {reuse, recycle, refashion}

About twice a year I host a clothing swap. It’s one of the most fun events we do all season.

Why partake in a clothing swap?

  • It’s free
  • You purge the things from your closet that you never wear
  • You come home with new, fresh pieces to liven up your wardrobe
  • Always wanted a blazer/(insert some piece of clothing here) but never wanted to buy one because you didn’t know if you’d love it? You can now grab one for free, and see if you like it.
  • Take something you know you’ll only use for a season, or a pair of pants that will fit you for the interview you have next week, but you’ll only wear once.
  • Free. Free. Free.

The truth is, we  talk often about being good stewards of what we have. Here’s a practical step: simplify your closet and get a few new things for the season without spending a dime. in short: friends + friends’ friends + old clothes = new friends + new-to-you clothes

Sometimes you have this:

But you need this:

or this:

What’s a girl to do? Skip that trip to the stores to overhaul your wardrobe and clean out your closet instead. There are perfectly good clothes in there. I promise. You just don’t wear them because they don’t fit your body, your lifestyle, or your job right now. Bring them to a house with 30 other women and they’re bound to be the perfect piece for someone else.

So here’s what we do:

1. Plan a date and send an invitation that tells everyone to:

  • Clean out your closet* and bring your old/don’t fit/i-never-wear-this clothes/shoes/jewelry/purses.
  • Bring a bag or two so that you can haul away your new goodies.
  • Bring your friends. The more the merrier.
2. Host the event
  • First 30-40 minutes: Everyone can show up and grab a drink and a snack. Have designated ares in your home for tops/pants/dresses/accessories/shoes, etc. and have people lay their clothes out accordingly. We don’t categorize by size. Once everyone starts going through the clothes, it’s a mess and sizing gets rearranged, anyway.
  • Next 30-45 minutes: Go time! Everyone can dig through piles, start bagging what they want, and try things on. Have some mirrors around the house.
  • End: Have another snack, laugh, and go through piles one last time. As people try things on, items that didn’t work for them get thrown back in the mix and pay be perfect for someone else.
  • Later: Attendees get to go home and brag to husband/fiancee/roommate how they just got bags of fantastic clothing and accessories for free, AND got rid of the crap in their closets. Everyone is happy.

3. Donate what’s left. No clothes are lost or wasted, everything is reused and recycled. Everything finds a new home.

*And, attendees:
  • Have a ton of stuff and some of it is old tees? Bring all of it. We’ll have an embarrassing stuff/old t-shirts pile. Everything’s going to get donated anyway, so this saves you a trip to donate them (or if you’re like me, this saves you from carrying three bags of junk in your trunk for months before you finally take them to be donated).
  • Have nothing? Come anyway. Take freely. There will be plenty of things.

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