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How to Host a Clothing Swap

How to Host a Clothing Swap

Hi guys!  Heather here with a loose guide on how to throw your own clothing swap.  If you are participating in our Year of Enough Challenge, you may find this particularly intriguing if you want to stick to the challenge, but are looking for some "new to you" pieces for your closet.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with a clothing swap, it's exactly what it sounds like: an event where you invite people to come together and swap clothes.  What I'm going to tell you is what we tell all our listeners; the rules are up to you, but here is what WE did.  Hopefully you'll find some value in my recipe for a successful clothing swap and be inspired to host your own.  It's a great way to get new pieces without spending any money, to give clothing a new life cycle, and to mingle with friends.  Here are my suggestions on how to do a simple clothing swap.


1. Find a friend or friends to help you.

As with many things in life, I found that hosting a clothing swap was more fun and less overwhelming having at least one friend helping me.  I think one or two friends is plenty; much more than that and you'd have too many cooks in the kitchen!  My friend Gabi (who has also been featured on our blog) loves being involved in our community, is great at graphic design and just fun to be around.  I love to host and am starting to develop a passion for slow fashion, so doing this with her was perfect.  She made cute little graphics for social media and knew which niche's to reach out to.  I offered up coordinating the venue and helped spread the excitement.  However you decide to follow through with your plan to have a clothing swap, having a friend to help makes it way more fun and easy.

2. Choose a venue (and a plan B!)

Venue sounds like a fancy pants word, but the venue could be a simple as your own home.  We had actually reserved the local fire station because a) it was free and b) it was roomy and c) everyone knows where it is.  Whatever you decide, just make sure you'll have enough room to organize the clothing with room for people to sift and socialize.   But having a plan B is not a bad idea!  Due to a clerical error not on our part, the room was double booked the night of the event! So we quickly came up with a plan B and had it and my home instead.  It all worked out!

3. Decide what and how much people can bring

You want people to come to your swap, have fun, and walk away with a few "new to them pieces."  You DON'T want your venue to become a dumping ground for clothes that have been eaten up by moths in people's basement for years.  Giving peel a limit to how many items people can bring is a good idea.  Setting expectations for clothing condition is also a good idea.   Our main focus was to have women's clothing, but we also allowed people to bring a few kids items if they wished.  The main thing is, make the main event clear and set limits on the quantity of clothing.

4. Keep it Simple

For a long time, I wanted to do a clothing swap, but I thought it would be too much work.  I think I originally envisioned something like a consignment sale with nightmares of tagging and pricing and organizing...oh my!  With a clothing swap, there is no need to make it that complicated.  We didn't tag or hang items.  We simply organized clothing by size as people came in and that was that.  You make your own rules.  

5. Consider Donating The Leftovers

For our clothing swap, we offered to donate the leftover items to a local charitable organization.  This was a great idea on Gabi's part, for three reasons:  1) People felt good about where there extra clothes were going, 2) People could truly clean out their closets; they didn't have to worry about shlepping a bunch of unwanted clothes back home and the best part, 3) They didn't have to do it themselves! 


There you have it!  These are my 5 tips for organizing your own clothing swap.  I hope your main take-a-ways are to keep it simple and to make your own rules.  Have you ever hosted or attended a clothing swap?  What did you like about it?  We'd love to hear your experiences!

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