Monday, May 30, 2011

Clothing Swap Party Rules: Host Your Own!

One of the best ways to minimize expense and contributions to the growing piles of clothes in the landfills is to host a clothing swap party, or clothing exchange.   A clothing swap party is an informal get-together where people bring good quality clothes, shoes and accessories in wearable condition and agree to barter them one for one.  Host a clothing swap and everyone walks away with something they didn't have before without spending a cent out of pocket. So here are a few clothing swap party rules:

  • Everything should be washed, dry and in good repair.  If it is a dressy item, it should be ironed.  Small repair items like missing buttons are okay, and sometimes people will even swap things with broken zippers, but please don't bring items that are permanently out of shape, that have shot elastic, are stained or unrepairable, or that you wouldn't wear yourself.  I realize everyone has different standards, but I think we all understand what raggedy clothes look like.  Please don't bring those.
  • Shoes are fine, as long as they are clean and in good repair.  No nicked heels or shoes smelling badly, or stretched out.  Again, if you would purchase the items a certain condition then that is the condition they should be in for the swap.
  • Things like bathing suits, undergarments and socks are worn close to the body and there may be a limited market for these items in your group.  Some people are even squeamish about shoes, so please understand this going in so you don't end up offended.
  • High end items, and high quality items, often hold value well and are particularly prized at clothing swaps.
  • Make sure to clean out any pockets or pocketbooks before swapping.   It simplifies things later on.  If you have forgotten and left your library card in a raincoat you bartered to someone, it might be difficult to get it back.
  • Everyone has the right of refusal and it is not personal.   Please resist the temptation to 'sell' your stuff.  Just like browsing a store, the customer (swapper) has every right to not choose something belonging to another.  If you organize the swap well, everyone should find at something they like in another person's things.   
  • It's also okay to NOT do a one-to-one barter.  If someone likes something of yours and you don't mind giving it to that person, that's fine.  However, one-to-one barters should take precedence, in order to keep things as even as possible.  It depends on what your goal is for attending the swap.  If you just want to get rid of things, then that's okay.  If you want things back to take home, that are 'new to you', then bartering is a better method.
  • Items left over from the swap, unless the owners wish to take them back, can then be donated to a local charity shop or donation center.
It is pretty easy to organize a swap party if you follow these basic clothing swap rules.  Send out some invitations and  feel free to have fun.  Put out some sparkling water, juice and healthy snacks.  Some soft music on a CD player or IPod also helps break the ice.  I recommend inviting about 6-8 friends over and be sure to let them know what kind of clothing swap: men's, women's, childrens'.   Will there be accessories (belts, purses, shoes, scarves) included? Hosting a clothes swapping party is certainly an eco-friendly, productive and cheerful way of spending a weekend afternoon!   I love to swap my stuff!


Paul said...

Excellent article. You make hosting or attending a clothing swap party sound like good fun, as well as being useful from a practical point of view! :-)


xysea said...

Interesting article in The Guardian about clothing swaps and bartering instead of buying new...

And also something called 'swishing' that I'd never heard of! lol

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Hunterheatandair said...

It depends on what your goal is for attending the swap.
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