The Clothing Swap is a fabulous way to enjoy a Saturday morning with friends, and scoop up some terrific new wardrobe pieces, all for free.
Invite ten to twelve friends to a Saturday morning Clothes Swap. Choose friends of all shapes and sizes. Most people bring clothes that don’t fit them, anyway. Place the invitation on Facebook with an RSVP function, or send out the more traditional invitations via email or snail mail.
The invitations should instruct each participant to bring at least 10 garments they no longer want. These items should be in good condition with no holes or stains. All the clothes should be freshly washed.
A sample invitation might look like this:
What: Clothing Swap
Where: 624 Laurel Street, Whitman (Carol Wright’s house)
When: Saturday, January 1, 2020, 10:00 A.M. to Noon
There will be: Coffee, Tea, Fruit, Biscotti
Please Bring: 10 or more items you no longer want (tops, pants, suits, dresses, scarves, hats, belts, coats, jackets, pajamas, sportswear, lounge wear, robes, formal wear, etc). Please only bring items in good condition that can be worn by someone else. Freshly washed clothing of any season is welcome. All leftover clothes will be donated to charity.
RSVP or Questions: Call 555-555-5555, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Preparing the House
Clear everything out of your living room or push everything to the walls, creating a nice big clearing. Bring in the full-length mirror from your bedroom, or clear the pathway to the full length mirror(s) in your home.
You may use the living room as a big dressing room, and advise shy guests to wear bodysuits or bathing suits. Or you may supply dressing rooms by way of bathrooms and bedrooms. Or you can hang a sheet from a curtain rod and make a dressing room in a corner of the living room.
Recommended: coffee, tea, fruit salad, maybe biscotti. It’s a good idea not to serve food or drink that can bloat your guests, who will be trying on clothes. Light refreshments are best for a positive experience for everyone. If you want to give the refreshments a bigger role, ask your guests to bring their favorite diet snacks (yogurt dips, celery and cottage cheese, etc) potluck fashion.
Upbeat, disco is good. Some fashion runway favorites: Supermodel (RuPaul), Vogue (Madonna), I’m Too Sexy (right Said Fred), That’s Not My Name (the Ting Tings), Hips Don’t Lie (Shakira/Wyclef Jean), Good Vibrations (Marky Mark), etc.
If you have a big clothes rack you can put in the middle of the living room, great. Set up a card table for those items not on hangers, and the rest hang on the clothes rack.
If you do not have a clothes rack, set up several card tables with labels: “TOPS”, “BOTTOMS”, “OTHER”. The guests should sort the clothes among the tables when they arrive.
Once all your guests have arrived, each guest draws a number from a hat which indicates the order they will choose the items they want to take home.
After 10-15 minutes of examining and trying on clothing, the swap can begin (you can wait until everybody agrees to begin). Number “1” chooses her item, then number “2”, and so on. Meanwhile, the examining of clothes, and the trying-on of clothes, continues.
If you think there is a chance the guests will be too slow, bring a kitchen timer and give each guest a limit of 3 minutes until the next person can go. If a person isn’t ready to choose, they are skipped until the next time around.
Eventually people will start “passing” on their turns, as the choices dwindle down. When the last choice is made, and nobody wants anything that is left, explain that you will be bagging the remaining clothes and taking the bags to a “Planet Aid” or “Salvation Army” drop box. Tell them to take what they want now, “Last Call”.
It is recommended you immediately put the remaining clothes in garbage bags and put them in the trunk of your car, or somewhere out of sight. This way you have disposed of the clutter, also your guests can continue enjoying the gathering, without the sight of unwanted items causing any hurt feelings or buyer’s remorse (it’s all free, after all).