In January 2020 (aka pre-pandemic) my neighbor invited me to my first clothes swap! The invitation motivated me to clean out my closet and dresser.
My dream goal: become a minimalist.
My realistic goal: to quickly and easily find something to wear without shuffling through too-small jeans, maternity shirts, and pre-kid dresses.
I was five months postpartum and was so ready to have some new pieces in my wardrobe but not ready to spend money on clothes I knew I wouldn’t wear for long (as I was slowly loosing the baby weight). By the end of the week, I had a nice haul to bring to the swap party, and my shirts were folded Marie Kondo style in my drawers (I highly recommend trying this).
Friday night, I arrived with my two garbage bags of clothes to donate or swap along with a simple, Southern appetizer of cream cheese, red pepper jelly, crackers, and a bottle of wine. As I looked around, I realized that I looked like a novice clothes swapper as most of the other guests had brought their clothes in luggage. Some women looked like they were packed to travel abroad and others just had a reusable shopping bag with just a few items. I poured myself a glass of wine. This seemed like it would be a fun night and just what I needed!
Having a decent wardrobe can be challenging for moms for several reasons, especially if your kids are still young. Your body has been stretched through pregnancy and then deflated. Tops and dresses need to be nursing-friendly, easily cleaned, and can withstand the dryer in case you forget to hang dry; and you WILL forget! Shopping with young kids is always an adventure, especially when you are unsure of your current size and need to head to the dressing room. Online shopping is the easiest; however, returns can be a pain if things don’t fit.
Here Enters the Clothes Swap Party!
Your closet is cleaned out, you can get together with friends, have some wine and snacks, and donate to a good cause while leaving with new (to you) clothes, accessories, and shoes. I can’t think of a better win-win! This is especially exciting when you have a stylish group of friends to invite!
Here are three tips on how you can host your own awesome clothes swap party:
1. Consider your Guests
Your guests will be swapping and trying on new outfits, so you want to make sure everyone will have some clothes that fit them. Decide your size range and invite accordingly so no one feels left out.
2. Decide the Swap Rules
Some clothes swaps have each guest display their clothes like a boutique so guests can browse through racks of clothes and try on what they like. The clothes swap I attended had everyone sit in a circle and each person would stand up and show each piece. The first to raise their hand and claim an article of clothing got it to try on at the break (there were three or four “try-on” breaks). The shoes and accessories were displayed on a table nearby and were free to whoever wanted them. Anything unclaimed would go in a pile in the middle of the room to be donated.
Choose a charity to donate the leftover clothes. The clothes from the swap party I went to were donated to Florence Crittenton which “provides housing, medical care, and education, and other services to pregnant, parenting, and at-risk young women.” My Sister’s House would be another great charity. Make sure your guests know that any clothes that are not rehomed will be donated and to make sure clothes brought to the swap are in good quality.