What is a clothing swap anyway? Before I attended my first swap I had envisioned women trading the shirts off their back which was not my cup of tea. The reality is that a clothing swap is a great way to get rid of old stuff, toys, shoes, clothing and books and get new stuff for free. It is good for the bank, good for the environment and a great social activity for meeting new people. With the recession in full swing, people are looking for quality alternatives to acquiring costly new things. Hosting a swap or attending one is the new version of shopping at the mall with your friends. Read on for how to host your own swap or what to bring to your friends.
How a clothing swap works
A swap is not a one for one exchange for an exact item like some may think. You can show up with as much or as little as you want and trade a shirt for pants, shoes for books etc. The point of a swap is to get rid of things you no longer want. It is a good thing to show up with a few items and take away twice as much as you came with. That way there is less to donate in the end. You can even show up empty handed and take things if you like.
Large swaps held at community centers or parks usually have areas where different items are laid out. When you show up with your items, divide them out on the tables set out and start shopping. Try on what you want, let your kids play with toys or books and take what you like. Everyone will be doing a similar thing so there is no pressure to take anything in particular. A less formal swap at a friend’s house can be laid out in a similar way with tables of pants, shirts, accessories, etc. Again, the point is to get rid of stuff so you can get new stuff. Even if you take less than you give, it is still a good thing.
When you attend a clothing or toy swap make sure to bring our own bags for your items and possibly a small mirror to check yourself out with.
How to host a clothing or toy swap
To host a successful clothing swap all you really need is an open room with a few tables. Lie out and label different areas so that guests can rummage freely. The more they can see the more they will swap. As the host you will also have to arrange for the donation of leftovers after the swap. Pick one of your favorite charities and make sure that you meet their criteria for donating. If you are hosting at your home, have your guests BYOB and provide some light fare for them to snack on while they shop. A swap is such a fun and social event to host, you are sure to be the talk of your circle of friends.
Whether you are hosting your own or just attending, be sure to take quality clean items to swap with others. Involving yourself in a swap is a great green way to get some new things into your life that won’t cost you a dime.