Maybe you've heard the buzz surrounding the genius and fun idea that is the Swap Party and would like to find out more, or..
You have a pile of clothes that you've decided are *too nice to donate to Goodwill, but not nice enough to take up precious closet space and you're wondering what to do with them.
Either way - you've come to the right place.
For those of you also asking yourselves what to do with those too-nice-for-Goodwill clothes, here's your answer - host a swap party. It's easy, fun and best of all.. everyone leaves happy. In my experience anyway.
Step #1: Pick a place.
The location of your party should be somewhere that is geographically convenient to those who are attending. It should have a good place (or even a few good places) to lay and/or hang the clothes. It doesn't even have to be held in someone's home. If there simply isn't enough space (NYC apartment dwellers for example), you can always contact a local community center, church or restaurant and see if you can rent a room.
Step #2: Be inclusive.
Don't limit your guest list to people with a certain style, a certain age or size. Even people of a smaller size may like the look or fit of a large sized item. Besides, a purse or pair of sunglasses will fit any sizes. Let people people bring friends and have a 'the more the merrier' attitude and invite everyone. Even if they don't consider themselves a 'clothes lover', they still wear clothes, so may be interested.
Step #3: Keep a count.
Both facebook and Evite are convenient tools for getting a general idea of how many people will be attending. On the day of the event, you don't want to be surprised ("Not only did I bring my famous pasta salad, I also brought my cousin X and her best friend Y and her sister-in-law Z"..) you get the picture.
Step #4: Decide on formality.
Your swap can be done with an organized system or it can be a crazy free-for-all. I've been to both types of swap parties and both are fun. If you're going to go with a more formal, organized approach, let your guests know (i.e: "Everyone should bring at least 10 good quality items" vs. "Bring whatever you want to get rid of").
Another aspect of formality are the rules and order (or lack there of). At one recent swap I attended, everyone chose a number out of a basket and took turns picking an item. After a few rounds of going 1-12, we switched it up a little bit by going 12-1, #'s 3, 5 and 7 at one time, etc. This was a great system when there was 12 attendees. I've also been to swaps with 30+ people (all arriving at different times), which would have made staying organized tricky. A big deciding factor on formality is the size of your invite list and the location of the party.
One option is to contain your swap to one room and have the clothes set up on tables, couches or other furniture. Another option (if you have a lot of guests and a lot of items) is spreading out. The swaps that my sister-in-law hosts happens not only in the house but also in the backyard and/or front porch.
One room option:
Clothes line in the backyard (because you ran out of surfaces to hang clothes inside) option:
Step #5: Organize the items
All of the swaps I've attended have had this in common - as attendees arrive, they place their items in designated spaces. For example, skirts hanging outside, shoes & accessories by the fireplace, sweaters stacked on the couch, etc.
It doesn't have to be perfect, things will get jumbled.
Below are some pictures that show how items can be separated and displayed.
Stack of pants..
Warm weather tops:
Stack of sweaters..
Other swap options and ideas:
*Have guests bring food/drinks to share:
*Have an area set up with mirrors where attendees can try on items (a spare bedroom, etc.).
*Make it a co-ed event and have Men's items as well.
*Instead of attendees taking home things that don't get picked up, donate extras to Goodwill, a local shelter, or other charitable organization.
So there you have it. I hope this will help inspire you to have your own swap party!
.. Invitation ..
Live in/willing to travel to/visiting Northeast Ohio and interested in joining an upcoming swap party?
Email me :)
* Truthfully speaking, nothing is "too good" for Goodwill. I love their mission and fully support donating to them or other charities. We just want first dibs on your giveaway items.. is that so wrong?