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How to Host a Clothing Swap

March 01, 2022


Before we discuss HOW to host a clothing swap, let's define WHAT a clothing swap is! I have this pretty awesome friend (heyyy, Mer!) who hosted a clothing swap at her home 10 years ago and invited me to attend. This was my first ever clothing swap experience, and I was very confused. Basically, I was supposed to gather up any of my clothing that either didn’t fit or I was sick of wearing and bring to her house…and share? I had so many questions: Is this a garage sale? Do we get it back? Is there a limit on how much I can bring…how much I can take? 

I was hooked after that first swap. My sweet friend is a GENIUS. I know I love an excuse for a good girls’ night with snacks and drinks, and most of us have way too many clothes just taking up valuable hanger real estate that we don’t even think about wearing.


So let’s get down to the nitty-gritty details of how to host a clothing swap. We've made ours super casual and simple, but have heard of others who go into more specific qualifications and maybe even a fee up front. 

Here’s my clothing swap checklist to get started:

  • Host Home
  • Date/Time
  • Invitation
  • Food/Drink
  • Donation/Action Plan for Leftovers

    First, you need to find a hostess who will open her home to people bringing in LOTS of clothing. Generally, the hostess is responsible for helping transport the remaining clothes to their donation destination post-swap, but we try to pitch in if we can. 


    Second, pick a date/time that most of your friends can attend. The swap works better if you’ve got a good group contributing to the swap piles. If you’ve only got 3 people interested, give it a shot and see how it goes! Our motto is the more the merrier! 


    Next, designate someone to put together an invitation with details of what the swap entails. We usually rely on an electronic version of an invitation using Paperless Post, and we send it out anywhere from 2 weeks - a month in advance to give people time to gather their swap stash. Here’s some sample wording from our clothing swap queen bee, Meridith, to give you an example of what we say:

    “It’s time to clean out your closet. Bring any clothes, shoes, accessories, purses or jewelry that you don’t wear anymore and swap them for something new (well, new to you). Don’t have anything to bring? Come anyways and find something you like, you don’t have to give something to take something. Don’t want to fill your closet back up? Drop off your clothes for others to take. All swapping will be done for free, so if you can’t part with it, don’t bring it.  At the end, anything that wasn’t swapped will be donated. Please feel free to pass this invite along to anyone you think might be interested in joining us. The more people we have, the more we have to swap!”


    The next step is to designate who will bring food/drink. It’s important to us to keep ours so simple, since these are usually weeknight events and most of us have small children. Usually, we divvy up these duties between 2-3 people, and we end up with some savory and some sweet eats along with wine and sparkly water. Keep. It. Simple. 


    Finally, to round out our checklist, we would highly recommend having an action plan in place with the leftover clothes before you host the party. Even though we’ve been doing this for several years now, we’re always blown away by the sheer volume of clothes contributed and then left over. We’ve done a variety of different donation drop-offs in the past, but we try to make sure we're intentionally donating these clothes where they're needed. Some local (San Antonio, TX) options for us include: Restoration Closet, Revolution Thrift and some of our local school district's clothing closets. Another idea would be to take items to a local buy/sell/trade store and donate the money earned to a local non-profit. 


    What to do with that top I’ve worn over and over again and is in great condition but absolutely cannot wear it one more time? 

    Bring it to the clothing swap! 


    What do to with that pair of shoes you bought because they were on sale and your foot just barely squeezes into them so you’ve only worn them once?

    Bring them to the clothing swap!


    What to do with that non-maternity dress that you stretched to make fit your baby bump and don’t think you’ll ever want to see it again? 

    Bring it to the clothing swap!


    If you really think about this, the possibilities are endless! We’ve incorporated our husbands’ clothes, kids’ clothes, jewelry, shoes, accessories, you name it - into our swap. The majority of swap attendees leave with a few new items to add to their wardrobe.


    It just makes sense! In a world of fast fashion and keeping up with the Instagram and Pinterest trends that are always changing, it just makes so much sense to me to share what you have with your friends! There are so many articles of clothing I’ve donated throughout my life that are perfectly on trend and in great condition, but I just got sick of wearing them. Why not share? 

    As I mentioned before, it’s also a good way to try out different styles you may not have wanted to spend money on in the store. 


    Go forth and swap, my friends! It’s so easy and SO. MUCH. FUN! We’ve made it a semi-annual thing around here, and we all look forward to swap time. Pick a hostess, nail down a date, send an e-vite, arrange a few snacks, have an intentional donation plan post-swap and have fun sharing your closets with each other! Let us know if you decide to swap. We want to hear all about it!
    How to Host a Clothing Swap

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