This is a guest post from a dear friend from college, Meg Willett. I was intrigued when she told me about this idea and thrilled when she agreed to write about it to share with all of you!
I love the Clothes Swap idea she presents here. Not only can you get rid of what you no longer want, but you can also acquire new-to-you clothes (if you would like) second-hand, therefore reducing waste. Plus, they took donations for a charity of their choice instead of payment. A true win all around!
Thank you for sharing this awesome idea with us, Meg!
With purging clothes, it should be all the same: if it doesn’t work for you or give you joy, get rid of it. But I’ll admit, it is much easier for me to get rid of the shirt that I bought half-off from an outlet store than the more expensive piece I paid full-price for. Hopefully I’ll get to the point where I can be more ruthless, but right now I need nudges—and hosting a clothes swap was the perfect nudge.
I moved to Iowa City in the summer for my husband’s residency. There is a wonderful group of resident/fellow significant others. Everyone is on a budget, so we try to plan lots of outings and get-togethers for free (or cheap). A clothes swap seemed like a natural fit for this group too.
People dropped off clothes and accessories the week before the event. I sorted everything by category and size (my 3-year old loved helping!), and four rooms in my house transformed into a makeshift store. I chose to have the swap on a Saturday morning as a drop-by anytime set-up with muffins and coffee. My mom has participated in a few in the evenings with wine and appetizers (this is definitely about socializing too—something I’ve been in need of with a new baby in an Iowa winter).
Six people contributed items—not as many as I had anticipated but thank goodness it wasn’t more because each really went through her closet. There were shirts, dresses, pants, jeans, skirts, shoes, jackets, purses, leggings and swimsuits for the taking. Eight people came by for the swap. Exercise clothes were a surprising big hit (and actually the only two items I kept for myself), but a little of everything disappeared. It was a lot of fun to see people try things on and leave excited.
You can do a swap without any money involved. I suggested a donation of $1-2 an item to go toward the children’s hospital here. I think it could be fun to up that amount among a group of friends and use it toward a girls’ night out. My mom’s friends have done it where everything was the same price and where the host decided the amount depending on the quality (too much work for me!).
We had a ton of extra clothes. I had planned on dropping them all off at Goodwill but another member volunteered to try to sell a few items at a secondhand store to raise more money for the hospital (and the rest were donated). Either way you do it, you are giving your friends or fellow group members a wonderful opportunity to get rid of items that they have probably been meaning to for a long time.
I can’t think of the number of times a friend has mentioned she has gotten rid of a bunch of clothes and I’ve wished I could have had a look first. I wonder why I didn’t start this sooner!
After one successful event, there is talk about doing swaps next for men and kids clothing. And that $120+ Anthrolopogie dress that I wore my wedding weekend (it didn’t fit correctly even then)…I’m proud to say I will no longer have conflicted thoughts when I see it in my closet and instead will find joy in knowing that it now belongs to a friend.
Any local friends interested in participating in one? I will gladly host if so! Just let me know!