Over the weekend, I hosted a swap party. Not a key party, you weirdos! You’d be surprised by the number of people who inquired about what we were swapping. Ew. It’s definitely not that kind of party.
The premise of a swap party is to get rid of old stuff that is in good condition, but that you are just done using. I’ve been to clothing-only ones before, but I encouraged my guests to bring clothes, books, accessories and kitchen stuff they weren’t using. Everyone comes and trades and then, the leftovers go to charity! It’s simple and fun, and a totally great premise for getting the girls together for something different. It also gave me reason to purge my closet, kitchen and book shelf. My house hasn’t been this organized in months!
My swap pile…
I’d also HIGHLY recommend this to those of you that are also losing weight. I am between sizes right now, and I scored a bunch of stuff that is in my current size, without dropping a ton of money on the “in between” stage. In a few months, when I need to go down to an even smaller size, I’ll feel no guilt over swapping or donating these clothes, because they were free. Such a win! I wound up with a few pairs of dress pants, some running/yoga clothes, a fancy dress, some jewelry, two belts, two purses, a skirt and two sweaters, and this totally awesome lunch tote/Tupperware situation that I am ridiculously excited about. ALL FREE. What can I say? I’m fortunate enough to have some really, really stylish friends.
Here are my best tips if you want to have a party of your own! Keep in mind that my party was small, but you could totally do this on a grand scale and it would be awesome.
- Have an easy access area. We used my front room, which has a long table in it, and did some easy sorting of clothing. Again, my party was smallish, so we didn’t need tons of room. I’d also suggest making sure that the table can be accessed from all sides.
- Organize accessories. I brought out a jewelry tree so we could easily hang necklaces, earrings, etc. It made looking through baubles a lot easier.
- Sleeper hit: magazines! Get creative! I had a ton of magazines that I was done with or wasn’t going to read. I put them out and they were gone in a flash! Get creative about what you bring!
- Use rules…maybe: My group was small and civil — no cat fights! I really loved Marta’s brilliant post about her HUGE swap party, in which she’d planned on using tickets (i.e. if you bring 10 things, you get 10 tickets). She ended up using a number system, where three people browsed at a time and could each select one item. With the small group we had, it was unnecessary, but I can see how things would get crazy.
- Keep it simple. You could get really elaborate with signs and tags and all that jazz, but my party was literally stress free. We laid things out, we swapped at leisure, friends ran into my bathroom to try things on in front of the full-length mirror, we ate off of paper plates because I’m fancy like that. All told, set-up and clean-up took an hour. Boom.
- Swap snacks! I asked my guests to bring a snack to share. Truth be told, we spent much more time snacking and talking then we did on swapping. It was pretty awesome. Friends brought bread, cheese, coconut milk ice cream, edamame, kale and veggie chips…it was quite a spread! I got veggies and hummus, some wine and made this AMAZING Joy The Baker Simple Vegan Chocolate Cake:
Post-party, it took me all of 15 minutes to bag up the remaining clothes and books. Easy-peasy. It felt great to have a sweet little donation for charity as a result of a fun night.
I highly recommend hosting one of these among your group of friends. And if you’re local, invite me! I’ll bring the cake and a ton of good books.