I just had my second clothing swap with friends last week. It is a lot of fun and a great way to recycle things you no longer want. It is also pretty satisfying to be able to "shop" for new (to you) clothes for free. I have been asked a lot how I do the shop and I thought I would share the details here.
Things you need:
Clothing racks to hang clothes on
A place to lay out purses, jewelry, etc...
A place for people to try on clothes (a full length mirror is nice if you have one).
I start out by coordinating the date and putting it on the calendar. It is good to give about one months notice for the swap since everyone will have to make time to go through their closets and possibly bring you the items before had. I use email to invite everyone. Evite would also work well. On the invite I include the date, time, location, and all of the details (rules of the shop). You can make the rules however you want them but here is an example of what we did for ours:
Bring nice clothing, shoes, jewelry or accessories that you no longer
want or wear. Bring clothing on hangers if at all possible. If you need
the hangers back put your name somewhere on them (masking tape and a sharpie works well). Clothing left over will
be donated to charity.
Please make sure the clothing is in good condition and it is something
that someone else would still be able to wear. If you are able to
bring things earlier than the swap that would be great! Each person will
be assigned a shopping number according to when they bring their stuff, so
the sooner the better. We will start "shopping" at 7:30 that evening. So
make sure to arrive right at 7 if you haven't brought your items before
then. Each person will be able to pick out 5 things and then, after
everyone has had a chance to shop, we will let everyone shop again.
I like having as many of the ladies that can drop off their items before hand so that I can sort out sizes and arrange everything before the event. If everyone brings their stuff all at once on the night of the swap it can get a little chaotic. As the ladies drop off their items in the weeks before the swap keep track of their names and assign them a number to shop. On the night of the event also keep track of who arrives with items and give them their number.
The more women you have show up the better the swap will be. So be sure to tell everyone to bring a friend and that you need ALL sizes. I have found that some women won't come if they don't think their size will be there and that makes perfect sense. So the bigger the invite list the better. That is unless all ten of your closest friends are all the same size.
I ask for volunteers to bring a drink or dessert and the ladies enjoy those while waiting for their turn to shop. The food can be as simple or elaborate as you choose.
Another idea I have thought about trying next time is to contact a makeup consultant (think Mary K., Arbonne, or Avon) and have them come and do make up application. Also, a massage therapist or nail artist to do quick massages or a nail treatment would be nice. You wouldn't have to pay them but it would be a great way for them to promote their services to a group of women all at once and I think the ladies would enjoy it.
A clothing swap is a great way to get together with friends and make some new ones in the process. It is lots of fun and a blessing at the same time. It is really worth the time and effort to put it together. Happy swapping!