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Clean out your Closet with a Wardrobe Exchange

Need a good excuse to get together with your favorite girlfriends, neighbors or classmates while sipping on lattes and eating cupcakes?  Why not arrange or host a clothing swap party!  This is a great way to clean out your closet and shop for free while spending time with your friends.  Clothing swap parties provide an array of garments, shoes, accessories and sweet tasty treats while you browse your friends discarded wardrobe.  Relax, mingle, and exchange the things you no longer wear or have a need for.  Clothing swaps are changing America’s approach to fashion one closet at a time. 

Fall or winter is a great time to clean out your closet.  Warm clothes and bulky sweaters take up a lot of closet space.  Our image consultants and wardrobe consultants all agree that a clean closet helps people manage their wardrobe and alleviates stress caused by clutter.  Prior to the wardrobe exchange, take all your winter wear and accessories out of storage and place them on the bed.  Boots, hats, coats, gloves, scarves, sweaters and anything else that you have not worn in over a year is fair game to exchange. Perform a quick audit and get rid of anything that is damaged, worn, stained or faded.  Out with the old will help to make room for  new clothes you retrieve at the clothing swap.  Try not to be judgmental about your garments; chances are you bought it for a reason and someone else might see it as gold.  When you wear the same the items over and over again it loses novelty.  I once gave a girlfriend a bin full of clothes that I no longer wore.  She came over and went through the bin with great excitement and anticipation.  When she pulled out a pair of pants sitting on top she said, "Are you sure you want to get rid of these?”  The only thing I could think of while looking at the pants was the history they had. I had wore them so many times that the very thought of them made me ill.  I agreed, “Yes, I am sure.”  She grabbed them quickly and put them aside as if I would change my mind at any second.  I quickly realized that all of these clothes were brand new to her and I was proud to help her shop through my old wardrobe.

For a successful clothing swap, it is essential to invite friends that share similar sizes.  When our image consultants arranged an exchange in New York, we had friends bring more friends.  The array of sizes was plentiful as were the participants, which made for a successful swap.  If you decide to host a swap at your house it is better to have things that will make for an equal exchange within your group.  You don’t want people to leave empty handed and you will need to ensure a happy shopping experience.  Be sure to tell your guests that the swap is seasonal, for example; if you have a clothing swap for fall make sure everyone brings cold weather clothes.  Many people have so much fun and success that they decide to have swaps every season.  Ultimately, it is better to focus on one season at time to maintain structure and organization.  Have each guest fill up a garbage bag of clothing that they don't want anymore.  they will bring this to your house where all the bags form guests will be dumped out and organized into the following piles.

  • Pants
  • Tops
  • Blouses
  • Dresses
  • skirts
  • Sweaters
  • Coats
  • Shoes
  • Soft Accessories : gloves, scarves, hats, etc..
  • Accessories : jewelry, bags, belts, etc..

Arrange the piles neatly in a separate room where your guests can easily maneuver the clothing.  Our image consultants recommend that each person bring a snack.  Cupcakes, Cookies, Lattes, Champagne, Mimosas or whatever you decide will be suitable treats for your guests.  It is a good idea to have empty shopping bags on hand or ask your guests to bring some.  Brown grocery bags usually work pretty well too.  You can put a personal spin on your clothing swap but essentially everyone who comes with a bag full of clothes gets to shop the piles and should leave will a shopping bag full of swapped garments.  The only rule is: Everyone has to try the item on!  This allows people to choose items that will fit them and prevents them from discarded the garment once they get home because it doesn’t fit.  Throwing clothing in the trash is not necessarily the best option for the environment.  Recycling clothing through friends helps to keep the environment green and helps you save green at the same time.  Whatever is left over at the end of the clothing swap can be donated to a local shelter. 

To organize a successful clothing exchange, our image consultants have provided 6 easy steps to get you started:

  1. Invite your friends and ask them to bring 1 or 2 people
  2. Aim for similar shapes and sizes
  3. Have a separate room for changing or trying on garments
  4. If someone is having second thoughts about their donation, allow them to speak up once the item is claimed.
  5. Keep the clothing swap seasonal
  6. If two people want the same item, have each on model the garment and let everyone vote.  This will add some extra fun to your event.

There is nothing to lose when you host or arrange a clothing swap. It doesn’t cost anything and is a great way to pass time and have fun with friends.  You will be surprised when you find some amazing garments and probably wonder why your friend was willing to part with her cashmere sweater.  The clothing that is exchanged also carries a special significance amongst your friends.  You may wind up with a friends dress that once belonged to her mother or necklace that was once was her grandmothers.  Unknowingly, you take part in sharing the novelty and history of your friend’s wardrobe.  You will often see your friends and notice the clothing they have on once belonged to you.  Sometimes your clothes often look better on other people and vice versa. So before you dumped your clothes off at the local goodwill, think of your friends and arrange a free shopping day of fun with a clothing swap!




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