If you have never been to a swap party, here’s a solid life tip for you: Go to one. Or host one. Because what will happen is you will clear out all that stuff in your closet that you don’t actually wear, and possibly replace it with stuff that you will.
But throwing a swap party isn’t actually as simple as “invite people over and let them trade stuff” – it works much better if a little organization is involved. When faced with the prospect of owning cashmere sweatshirts and designer bags that they do not have to pay for, people tend to do better with a few rules.
These are mine.
1. Invite 5-10 friends with arguably similar taste (any more gets to be a little overwheming), and ask each guest to bring a bag of clothing and/or accessories that they wouldn’t mind parting with (and that are clean and in good condition).
2. Set out display areas for the clothing (hanging racks, tables, etc).
3. When guests arrive, give them one token (you can use anything) for each item that they donated: these tokens are what each person a token for each of the items she donates (so if she brings ten items, she gets ten tokens, and so on). let everyone do a pre-swap perusal.
4. Have everyone pull a number from a bowl. The first person shops first, the second shops next, and so on. Repeat as needed, with the caveat that each person can only shop for as many items as they have tokens (so everyone goes home with the same number of items they donated).
When the party is over, send remaining items to Goodwill (call 800-664-577 to find out whether pickup services are available in your area). Interview-appropriate pieces can go to Dress for Success, and children’s items can go to Newborns In Need.