Host a Sweater Swap for a "New" Winter Wardrobe

January 01, 2015
So, you’ve got the winter wardrobe blues but all the stores have moved on to swimming suits and dresses (despite it still being way too cold for that). Enter the swap-party—the answer to all of your needs! It’s economical—you pay for “new” clothes by trading in your own. It’s motivating—you have to clean out your closet before you add new items. It’s eco-friendly—nothing gets thrown out. And it’s just plain fun! If you’ve been eyeing your friend’s green sweater, now’s the time to grab it!

Invite the goods

You’ve decided to have a clothes swap. Now you just need people to swap with! Make sure to give your friends at least 2 weeks to sift through their belongings. If they don’t know what a swap party is, spell out the rules in the simplest way possible. If you’re going with a theme—like winter clothes only, or kitchen appliances please, or a free-for-all—make sure to include that as well. Or just use our downloadable invites — they’ve got the rules and they’re cute!

Swap what’s swapworthy

When you invite your guests, be sure to include some parameters. Bring only what you would want to wear. If you wouldn’t wear that 6-year old sweater with armpit holes, chances are your friends won’t either. That being said, if you’ve got a newer item with a hole and you know your sew-friendly friend might want to fix it, then bring it!

Color-coded currency

Your money isn’t good here! But your stickers are! To ensure guests can claim the items they want, give everyone a designated color sticker. When they see what they want, they can just stick it on. And if people want to negotiate, they’ll know who to find.

How to swap

There a few different swap systems. Figure out what works best for your guests, as well as the number of items you’re working with, and go from there:

Pick a number:

Have your guests pick numbers from a Ziploc® brand container and follow that order—#1 gets first pick, etc. Limit the number of items a person can choose per round (3 tends to be a good number). If you want to build in a negotiation round after everyone has gone—that’s up to you.

Bring more, get more:

Guests get to take home the same amount of what they want. If someone brought ten items, then they get ten stickers. All’s fair in the swap game.

Everyone brings home the same amount:

Based on the overall amount of goods brought, choose a number of items that everyone can take home. Your guests don’t have to match that item, but they can’t go over. Whatever’s left gets donated to charity.

Set up stations

To avoid turning your living room into a clutter parade, designate different stations for different goods. Tops, bottoms, jewelry, shoes, purses, etc. If you’re opening the swap up to more than clothes, designate “room” stations—kitchen appliances, bedroom decor, home office stuff, books—and organize within your stations by size, color, etc. 

Donate the rest

If you’re left with some unclaimed items, that’s great! Donation centers are always looking for clothes, appliances, and baby gear. Look online to find a good home for your gently used leftovers. 
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