Activity #46: Host a clothing swap party

by Heather Flett on November 14, 2011

in Crafty,Free/Cheap,Indoors,Mommy,Moms Night In,Month 10

Nine months on, nine months off? Something like that.

Your 46th weekly challenge is to obtain some new-to-you clothes that you’ll enjoy along with an afternoon of girlfriend hilarity all for the cost of some cucumber-scented spa water. The end of the year is a perfect time to plan a clothing swap.

Whitney totally hates this photo series but I love it. To be fair, she was trying on outfits from the “pass-through” pile.

We’ve mentioned this idea here and there, but here are the instructions for how to throw a clothing swap on your own.

I have hosted no fewer than nine clothing swaps with my stylish friends and spawned at least three known copycats. For the record, this is better as a a no-kids-allowed event (or just pre-crawlers), so let Daddy take the bambino out for a hike while you get some well-deserved girlfriend-time. The whole event can take less than two hours.

Here’s the step-by-step to planning and hosting:
(kind of long, but I want to make it mindless for you)

  1. Stake out a day. Work with your partner or a babysitter to find a good day for the swap. Plan around naps and try to avoid mealtime so that you are not trying to be Martha Stewart while you are running around your living room half-naked.
  2. Invite the ladies. Send out an evite to all your potentially willing friends.
  3. Purge. Set aside a good hour and clean out your closet of stuff you haven’t worn in a year or wouldn’t want to wear right now even if the proper situation presented itself. Be brutal. If you’re feeling those flipping annoying post-partum body issues, get a good friend to help. (Do your marriage the small favor of not asking your husband if your “butt looks big in this” because it probably does!)
  4. Merchandise. Clean and fold the things for the swap. Bust out the iron even. Create a separate bag of clothes so ugly you’d be embarrassed for your friends to see (stained t-shirts for instance) — these can go in the pass-through pile (modeled by Whitney as “Before”)
  5. Think about how you’ll set up your space for the event. Is there a mirror handy in the living room or will you have to tidy up your room too? Is there space for hanging clothes? If you have room to “merchandise” your stuff, it is a little more fun to “shop”.
  6. Make little signs — use the computer or write on index cards what the categories of clothing are so that guests can sort their offerings. (Download our labels here.) And, have a few blank labels available for the day of.

On the day of the event: tidy up, wear cute underwear, get some appetizers or have your friends bring them, and wait for everyone to bring you new clothes! We usually start out browsing the piles casually enough and trying stuff on here and there. Once you try on a cute spangly dress, it is fair game for someone else to have a go at it. Let your friends decide who really looks best in it. I am notorious for trying to get my hands on everyone’s good stuff.

Afterward, get someone to help you load the car or take stuff directly to the charity.

Note: we often have a grab bag category, maternity, men’s clothes, shoes, and baby clothes.

If you’re still not convinced, here are my top eight reasons to host a clothing swap:

  1. eat drink and be merry (just easy snacks and spa water)
  2. enjoy a fun afternoon with friends
  3. feel good about donating to a worthy cause
  4. get a heap of new clothes for free (especially good if you have a changing-mom-body!)
  5. get a license to buy a couple new pieces for all your thrift
  6. play dress-up and get silly
  7. purge yourself of unwanted clothes
  8. re-gift your recent holiday loot (I like to hold mine in January)

… I’m getting off my soapbox now.

So, do you love or shove the clothing swap for moms?

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RookieMoms co-founder & mom to 3 boys in Berkeley, CA. Bossy big sister and project manager turned blogger helping moms enjoy their first years of motherhood. Find me on my other site on 510families.com or hiding in my minivan eating dark chocolate.

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