How To Get Free Clothes, Accessories And Shoes With A Recycling Party


Free Clothes, Accessories, Shoes Plus More

Here is a fun way to get a supply of clothing, household items, jewelry and even kids toys. It's called a Swapping Party (recycling) and all who participate have a wonderful time. I've given several recycling parties and have even found some real treasures when I'm lucky. And hosting a swapping party is a great way to clean out closets and drawers.

Here's how to get started and remember that you can target a party to include anything from wall art to grandmas old afghans.

Almost everything can be recycled or reused. Please do your part.
Almost everything can be recycled or reused. Please do your part. | Source

Rules for A Swapping Party - Clothing

To start a neighborhood swapping party, (it's called "swishing" and began in London), make a list of friends, neighbors and their contacts to invite to your party. Select a convenient day and time, following up with a reminder a few days before the party.

Everyone is to bring one, two or three articles of clean clothing. They can choose whatever article of clothing they like in return for contributing at the party.

Decide in advance whether you want to include other items like jewelry, shoes, hand bags, scarves or hats. You may want to save these items for another time.

Here are some basic rules, but feel free to change them and create new or different ones:

  • Everyone must bring at least one item of quality clothing.

    Set guidelines on the quality of the fashion-swap items. Ask them to bring up-to-date fashions that are clean and in good condition.

  • Keep it fair so one person doesn't leave with an armload and another empty handed. One idea is to have them draw numbers, and select an item when their number is called. If someone else wants the item they've chosen, then they can object and try to make a deal with her. If someone brought three items, then they would have three choices.

  • Separate the clothing as your guests arrive into categories, such as value, type and size.

  • Prepare a fitting room. Someone may want to try on an article of clothing before choosing to swap

  • You will have half an hour to browse before the swapping begins.
  • No item may be taken before the swish opens.
  • As soon as the swapping begins, everyone may take what they want.

Serve your guests refreshments, such as crackers, cheese and sparkling water.

Why Have a Swapping Party ?

Swapping clothing and accessories is a smart way to wear the latest fashion, get free clothing and help the environment by cutting down on waste.

Of course the main reason to recycle is to reduce the need for landfill space. More than two quadrillion pounds of clothing, rags and such are thrown out each year. Clothing can take hundreds of years to decompose.

With a ' Swapping Party ' you and your jeans can make a difference. When you recycle, you are conserving raw materials and natural resources. That means less has to be extracted, refined, transported and processed which lightens the load on Mother Earth.

You are also conserving energy that’s needed in the manufacturing process. Less energy used means less need to be generated, resulting in smaller carbon footprints and less greenhouse gases and emissions.

So putting together a 'Swapping Party' isn't just about the free clothes, shoes, ties, shirts and accessories you can pick up. It's also about protecting marine life and birds.

A ' Swapping Party ' is a great alternative to just "tossing it." And think of the money you save on clothes for the kids because everything is free.

Where Swapping Party's Began

A markerLondon England -
London, UK
[get directions]

Donating makes a huge difference
Donating makes a huge difference | Source
Gather up items you don't use anymore for the swapping party
Gather up items you don't use anymore for the swapping party | Source

Put A Smile On Someone's face.

For yours truly, giving up my clothes, jewelry, shoes and accessories is almost as unthinkable as giving up chocolate. I can't tell you how many times I would begin to box-up a shirt or pair of jeans and then staring at these precious items, put them back in the closet again.

I'm not the person to inspire you to clean out your closet, or even begin to tell you how. Just do it. Because you won't even miss any of these items you take to the swapping party. I didn't.

During the swapping party I could hardly wait to see who selected my items. The best thing of all is to put a smile on someone's face and everyone was smiling.

Ed Asner

A Quote From Actor Ed Asner

-"We all moan and groan about the loss of the quality of life through the destruction of our ecology, and yet each one of us, in our own little comfortable ways, contributes daily to that destruction. It's time now to awaken in each one of us the respect and attention our beloved mother deserves."-

Quote by actor,environmental supporter, Ed Asner

Saving - As Good As Earning

My Mama used to say that saving a dollar is as good as earning a dollar. And my mama could save. We didn't have much to begin with, but she always managed to put away something for that rainy day.

I learned from Mama that "pre-worn" clothing was as good as new as long as it was freshly laundered and ironed. And as for shoes - if they were used, they were already broken in and nice and comfy.

So why not be the first in your neighborhood to Plan a Swapping Party To Recycle Clothing and help the environment. It's a good and fun thing to do.

In closing -

Invite several people to help with the swapping party. Delegate one to make the tags with numbers to see who goes first and another to arrange clothing and items as they are brought in.

Ask for a couple of volunteers to take care of refreshments and one for greeting folks.

Open other items for a future party such as books, toys, videos, kitchen items, men's ware and/or tools.

Keep it light and enjoy the process. This is a party and a time to have fun.

Will you try hosting a swapping party?

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© 2010 Audrey Hunt

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Comments 24 comments

Debby Bruck profile image

Debby Bruck 6 years ago

Fabulous. There are many ways to donate your outdated clothing. When you see them hanging in the closet or stuffed in the drawers, it feels nice to clean it out and provide more space in the house. Having a party is a fun way to give away clothing and also gain some new ones. Only thing is that is takes a bit of planning.

Green Lotus profile image

Green Lotus 6 years ago from Atlanta, GA

Great suggestions VC. My rule, if I haven't worn in a year, recycle it! Once it's gone , it's never missed. Thanks for these valuable guidelines! .....and a big hello to Debby the queen of homeopathic hubbery.

Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

That reminds me that I have to do this. Thank you for your great hub.

rose56 profile image

rose56 6 years ago

very useful thanks for the great hub.

vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 6 years ago from Nashville Tn. Author

Debby - You are quite right about the planning. Being the delgator that I am, I give out assignments to 3 or 4 friends and neighbors. That only leaves me with follow-ups + getting my own clothing prepared and maybe offering my home for the party. Most everyone brings fruit or nuts, etc. for snacking. Thanks for your comments.

vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 6 years ago from Nashville Tn. Author

Green Lotus - OK - now you have motivated me to "give up" about half of the clothes in my closet. I have so many articles of clothing and yet I continue to wear the very same clothes regularly. I definetly like your rule of if it hasn't been worn in 1 year, get rid of it. Gonna do it. Yeaaaaaaaaaah. Thanks.

billyaustindillon profile image

billyaustindillon 6 years ago

Great idea though I just wonder how many giggles come out with some of the less fashionable items. Funny I look back at some of my old shirts and say what was I thinking!

vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 6 years ago from Nashville Tn. Author

Billy - I know just what you mean. If it weren't for the young people that I am involved with, I would still be stuck with wearing matching accessories. :-) I see how they dress and mix just everything regardless of pattern or color.

thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 4 years ago from Sweden

I think this is an excellent idea and your hub is really an inspiration to organize a swapping party and recycle clothing. I will put a link to this hub from one of my hubs about toxins in clothing and how to become a conscious consumer since this is a great way to do just that! Thanks for writing this Vocalcoach, voted up, useful, interesting and shared!


MarieAlice profile image

MarieAlice 4 years ago from Peru

I agree, I do think is excellent to recycle clothes... since I was a girl we always share our clothe and those in good condition that didn´t fit us were given to our cousins or even to church... I always remember my friend Natty doing a party to give a few friends and me all the clothes she did n´t like (believe me she had a lotof new clothes she never wore).

This was a great hub!!

TToombs08 profile image

TToombs08 4 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

This is a fantastic idea, vocalcoach! :) Sharing!

AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 4 years ago from California

Audrey--I just love this idea!

vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 4 years ago from Nashville Tn. Author

thoughtforce - Thank you so much for supporting my hub by linking from your "toxins in clothing" hub. I'm eager to read it. I've given several swapping parties and it's so much fun plus everone wins! I'm very happy that you like this idea. Take care my friend!

MarieAlice - So nice to see you here. I enjoyed your story about sharing/recycling clothes. Thanks a lot!

TTombs08 - Thank you for sharing this. I'd like to get this idea out to more people. It's good for the planet. And good for the pocketbook:)

vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 3 years ago from Nashville Tn. Author

Hi Audrey - I wish more folks would take part in "swapping." I love Freecycle as a great way of helping others out by listing free stuff. And BTW - just moved back to California and living with my daughter in Idyllwild.

Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 24 months ago from Orlando, FL

I've never heard of swishing parties, but they sound interesting. I just donate my clothes to Goodwill. I'm up for a party! :)

fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 24 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

Audrey...I love LOVE this idea! This is directly up my frugal-minded alley! I immediately began planning and thinking of all the ladies I know who would jump at this too! Such a simple, common sense, practical idea........I'm ashamed of myself for never thinking of this!

Thank you Audrey! UP+++

vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 24 months ago from Nashville Tn. Author


Leave it to you, Linda, to pump up some traffic on this lonely hub. No kidding, I actually got tears in my eyes when I saw that I had a comment on this one. Hugs


Oh, Paula...I'm so darn happy to see you here. Like I said to Linda, I got tears in my eyes because it's been so long since anyone has been here.

Then to know that you love this idea really put a lump in my throat. Gosh, I'm just thrilled that you appreciate this hub.

Wishing you a fantastic Christmas or Hanukkah or whatever you celebrate. :)



fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 24 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

Shucks Audrey.....I'll celebrate anything.....especially with you and all our hub buddies!....Was this an older hub? I didn't even notice dates or anything.....I just think it's an awesome hub and a great concept!! Hugs, Paula

vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 24 months ago from Nashville Tn. Author

Yep! I wrote this hub about 4 years ago. I fiddled with the title this week hoping to attract more visitors. And speaking of celebrations, wouldn't it be fun if a big group of our HP buddies could all meet somewhere? I'd love to do that before I leave this planet. :) Love you a bushel and a peck.! Audrey

fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 24 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

That would be a dream come true....but then again, if it doesn't happen before we leave this planet......we just need to make sure we all arrive at the same NEXT planet!!

poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 22 months ago

A very interesting idea. This sounds like a cool way for true believers to practice what they preach!

vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 22 months ago from Nashville Tn. Author


These parties are all the rave in England. I've been to a couple and what fun. I've also found some great clothes and all for free!

Au fait profile image

Au fait 21 months ago from North Texas

An interesting concept. If most of the people in your circle of friends, your family living close by, and/or people in your neighborhood are the same size, age, and like the same styles, they could have a swop party every few weeks, and then everyone would have a completely new wardrobe! Sharing!

vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 21 months ago from Nashville Tn. Author

Au fait

Thanks for your great suggestion. I really like this idea. And thanks for sharing my hub. Enjoy your day!

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