Party Ideas - How to Host a Swap Party
Who wouldn’t like to go shopping for new stuff – clothing to home décor and even kids stuff – for free? Throw a swap party at home and you can do just that! So go clean out your closets and garages, grab your friends, and have fun swapping your stuff at a party where everyone will leave happy with new stuff and no one has to spend a penny!
Many people (I think mostly moms) are hearing a lot about these kinds of parties – they’re popping up everywhere because they’re a great way to have fun, get rid of what you no longer want or need and take home something new – for free! Plus, you’re recycling all of the swapped items, so you can be happy and proud that you’re being green.
Here’s how a swap party works:
Invite a few friends and ask them to bring anything that they have that they no longer want and that they’d be willing to swap. Another option would be to make it specific - a clothing swap party or a kids stuff swap party are a couple of popular themes.
Lay everything out so that everyone has a chance to check out everything available for swapping; give people a chance to browse a bit.
Then allow everyone participating to take turns selecting one item for each item that they brought.
The only rule is that everything brought for swapping must be clean and in good condition – common sense, yes, but it should be mentioned because you never know…
Here are some swap party tips:
- The dining room is a great place to situate your swap party. Just protect the table with a table cloth – you could even use wide kraft paper as a table runner for a simple, clean, and cool look. Gather some plain (and clean) cardboard boxes and use them on the table to display items at different heights for easier viewing by everyone in attendance. If the boxes aren’t plain, giving them a quick wrap in kraft, or other solid, paper will give the table a cohesive look and make the items stand out better. At the end of the party, the boxes can be used to pack up items for your guests to take home, or to pack up any leftovers for donation.
- If you need even more space, scoot the dining chairs back from the table and use them to lean, drape, and stack swap items on (and under if needed).
- A good size party to start with is five guests, each with ten items to swap. Keep the invitations simple, like a printout of the party details glued to a piece of cardboard – remember, recycling is the idea!
- Keep the food you serve to guests light and easy. If it’s a weekend morning, perhaps a coffee bar with some stir-ins like ground cinnamon, cardamom, marshmallows, and white and dark chocolate chunks. Easy things that are portable and easy to munch and browse would be best. A simple table décor idea is to simply use a roll of wrapping paper on the table, underneath the coffee or other refreshments set-up.
- As your guests arrive, tag each of their items (have a stash of tags ready) or have them write their own description and “selling points” of their items. The tags, too, can be cut from cardboard – just punch a hole on one end and use an adhesive mailing label to top it with the description of the item.
- Create a way for your guests to “claim” the items that they want to take home. One good idea is to use clothes pins. Monogram them with a marker or stick-on letters and instruct each person to clip their clothespin to the tag of the item they want. More than one person can clip a pin on an item’s tag – when multiple people want one item, take all of the clothespins pinned to it, place them in a hat and draw a winner.
- At the end of the party, have any guests who remain help you to box up any leftovers and donate them to a local Good Will or other charity or shelter.