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How to Get Free Clothes and Other Items With a Swapping Party

Updated on March 10, 2018
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Audrey Hunt, music teacher, shares a true story that will tug at your heart.

Gather up clothing, taking up space in your closet.  Make good use of these items by having a Swapping Party.
Gather up clothing, taking up space in your closet. Make good use of these items by having a Swapping Party. | Source

Really? Free Clothes, Accessories, Shoes Plus More?

This is such a fun way to get a new wardrobe and clean out closets and drawers at the same time. It's called a Swapping Party (recycling), and all who participate have a wonderful time exchanging clothing as well as other items.

I've given several of these recycling parties, and have even found some real treasures. Hosting a swapping party is a great way to help the environment and give to others.You can target a party to include anything from wall art to grandmas old afghans.

To host your swapping party, follow these steps:


Rules for A Successful Swapping Party (Or Make Your Own Rules).

To start a neighborhood swapping party, (also known as "swishing" ), just follow these steps:

  1. Make a list of friends, neighbors and their contacts, to invite to your party.
  2. Select a convenient day and time, following up with a reminder a few days before the party.
  3. 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 to the party.
  4. 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 party at another time.
  5. Everyone must bring at least one item of quality clothing.
  6. 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.
  7. 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. If a person brings three items, then they would have three choices.
  8. Separate the clothing as your guests arrive into categories such as value, type and size.
  9. Prepare a fitting room. Someone may want to try on an article of clothing before choosing to swap.
  10. You will have half an hour to browse before the swapping begins.
  11. No item may be taken before the swishing of items opens.
  12. As soon as the swapping begins, everyone may take what they want.
  13. 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, household items, and accessories you can pick up. It's also about protecting marine life and birds.

A party such as this, is a great alternative to just "tossing it." And think of the money you save on clothes for the kids because everything is free.

Include Household Items for Your Party

Include household items for swapping.  Books are another great item to include or you may decide to give another party for these items..
Include household items for swapping. Books are another great item to include or you may decide to give another party for these items.. | Source
Towels, bedding and bathroom mats are popular items for your recycling party.
Towels, bedding and bathroom mats are popular items for your recycling party. | Source

Where Swapping Party's Began

London England:
London, UK

get directions

Put A Smile On Someone's face.

For me, giving up 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, only to 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. But I've experienced first hand, the benefits of letting go of stuff.

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.

Saving Is 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. It's a great way to recycle clothing and help the environment.

In closing -

You may want to Invite several people to help with the swapping party. Delegate the following:

  • Someone to make the tags with numbers to see who goes first..
  • One to arrange clothing and items as they are brought in,
  • Help for taking care of refreshments.
  • Someone for greeting folks at the door..

Ask guests to bring snack foods and use paper plates. And be sure to donate the left overs (clothes, books, etc.) to Salvation Army or Goodwill Industries.

Keep your party light and enjoy the process.

Taking Responsibility

-"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."-

Ed Asner

A New Hat - Absolutely Free

Checking out my free hat during a neighborhood swapping party.
Checking out my free hat during a neighborhood swapping party. | Source

Will you try hosting a swapping party?

See results

© 2010 Audrey Hunt


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