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

Updated on March 10, 2018
vocalcoach profile image

She's a woman on a mission. Audrey Hunt donates her time helping others to discover their personal power through nature's lessons.

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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    • vocalcoach profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Hunt 

      4 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      Au fait

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

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 

      4 years 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 imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Hunt 

      4 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.


      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!

    • poetryman6969 profile image


      4 years ago

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

    • fpherj48 profile image


      4 years 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!!

    • vocalcoach profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Hunt 

      4 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      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


      4 years 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 imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Hunt 

      4 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.


      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


      4 years 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+++

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 

      4 years 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! :)

    • vocalcoach profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Hunt 

      5 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      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.

    • vocalcoach profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Hunt 

      6 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      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:)

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 

      6 years ago from California

      Audrey--I just love this idea!

    • TToombs08 profile image

      Terrye Toombs 

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

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

    • MarieAlice profile image

      Maria Alicia Cardenas 

      6 years ago from Spain

      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!!

    • thougtforce profile image

      Christina Lornemark 

      6 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!


    • vocalcoach profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Hunt 

      8 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      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.

    • billyaustindillon profile image


      8 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 imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Hunt 

      8 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      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.

    • vocalcoach profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Hunt 

      8 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      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.

    • rose56 profile image


      8 years ago

      very useful thanks for the great hub.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      8 years ago from London, UK

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

    • Green Lotus profile image


      8 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.

    • Debby Bruck profile image

      Debby Bruck 

      8 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.


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