How to Host a Clothing Swap to Declutter Closets
By: Bonnie Joy Dewkett
We all have too many clothes. I’ve never chatted with someone about their closet and they told me they have just the right amount of clothes and wear everything they own. So what do you do with the excess? Host a clothing swap!
Yes, you can donate your clothes or have a yard sale. However, neither of those options are very much fun. AND, you don’t get anything in return (except a tax write off). Hosting a clothing swap is fun, useful and effective.
What happens at a clothing swap?
Friends come together and swap unwanted clothes for ones they love and would wear.
How many people should I invite?
It depends on how much space you are working with. Everyone should have at least a few feet to display their items. You also want to leave room for walking around, snacks and drinks and possibly even a dressing room area. Make sure you give people enough time to not only RSVP to your event, but clean out their closets.
Provide them with a number of items to bring and the types of articles that will be accepted (sunglasses, purses, shoes, etc). If you want to provide a quantity suggestion do so in the invitation. Also, make it clear if you are going to accept home goods such as game or kitchen items. Make it clear that items should be clean and in good condition.
Should I serve snacks?
Snacks are always a good idea. Pick items that don’t need attention or heat so they can be consumed throughout the event. Have drinks of your choice on hand as well. Keeping the snack area separate from clothing will avoid accidental spills.
How does it work?
The system I like best is giving everyone a token for every item they bring in. Then, they can “purchase” that many items with their tokens. Everyone leaves with the same number of items they brought in. Have poker chips on hand to use as tokens. It’s also a good idea to have extra bags on hand for everyone to take home their new treasures.
Can we swap more than clothes?
Yes. Host a clothing swap one month and then a children’s swap the next. Kids’ clothes, shoes, sports equipment or toys are all very tradable. When doing a kid’s swap, invite parents with kids of all ages. Another fun swap is movies and books. How often do we watch or read something, then put it on the shelf, never to be touched again? If you’ve received lots of gifts that you’ve felt too guilty to donate, this is a great way to make sure they go to a home that will love them and use them.
What about what’s left?
Have a plan for anything that no one claims. Schedule a pickup with a charity or have the car ready to drop off at Goodwill while running errands that week.
About the Author
Bonnie Joy Dewkett, CPO® is an organizing expert, author, and motivational speaker. Her company, The Joyful Organizer®, creates and implements organizational systems for the home or office. Bonnie has achieved the designation of Certified Professional Organizer, CPO®, from The Board of Certification for Professional Organizers. She is a member of The National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) and has published The Joyful Organizer’s Guide to a Joyful Move, which is available on her website: www.thejoyfulorganizer.com.
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