Smart Money

Save Money on Clothes Shopping by Hosting a Successful Clothes Swap Party

Shopping can be so much fun but seeing the credit card bill afterward. . . not so much. There is always the risk of overspending when you hit the stores, and after enough time, new clothes just don't feel so new anymore and you're bound to want a fresh addition to your wardrobe again. A clothing swap party gives you an opportunity to clear out your closet, take ownership of stylish new finds, and best of all, not spend hundreds of dollars in the process! Here are some tips for hosting your own successful clothing swap.

Set a date and time.

Weekends tend to work best, particularly during the day. Even better: host your clothing swap at the end of a season since your friends will likely be changing out their wardrobes at this time and will be eager to shop for new clothes anyway.

Invite your friends.

Women tend to be more interested in clothes swaps, but if enough men are willing to participate, invite them too! You could also choose to have a clothing swap just for children's clothes to help parents get rid of clothes that no longer fit their kids while picking up new items in the correct size. Consider how many people you can manage to host at your home and plan your guest list accordingly!

Set a minimum number of items for people to bring.

You don't want people to just come and take without donating anything to the swap in return. Remind everyone that clothes should be clean, ironed if necessary, and in good condition (no stains, tears, etc.). Let them know that accessories, shoes, jewelry, hats, scarves, and purses are also acceptable.

Set it up.

Determine which room you want to host your clothing swap in. A clothing rack is helpful, though clothes can also be laid out over designated tables and chairs. Make sure that you have enough hangers if you have a place to hang up clothes. Think about where your guests can change their clothes or ask them to come in layers (such as leggings) that clothes can easily be tried on over. Have a full-length mirror available. You may also want to set up an area for snacks and beverages. You can even ask guests to each contribute a snack for the event.

Consider a system.

For example, you could recommend that the first half hour is just for browsing, which allows other guests time to arrive. Then, you could either draw straws to allow people to take turns "shopping" and trying on clothes, or you could limit each person to only taking the same number of new items as they brought to donate. This way, someone who brought one shirt won't walk away with 10 new pieces of clothing, while someone who brought 7 items only gets one. Buy including jewelry, bags, and other accessories in the mix, you can ensure that there is something that will fit everyone regardless of size differences.


Donate the rest.

Once your successful clothing swap is over, you'll probably find at least a few items left behind that no one was interested in. Gather everything up and make a point of donating it to the charity of your choice within the next week.