Trading clothes with friends is the ultimate way to expand your wardrobe for free.

Nick David/Taxi/Getty Images

It's not uncommon to go to your closet and feel overwhelmed by the clutter -- or underwhelmed by the uninspiring clothing that hangs before you. Unfortunately, it's not always possible to spare the extra cash that's necessary to give your wardrobe the boost it needs to make dress-up fun again. Most Americans are finding ways to save money, and that often includes shopping at thrift stores, sifting through items in bargain bins and snatching up pieces that were previously owned by someone else.

If you need a way to update your look without spending a single dollar, a clothing swap is the perfect answer. What exactly is a clothing swap, you might ask? It's a little like a potluck dinner, but instead of party guests bringing a casserole or dessert to share with the group, they bring gently used clothing and accessories to trade with other swappers. Hosting a clothing swap is a great way to update your wardrobe for free, and it's also a nice excuse to throw a party and have a blast with friends, too!

Of course, you'll have to establish a few rules for swappers to follow if you want your event to be successful. Make sure you insist that all clothing brought to the event has been recently washed or dry-cleaned. People are coming to swap clothes, not lice, bedbugs or the aroma of body odor! It's also a good idea to mention that undergarments be left at home -- no matter how close you are to a friend, wearing another person's discarded lingerie is less than desirable. Finally, specify if alcohol or food will be provided at the clothing swap. A modest friend might feel more comfortable modeling a new outfit in front of a group if she knows a glass of wine will be on hand to ease her nerves.

You now know what a clothing swap is, but there's a lot more to a successful swap than trading skirts and T-shirts with friends. Find out how to do everything from draft a guest list to organize all those clothes on the next page.