There aren't any strict guidelines to follow when hosting a clothing swap, but we have a few tips that will make any event a success. The best time to host your swap is in the spring as everyone is cleaning out their closets or after Christmas when regifted presents are in need of a new home. Ask that guests bring any piece of clothing they want to part with -- no matter what time of year it may be. Nichelle Stephens, founder of the popular Fashion Swap and Meet blog, adds that "tank tops and T-shirts make great layering pieces year round." Even if it's so hot outside that the sight of your tailored wool coat makes you sweat, there might be someone at the swap who will swipe it with the intention of wearing it next fall.
While you don't need to organize clothes by size, separate similar items into groups, like pants, dresses, skirts, shoes, belts and jewelry. Display clothing on hangers, garment racks or even in organized, folded piles so people can easily sort through what's available, and arrange accessories neatly on a coffee or end table so individual pieces can be seen clearly. Hang purses and other bags on a coat rack, or place them inside bookshelves to make an eye-catching display. If the guest list is extensive, ask that clothing and accessories be dropped off in advance so setting up the swag isn't such an overwhelming task.
Guests will definitely want to try on clothing before they make any final decisions, so remember to stage a designated dressing area. A hall bathroom or other small room can serve as a changing area, but it can get crowded if you're hosting a big event. Before the swap, ask everyone to wear a bathing suit or body suit under their clothing in case the changing room is constantly occupied. Arrange at least two full-length mirrors so everyone can model the clothing, and have fun trying on new styles!
When the event is over, provide guests with recyclable containers like plastic bags or cardboard boxes for their new-to-them items. No matter how successful your swap may be, some items probably won't be chosen, like those bedazzled designer platform shoes that you purchased three seasons ago. Donate these pieces -- and any other unused items that are lying around the house -- to charity or a women's shelter to keep them out of your closet and away from a landfill.
Now call your friends, organize a get-together and start swapping!