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clothing swap ideas

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Gone are the days when I used to go out on a whim, often, and shop for new clothing. It was kind of addictive. I loved the look and feeling of fresh fabric and something new to wear. I would go on my own and spend hours, just brilliant alone time, amidst the hangers and racks and change rooms.

A New Wardrobe or Social Contact?

But today, as a stay-at-home and work-from-home mother, what I crave more than a continuously updated wardrobe is adult companionship and socialization. Something that’s tough to come by when you’re on your own with the kids most of the time. I love my time with my children, but it’s easy to forget about remedying your own isolation that can often come about from spending the majority of our time without adult contact. We need our moments, our dates with friends, and we need evenings to catch up with the people that are a part of our lives. I know my time spent with friends outside the home is limited, so I relish any and all times where I can connect in a nice long gab session of catch-up.

Tomato sauce and grease often find home on my clothing. Laundry will more times than not remain in the basket, waiting to be folded, for a couple of days. So I find it tricky to keep my wardrobe unstained and unwrinkled, and before long, keeping up with a new wardrobe without spending a ton of cash and time becomes impossibly difficult.

Swap Not Shop

But a couple of weeks ago, I was invited to a “Swap Not Shop” clothing exchange at a friend’s house. She had set out sangria and wine glasses and we’d all brought an appetizer to share. I remember this lovely friend mentioning to me previously that she’d love to host a clothing swap party and include games. So as I prepped some homemade hummus and bagged some clothes from pre-pregnancy status that I knew I just wouldn’t wear again, I excitedly anticipated how the night would go.

All the girls brought a garbage bag or two of chosen clothing to swap. We each took turns, starting with the host, sitting in a circle, to show one item of clothing at a time to the group until our bag was empty and it was time to move onto the next person. If we wanted a specific item, we’d put our hand up. If there were no competitors, the piece of clothing belonged to whoever had their hand up. If there was more than one who desired the item, we’d play a quick game of “Rock, Paper, Scissors”. You’d never guess how much fun this was! The night went so quickly and our new wardrobes grew and grew. We couldn’t believe how quickly 11:30pm rolled around. We all went home with “new-to-us” clothing that we were all excited to wear, and made plans to do this again soon.

There are a LOT of Clothes to go through – take Breaks and have Fun!

Halfway through, we broke for munchies. There was cheese, hot finger food, cake, fruit and veggies with dip to try. And believe me, it’s quite the spread when you’ve got about ten ladies over for a gathering!

Overall, it was a fantastic evening and a great time to spend catching up and meeting new people, eating good food, drinking wine and “shopping” from home – all in a few hours’ time!

Try a Swap not Shop the next time you’re looking for an excuse for a fun get-together and a closet purge AND renewal all at once! You won’t regret it! As I write, I’m wearing a cute little striped sweater dress with pockets I scored at the party!

Donate the Rest

We kept a space on the floor open during the party to toss clothing that no one vied for – to be donated to the Salvation Army or a Goodwill location. Everything was accounted for!

Doing Good for the Earth

And you can feel proud that you’re not purchasing new clothing that’s questionably or unethically made. The fact that you’re reusing and recycling each other’s wardrobe keeps them from adding to our landfills. So call it an Eco-Conscious Swap Not Shop Party, an Earth-Friendly Closet Purge or whatever creative name you can come up with for your event and make sure to invite a crowd so that everyone can go home with something they love!