8 Tips for Hosting a Clothing Swap

As you may know, we here at Studio Conscious believe in being as sustainable as you can. We also have a great passion for fashion and textiles. One of the ways we have been able to combine these values is through thrifting clothing. Even though thrifting clothing can be inexpensive, sometimes you just don’t want to spend money or you want to leave clothing for the people who can’t afford clothing from traditional retailers.

We have really enjoyed hosting annual clothing swaps with all our close friends and family. Yes not all of us wear the same size and not all of us have the same taste but it's fun and free! We have had so much fun browsing through our friends' clothing and seeing what goodies we could find. Today I am going to give you 8 tips for throwing the perfect clothing swap.

1. Make a fun Invite!

In the past I have made a Facebook event as it was the most accessible way to invite my guest list and allowed me to keep track of who was coming. An e-vite would also be a cost effective and paperless option that adds a more personal touch to the invitation.

2. Body diversity is key!

You want to make sure your guest list contains people of all different shapes and sizes, that way there will be something for everyone.

3. Set guidelines for the swap!

We definitely don’t want any smelly or stained clothing to show up in the swap so don’t be afraid to ask people to wash the clothing. Also make some rules about what items you don’t want at the swap. Ask people to bring their items on hangers. Having them hung will ensure there are enough hangers for all the goodies people bring. Also make sure everyone's hangers are marked to ensure they get them back at the end of the event.

4. Get creative and use what you have to set up and decorate!

You don’t need a special venue to have a clothing swap. I have hosted mine in my backyard for the last couple of years. I have used whatever I had in my house to decorate and make it look nice. I’ve even made a clothing rack out of an old pole and two ladders. You don’t need to hang items either, even if you have them nicely folded on a table or the floor, people will still have fun scavenging through. Two things I always like to use to decorate are cute homemade signs and rugs.

5. Make sure to have a space where people can try on the clothing!

I am not going to lie, I had some friends just get changed out in the open. But for your more modest friends, it's important that they have a space to change. I recommend a tent or a dollar store hula hoop with a curtain wrapped around it. If you do host it at your house and you are comfortable with people using your washroom, that would be the easiest option. Of course you also need to have an accessible mirror for people to check themselves out.

6. Make a fun playlist!

I am all about setting the mood when I host. One of my favourite ways to do this outside of the decor is music. Swapping to music really elevates the experience in my opinion. Choose something fun and upbeat and make everyone dance in their new clothing.

7. Provide snacks or make it a potluck!

Who doesn't like to eat, right? Ask everyone to bring a dish or snack and set out some napkins or paper plates. This way people can take a break from browsing and have a snack. Since my swaps have always been in the heat of the summer, I also always provide water so people don’t overheat and can keep hydrated.

8. Donate whatever is leftover to charity!

I do this every time I have a clothing swap. There are inevitably going to items that don’t find another home. I suggest calling your local shelter or your favourite charity and asking if they are taking clothing donations. If so, bag them up nicely and drop them off so they can find a new home.

Have Fun!

I hope you find these tips helpful for when you decide to host a clothing swap! Even if people don’t end up with a basket full of new clothes you can ensure they have had fun. I personally always find hosting rewarding and this type of event brings me so much joy.

Author:Anna Davis