Along with shopping at online thrift stores, hosting a clothing swap party will not only reduce textile waste but add a little secondhand flair to your ethical wardrobe. Not only is a clothing swap a whole lot of fun, but it also has some really great benefits for the planet, which we will talk about a little later on. What a great way to clean out your closet with little to no waste!
What Is A Clothing Swap Party?
A clothing swap party is an event where invited guests bring gently used clothing to swap with each other. Some swaps have rules like how many items to bring. The idea is to find new homes for the items you once treasured and give someone else's old treasures a new, happy home. It's a win-win all around. Think of it as a thrift store, but in your home where instead of having to sell your used clothes online, you host a soiree, with some great friends and maybe even a glass or two of rose!
Why Consider A Clothing Swap Party?
It's simple, to reduce textile waste! The Environmental Protection Agency reports that Americans are sending about 16 million tonnes of textile waste to landfills each year, thanks in part to poor recycling rates (only 15.2% is recycled), inefficient recycling facilities, and fast fashion brands. Textile waste is generated when clothes are manufactured and when they are discarded making it one of the fastest-growing waste streams in the world, it's why more than ever we need to consider ethical fashion and the slow fashion movement!
What Are The Benefits Of Hosting a Clothing Swap Party
A clothing Swap helps the environment
When we swap our clothes it helps to reduce natural resources, you see it takes a whopping 7,000 liters of water to make one pair of jeans and almost 3,000 liters to make one cotton t-shirt. When we manufacture new jeans and t-shirts so much cotton needs to be grown, harvested, dyed, sewn and then shipped, that's a pretty large carbon footprint! Organic cotton on the other hand uses less water and way fewer chemicals it's why we love brands that are making organic cotton t-shirts and sustainable jeans!
Fast fashion and textile waste go hand-in-hand, we are producing more clothes than we ever have before and most unethical fashion brands are producing fifty-two-plus seasons of clothing every single year! We get it, who doesn't want the latest hottest trend at a fraction of the price? Unfortunately, that cheap price comes at a huge cost to the planet and the people who make our clothes.
Buying clothes that already exist saves resources!
A Clothing Swap helps people
One of the biggest issues with fast fashion is the manufacturing and supply systems that are currently in place like cheap labor, low labor standards, and little to no environmental standards. All of these factors play a huge role in how the people who make our clothes are treated, many of them are women, BICPOC, and have no legal foot to stand on.
A Clothing Swap saves you money
With inflation and skyrocketing prices for everything from food to gas to clothing. A clothing swap party is going to save you money because it's free! Sharing, borrowing, and swapping are three great ways to ensure a more sustainable closet.
Secondhand doesn’t have to mean second quality.
Swapping your clothes helps refresh your wardrobe
Swapping allows us to extend the life of our clothes and switch up our wardrobe more sustainably. Maybe you've been eyeing your BFFs red boots, this might be your chance to get your hands (or feet) on them. What you will love most, is you will gain a whole new batch of gently-used stuff that’s now new to you.
How to set up a clothing swap party
1. Choose your space
Pick a space where at least ten people can move around easily, either a living or dining room. If you want to hold the clothing swap outside of your home consider churches, libraries, rec rooms, or community centers. If you choose to hold your swap in one of these places you could even charge a $5 fee for admission and donate that money to a local charity. It's a great way to give back and build community in your neighborhood.
2. Make sure you have the right supplies
Hangers! You need lots of them and a fold-out table for shoes and accessories or other items that need to be folded, we don't want anything to end up on the floor. If you are going to be sorting your clothes by size, you will need paper and pens to make the signs. You can also sort by color or style. Have a full-sized mirror and a dedicated fitting room.
To make it even more fun, have snacks and water on hand too. And make sure you remind everyone to bring their own shopping bags. No plastic here, please!
3. Clothing swap party rules
How many people do you want to invite and how many items are you asking each person to bring, for a small party of 10, we recommend 10 items and they can be apparel, accessories, shoes, bags, and even jewelry. Everyone should bring the same amount to ensure fairness. Set guidelines as to what people can't and can't bring, for example, if you are holding a summer clothing swap maybe you want people to leave the winter great at home, ultimately this is up to you.
But make sure it's clear from the get-go by proving a general checklist of approved items. Items we recommend people leave at home are kids' clothes, hubbies apparel, bras, maternity wear, and yoga clothes. Themed clothing swaps are growing in popularity and are a great opportunity to sell these kinds of items.
You also want to make sure that the items that your friends are bringing to swap are:
Gently worn and clean
No rips/holes or missing buttons or broken zippers
No yellow or smelly armpits on t-shirts
BONUS: if the items can be steamed or pressed even better!
When your guests arrive and all the clothes are ready for the swap, set up a system to prevent a free-for-all, you don't want people to leave feeling let down. Divide your guests into small groups, then have each group choose a number to determine the order of the groups. Set a time limit for each group and you can even set a limit of items.
4. Invite your guests
For your closet exchange, make your guest list is as eclectic as it can be. You don't want everyone with the same style to show up, you want to provide as much variety as possible, this includes a variety of shapes, sizes, and styles. Send your clothing swap party invitation out at least two weeks before the event to give guests the chance to go through their own times to see what they want to bring.
This is the best part by far! It's all about having fun and doing something great to reduce waste.
6. Have a plan for left-overs
You are bound to have some items left over, so make sure you have a plan in place to get rid of them responsibly. You can either donate them or store them for another clothing swap party! This post on what to do with all your clothing donations will help.
Tips for shopping at a clothing swap
Wear comfy clothing that's easy to take on or off
Bring a reusable water bottle
Bring reusable shopping bags
Examine the items for any damage, holes, missing button, etc.
Only by what you love and need - the whole purpose of a clothing swap party is to reduce
Final thoughts on hosting a Clothing Swap Party
As you can see there are many benefits to holding a clothing swap. What a great way to get rid of unwanted clothing! Shopping online at thrift shops is another way and did you know we have a ton of guides here on The Eco Hub that will help you get rid of your old stuff responsibly including:
What to do with old jeans
What to do with old socks
What to do with old bras
What to do with old plastic Tupperware
How to dispose of old pillows
How to dispose of old, broken cell phones
How to recycle e-waste properly
How to sell used clothes online
How to recycle pot plants
How to recycle cardboard properly
What to do with your clothing donations
What to do with old beat-up shoes
Have you ever been to or organized a clothing swap? If you found this post helpful, please help someone by sharing this article – sharing is caring 🙂!