How to Organize a Clothes Swap

Save Money on Items You Must Have, But Won’t Get Enough Use Out of the Justify the Expense

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Hold a clothes swap; photo courtesy andresra This article was written on behalf of The Splash, an online magazine committed to all things eco-friendly and green. If you liked this, don't forget to check out our other ethical fashion articles.

Have you found, like me, that your kids are non-stop growing? Is it something to do with the dampness in the air, are they like little plants that come into the warmth and shoot up uncontrollably?

If so, you need to organize a clothes swap with some friends and neighbors to nip the soaring costs of buying new outfits in the bud. Not only does this ensure you’re not spending a small bundle on new clothes every few months, it helps you to recycle and reuse — good clothing avoids landfill and somebody else gets to benefit from an item you’d have otherwise thrown away.

I picked up this idea whilst traveling in the states this winter, clothes swaps are very popular over there, taking over from the garage sales that were also popular a few years ago.

How it Works

So, schools in the USA now organize clothes swaps at the change of each season. The basis of the idea is rather like one a traditional jumble sale. However, by bringing in your own goods for sale you gain credit to spend on other clothes when you are at the event.

See if your local school, church or community group would like to organize a similar event? You’ll need to find a suitable location, one that will hold makeshift stalls and, of course, your invitees.

Organising a Clothes Swap

At the clothes swap; photo courtesy BethOlsonCreative As organizers you’ll set an agreed amount of credit per item brought in. It doesn’t have to be exact, and remember, people are bringing in things that they would have probably just thrown away. Usually, a good rate is a £1 voucher per bag of items brought in.

You will need to provide hanging rails and tables, which the local community could help with providing for the day. Get all attendees to put out the items they brought and that way there won’t be any issues like you have at jumble sales, digging through bags of clothes and wondering what you will find!

Clothes brought to swaps often tend to be brought in clean and well presented on hangers. Clothes swaps are often an ideal opportunity to pick up school sweatshirts, Brownie/Scout uniforms, all those things that kids really HAVE to have, but don’t get that much wear out of.

In addition, many people bring things like wedding outfits that they’ve only worn twice and brand new shoes that didn’t fit (but they couldn’t bear to take back to the shop) so you often pick up some good bargains for yourself too.

As the day draws to a close, the clothes that are left can be taken home again, or you can bag up the remainder and take them to the local charity shop.

Holding a Fashion Show

Sometimes organizers take the event one stage further and actually hold fashion shows for the items on sale. If you have a budding auctioneer at hand you can hold an auction for the items — keep the starting bids low at 30-50p and everyone will enter into the spirit very quickly.

For those looking for fund raising ideas — this type of event is ideal! It is something that is a little bit different, plus you can secure additional fund raising from raffles, teas, coffees, cakes and soft drinks on the night.

Happy recycling!

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