Two months before the holidays, I was putting clothes away in my closet when I almost fell over. I was pushing and squeezing new sweaters on to the rack when I realized that my closet was full of clothes that I haven’t worn in over two years. Granted, I was pregnant for one of those years, but honestly, I probably wasn’t going to wear many of these clothes again anytime soon. And so, an idea popped into my head: I need to purge some of my clothes so why not do it via a clothes swap with my friends. I was so excited that I sent out the evite two months in advance. As I was thinking about the logistics of the clothes swap, another thought entered my head. Why not somehow incorporate doing something for a good cause while I’m at it. And so, I sent out the following evite:
I don’t know about you ladies, but I’m in major need of a clothes purge. I figured I might as well make it fun and do it via a clothes swap while raising $ for a good cause. We’ll make it a girls night and enjoy some wine and cheese and of course, new (but used) clothes!
Items to be swapped can include both clothes and accessories (shoes, belts, purses, jewelry, hats, etc…) Also, bring along your favourite bottle of wine (or share one with a friend). I will provide the cheese (and other snacks).
Here’s the low-down: 1. Perfect swap (this means you want person X’s clothes and person X also wants something of yours). 2. Pay for clothes. If you don’t have any clothes to swap, or the person’s whose clothes you want doesn’t want anything from you, you will be able to purchase an item (for a nominal amount). The seller can either keep the $ or donate a portion of it to charity. 3. Any clothes remaining, you can take back with you or donate to charity (I will be making a Goodwill drop off the next day).
There’s no better way to spend a night than to enjoy the company of other ladies, mingle over wine and cheese, get some new duds, and even raise money for charity.
As I was purging my clothes in the weeks leading up to the event, I came to the realization that I’m a hoarder. Not enough to make it on a reality TV show, but enough to cloth a small village*. To be fair, I had accumulated 14 years’ worth of clothes. I think my hoarding problem persists beyond just my clothes though. Up until a few years ago, I had every single class note, assignment, and homework since grade 3 up to the end of my undergrad. My parents made me through it all out the year they were hosting 10 people from Israel for my brother’s wedding. Little do they know, I still have a box tucked away in their basement with notes that my friends and I wrote back and forth to each other during class, love letters from boyfriends past, and birthday cards from my bat-mitzvah…Okay, okay – I have a problem, I know!! But this clothes swap was me taking the first step in the right direction.
Last minute, I decided to also make this event a book swap to draw interest from some of my friends who aren’t into clothes as much as I am. The event was now titled Clothes / Book swap, wine and cheese. The occasion took place last Saturday night. Everyone set out their clothes, accessories and books around the living room.
With a glass of wine in one hand, and a pen in the other, we went around, checking out the goods, and putting our names down on the person’s pile whose clothes we wanted.
I checked through the lists, and the person who had the most names on their pile got to swap clothes with others first, and so it went, until the whole thing just turned into a free-for-all. There was a LOT of clothes there. After all of the formality, I started to show-case my clothes. I couldn’t believe some of my “gems” were not taken by the other girls. I mean, who wouldn’t want a late 90′s one-piece cat-suit?
And who wouldn’t want a brown leather, open back, strap top?
Apparently most of the girls were very selective with the clothes they brought over. I on the other hand, just brought out ALL of my clothes that have been sitting in bins in my basement for the past 6 years. This provided several hours of entertainment. A lot of my friends, who I only met 8 years ago, got to find out a lot more about my past through my clothes.
All in all, it was a great night. It was a great excuse to get the girls together and it was for a good-case. We didn’t raise any money, but we had over 6 huge garbage bags of gently used clothes that we’ve donated to a local charity that provides support to homeless and street youth. We all agreed that this should be an annual event. Even one of my friends who only came for the books left with some new boots. It also turns out that a lot of the girls were on a strict budget, so this was a great way for them to update their wardrobe without spending a penny. I would highly recommend coordinating a clothes / book swap with your group of friends. It’s fun, cheap and helps a good cause (the environment and those less fortunate).
I think that next year we’ll make it less formal and just do a “free-for-all”, and we’ll do more of the fashion-show / highlight reel to make it feel less like sorting through clothes at Winners (similar to a Ross in the US). Everyone left with some new duds and I even wore some of mine the next day. I already can’t wait until next year’s clothes swap. At least now I have an excuse not to purge for a whole year without being called a hoarder.
*Ok likely a large village
- Activity #328: Host a clothing swap party (rookiemoms.com)