Too Many Clothes in
Your Closet? Organize a Clothes Swap! by
Marcia Passos Duffy, Copyright 2004
I bumped into a friend at the
supermarket the other day. She eyed my sweater a bit too enviously.
"Love that color," she said. "Do you want to get rid of
it?" We both laughed and I politely told her to take her paws
off. It wasn't ready to be swapped - not yet.
We, along with about a half-dozen other
friends, are clothes swappers. We meet every so often with our bags of
unwanted clothing after a spring (or fall) cleaning frenzy to, well,
swap clothing. I'm not sure when this ritual started - I was invited
to a clothes swap two years ago after a friend (who probably realized
we were about the same dress size) invited me to a clothes swap she
organized at her house.
At first, I was skeptical on what kind
of clothing I could get, and, frankly, a bit embarrassed over the
hopeless clothes I lugged along that nobody in their right mind would
But, what ensued was a cross between a
slumber party and an open fitting room at Filene's Basement. There
were about 8 of us at my first clothes swap. Veteran clothes- swappers
immediately told us to dump our goods on the bed, and dig in. It was
finder's keepers - but you had to try it on first! One hand pulled out
my awful maroon wool dress (that previously belonged to my
mother-in-law and fit too snug and short on me). I had to admit it was
mine. It was gingerly picked up by a petite woman who I only knew in
passing. Was she just trying to humor me by trying it on? When she
emerged from the bathroom it was like was tailor-designed just for
her. It was snug in all the right places; the hem hit just above the
knee, where it should have. "I'll take it," she said and
quietly folded it up into a growing pile she was gathering at her
Wow. Hey, maybe this wasn't so bad
after all! One woman threw a very loud flowered dress at me.
"This is YOU," she said. Huh? Me, who wears muted greens,
grays and black? It was not a dress I would ever try on, never mind
wear. But, with prodding from the group, I did try it on and
sheepishly modeled it. Claps, cheers. "Take it!" "Oh,
it IS you!" I laughed and kept it, I mean, what did I have to
lose? (I've since worn it several times. A special notice to all my
friend swappers: I'm now tired of it and it will emerge again at our
next clothes swap).
Which brings me to the point of a
clothes swap. There is nothing to lose! I have come home with the most
amazing clothing that I could not believe women would want to part
with: a genuine pea coat, an Alpaca sweater, t-shirts &
turtlenecks in every color, an elegant purple dress. The clothing also
carries a special significance. While casually flinging a silk scarf
around my neck, the owner of the article said it used to belong to her
mother. I think of the history of that scarf whenever I wear it. In
turn, I often see my clothing on friends. "Hey, that's
mine!" I'll say jokingly. "But it looks better on you,"
I add, sincerely. It's nice to know where my clothes are. And it's
nice to know where they came from.
After the end of 2 or 3 hours, the
group of clothes swappers reaches the end of the pile on the bed.
There is an unbelievably deep sense of satisfaction knowing that your
clothing has found a new - and appreciative - owner. And, you leave
with a pile of clothes that you want to wear! And it's free!
So before you dump your clothes in the
Goodwill box, think of your friends!
How to organize a successful clothes
Invite your friends & ask your
friends to invite their friends
About 10-15 people is the goal - aim
for all shapes & sizes
If you are hosting the swap at your
house, make sure you have at least two full-length mirrors
For those of us who are modest, make
sure there are other rooms available to dress and undress. If this
isn't possible, remind people they can wear a body suit or bathing
suit underneath their clothing if they wish.
Clothes swaps can be seasonal, but
they don't have to be: The best clothes swaps have all seasons
If two people want the same item,
you can have fun with this by either a coin toss, or having each
person model the item of clothing and have a vote (do this only if
you're sure there won't be hard feelings).
If you have second thoughts about an
item you have up for grabs - speak up quickly. A simple "Hmm,
I'm not so sure I'm ready to give that up yet," should
suffice, before someone else gets too attached to the item.
Be prepared - for a good time!
You'll be surprised how much fun you'll have with a group of women
trying on clothing!
Marcia Passos Duffy
is a freelance writer and the publisher/editor of The Heart of New
England online magazine and weekly e-newsletter (www.theheartofnewengland.com),
a publication that celebrates the unique character of the northern New
England states of Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. To subscribe to
her free weekly e-newsletter on bed & breakfast deals, New England
thrifty tips, contests, and gardening reminders, simply send a blank
email to email@example.com