One of the coolest events I’ve discovered this year was the Sister Swap that was hosted at Rain Dogs in Riverside. Now these types of events have other names. In Orlando, my friend Lauren would invite me to “Sip and Swaps,” which were the same idea. My friend Catherine refers to them as “Swip Swaps,” which is probably my favorite name for them. What are they really? I’ll tell you.
You sort through the clothes, grab some fun new outfits then donate the rest!
A Swip-Swap is an awesome excuse to clean out your closet, make friends and get add some vintage pieces to your wardrobe!
Here is the public Facebook invite I responded to:
“Public clothing swap between us sisters! Bring in your items and take some home! Everything leftover will be donated to the Clara White Mission to help our ladies in need. We are also asking for you ipsy and birch box type users to donate any unused make up towards charity via Amy Smith. Make up can be great for the soul as well as a great tools for job interviews 😉. Let’s come together, sisters!”
Here is the basics how it works: everyone brings old clothes they don’t wear anymore. You sort through the clothes, grab some fun new outfits then donate the rest! In the end it’s a good cause and not just decluttering.
Last season’s throw aways, stuff that doesn’t fit, or that dress you’ve just worn way too many times. Throw these in a bag – whether it’s 3 outfits, or a whole batch of clothes plus some shoes and jewelry you’re just over. Then you bring these. Friends can host the events, but the one I most recently attended was in the back of a bar. That was a cool community type thing where other locals were sharing their used goods. There was a broader variety of clothing styles since the invite was geographic and not just friends of friends.
Let’s be honest- half of the appeal of new clothes is the novelty – it’s different than what you already own. This gives you access to different looks – without spending a dime.
To really enjoy this, you have to let your guard down just a little. Also, let your preference for clean-smelling, organized, never worn clothes go. Leave inhibitions in your closet when you head out and get excited about little treasures you might find. I don’t always relish thrifting, but this feels different I promise. No one will force you to take clothes you don’t like either: if you still hate 90’s flannel or cringe at the sight of a tube top, you can leave those for the donate pile.
For Swip-Swaps to work best you need a solid group of people with a variety of sizes. What I’ve discovered so far is that many women own clothes that are too small and too big. Once these extras are all dumped together, let the free shopping begin.
It’s not one-for-one. Now the idea of exact value, worth and trading old items might have you worried – especially if you don’t have a lot you are ready to get rid of. The good news is that these events aren’t policed to make sure everyone gets an even amount of clothes. There are so many factors based on stuff fitting and style preferences that most people find a few items no matter what they bring. You just put your stuff in size piles and then it is first come, first serve. If you like it, it goes in your take home pile.
Sifting through old stuff can take some effort. But once you surrender to the possibilities of a new pea coat or hippy housedress, you might warm up to the event. At Rain Dogs, the nearby craft beer didn’t hurt. At Lauren’s Sip and Swaps, there were mimosas and snacks present.
Play Dress Up!
If you host one yourself, bring extra wire hangers because clothes look better on display. Also stacks clothes by general sizes (small, med, large) and encourage people to bring accessories too. Also, make sure you have bathrooms or guest rooms available for people to try on stuff.
This can be a huge bonding event as well as just time to play dress up and imagine just how far your style might extend. Check out some of my finds!