How to host a Swap Party – Free Clothes and Cake!

Swap Parties are a rapidly growing trend, and so I wanted to share with you how to do one and what to expect. I’ve been to several and they’ve all been very different so it’s really up to you how much effort you want to put in!

What is a Swap Party?

It’s simply you getting a bunch of friends/women together and swapping unwanted clothes. Everyone brings things they don’t want, and takes things they do from other people. It means you all end up with great new clothes (for free!) and nothing goes to landfill.

Today proves charitable living is awesome! High heels sponsored run + clothes swap shop haul. #girlpower #thriftyfun

A photo posted by Louise Croft (@louisecroft) on

How does it work?

It’s up to you whether you want to credits or a free for all.

    • Valued Credits – I’ve been to some where your clothes are assessed and you get a certain number of coupons to ‘spend’ depending on the value of what you brought. Then the items available to ‘buy’ are priced in coupons too. E.g. if you bring a designer dress you get 5 coupons so can buy 5 Primark tops priced at 1 coupon each. The one I went to with this gave us all luggage tag with stars on (read more about it and see pictures in my Bournemouth Bloggers Clothes Swap post)
    • Item credits – another choice is to just say ‘bring 5 things and take 5 things’. If you think everyone will bring similar quality or you want to keep things easy to organise this is a great option! Free for all – this version is the least effort for you, and great if you’re just a small group of close friends. I’ve had great success with swap parties like this and you’ll generally find people bring more than they take just because they want a clear out! It can start off a little shy as no one wants to offend anyone by claiming something for themselves, but you’ll soon get into the swing of it.
    • Money – one final choice is to charge people either for entry, swapping or clothes. I went to one at Bournemouth University where they raised money for Lewis Manning Hospice by doing £1 for a swap (if you bring an item of your own and swap it for something there) OR you could simply buy the clothes. I brought one thing to swap but took home 2 and just paid £5 for the second one!

  Crazy bargains flying off the shelves at the #bournemouthuni #swapshop #fiverfever   A photo posted by Find Me Charity (@findmecharity) on

Is it a hassle to organise?

No! Simply invite some girlfriends round via Facebook, get some nibbles/drinks (or ask people to bring their own) and have fun! I’ve found it great for mixing friendship groups who don’t really know each other because you’ve got non stop conversation starters as a result of all the lovely clothes. When I’ve gone before we’ve all ended up cheering each other on to try things and throwing out compliments like confetti! I left not only with some great new finds, but feeling amazing about myself and my figure too.

What do you do with leftover clothes?

People often worry there won’t be enough clothes but I’ve NEVER seen this to be the case. There’s normally stacks of clothes left over – which should go straight to your local charity shop. So much good karma…

Be still my beating heart #goodwill outlet #thrifting #boston

A photo posted by Louise Croft (@louisecroft) on

Final tips:

Make sure you’ve got places to display the clothes. Either lay them out on tables, or have rails and hangers, or even a clothes line and dryers! Just make sure there’s plenty of space so you don’t end up with mounds.

If clothes isn’t your thing maybe do a shoe/book/makeup swap – or combine it all!

Set a small-ish time for the swap. If it’s an all day thing some people will come halfway through and miss out on the best swaps. Try and set a strict start time (later than the arrival time) and then let people stay and chat after.

Consider raising money for a local charity by selling entry tickets to the swap, or asking for financial donations during

have you ever been to a swap party? comment below!

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