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Tips for a Successful Clothing Swap

(While I’m enjoying my newborn, I’m thrilled to share this guest post by Rachel from Intentionally Simple.)

We all have clothes in our closet that we don’t wear. They aren’t our style, we’re tired of them or maybe they just don’t fit. After a recent closet purge, I had a box full of clothes that were too big, too small and maternity items that I never wore during my last pregnancy.

Instead of donating all of those clothes, I thought it would be fun to gather with friends for a clothing swap! We’re not all the same size but we all had a wide size range of clothing in our wardrobes since most of us have had a baby or two within the past few years.

The date, time and location were planned and each woman was asked to bring the clothes, shoes and accessories they no longer wanted to the swap.

To prepare, I cleared the living room of throw pillows and blankets so we’d have as much room as possible. I designated our guest room, master and bathroom as dressing rooms, had one of my friends bring a full length mirror and I baked cookies.

As guests arrived, we separated clothes into categories. Our categories were sweaters, tops, loungewear, pants/shorts, skirts/dresses, shoes and accessories. We labeled the different piles of clothes with sticky notes over them so everybody would know where to put their clothes as they arrived.

Once the clothes were sorted, we decided to go through the piles together. We designated a person to hold up each item of clothing and if you wanted to try the item you just said so when it was being held up. There were a few items that two people wanted to try on but everybody was nice and there were no arguments. The items that no one wanted to try on were put in a discard pile.

After we had gone through all of the clothes, it was time for the real fun, trying on the clothes! Everybody wore undershirts to make trying on shirts and dresses more modest and we took turns in the changing rooms for bottoms. The full length mirror was set up in the living room which was helpful. It also was fun telling each other what did or didn’t look good.  It was just like shopping with friends!

At the end of the swap, everybody went home with ‘new to them’ clothes! 

All of the unwanted items were bagged up and saved for a few friends who couldn’t make it to the swap to look through. Once those friends went through the clothes, we donated the leftovers.

Tips for a successful clothing swap:

  • Establish clothing rules. Let guests know if you’re doing just clothing or if shoes and accessories are welcome. And remind guests not to bring undergarments or lingerie!
  • Determine the location. This influences the size of the swap. Our location was my house which is small so 8-10 attendees was the limit. Our next swap will probably be larger so we’ll probably meet in a larger home!
  • Organize items. This makes it simpler as you’re going through clothing plus it keeps the swap area more organized.
  • Decide how to go through items. We went through everything together but it may be necessary for a larger swap for everybody to look through the clothing separately.
  • Have a full length mirror. This makes it more fun since it feels more like shopping and you can really see what dresses and pants look like on you.
  • Agree on what to do with leftovers. The easiest thing is to donate everything but it’s possible guests may want their items that aren’t taken back.

Have you ever attended a clothing swap? If not, does it sound like a fun, frugal and green {it is recycling!} activity to do with your friends?

Rachel is a wife and mama to two under two. She blogs at Intentionally Simple about living a green, minimal and sustainable life.


  1. What a fun idea! We did a huge-scale version with our MOPS group. Items were limited to kids clothes and maternity plus accessories. There were about 50 moms there. I left with a new maternity wardrobe!

    1. How was this swap organized? Did you just bring stuff to share and take home what you wanted or were there tickets handed out to make it ‘fair’?

      I’ve talked with friends about doing a larger swap but involving a lot of people makes it seem much more complicated and necessary to have more ‘rules’ in place!

      And swaps are wonderful!

      1. We didn’t have tickets – it was just a first come first served kind of thing. We could each take 8 – 10 items and then wait until everyone had a chance then it was a free-for-all. We’ve done it twice and haven’t had issues!

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