Over time, we accumulate things. Too many things. Did you know there’s a party for that very situation? It’s called a swap party. Besides being a fun excuse to get together and, well, party, it’s also eco-friendly and good for your wallet.
Finding the Right Time
Spring is a great time for swap parties, when people are making a push to separate the things they use from the things they do not. Also, give people plenty of warning. You’d hate to get invited the week after you donated all your old stuff to Goodwill.
Getting the Right People
Inviting guests can be a bit tricky, particularly if you’re swapping clothes, which people generally do. There needs to be some similarity in people’s style. Not that everyone needs to be a size 12 and into florals. There can be ranges. But there also needs to be significant overlap. Otherwise, no one’s stuff is going to suit anyone else.
This also means the more people, the better. Your chances of finding someone with the same style as yours increases as the number of participants grows. That does mean a big party, so plan accordingly.
What to Bring?
Make it clear on the invite what kinds of items are welcome. Is this just for clothes? Make sure they’re gently used. Appliances? Kids toys? Sports equipment? If everyone has their own idea of what to bring, it might be difficult for others to find something they want. Also, consider space limitations. Few people can handle twelve beach balls in their living room.
Informality is Key
This isn’t an auction (unless, I suppose, you really want it to be) nor a competition. Everyone brings their goods to the event where they can be casually examined and selected. If two people have their eye on the same piece, it’s ultimately up to the owner who it goes to, but usually people are pretty civil about it. I mean, these are your friends, after all. They aren’t strangers.
If you want to add a little order to your evening, everyone can draw numbers and take turns selecting items. In that case, you’ll want to limit everyone to taking home no more items than the number they brought.
Some swap parties also become crafting parties as people decide to make alterations to their newly found treasures. If that’s the direction you want to go, you’ll need to do more planning so supplies will be within easy reach without being tripped over.
Don’t Forget the Party!
This, like many parties, is ultimately an excuse for friends to get together and enjoy each other’s company. There are memories attached to some of the goods up for grabs. Share them!
And swapping items certainly doesn’t have to be the only activity at the event. Everyone could step away and have dinner together, or they can munch on snacks as they consider what to swap. Throw in a favorite movie in the background. Open a bottle of wine.
Swap parties are a great way of spending a night with friends while clearing out your closets. So gather up last year’s fashions and a plate of appetizers, and settle in for a fun night of swapping.