Author Topic: 90% of my wardrobe is $0, new-to-me, and changes every 6 months!  (Read 6560 times)

lifejoy

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Cross-posted from my journal:

Here's something you should consider doing if you like fashion but don't like paying for it: CLOTHING SWAPS!

I do about four swaps a year, bi-annually in two locales. That way we get to do winter/summer, and it gives people about 6 months to go through all their stuff.

How does it work? First, invite all your girlfriends. I use Facebook and create an event, but when I moved to a new city and knew no one, I used meetup.com. Tell your friends that they can bring their girlfriends too!

**Make it a potluck.** Not only does this possibly help you stretch your food budget (because the leftovers are yours!) it really creates a party atmosphere.

I find 1-4pm on the weekend works best. Plan it far in advance - it helps if people have a couple months to prepare.

Put aside all of your own clothes that don't fit, don't look good, or you're just never wearing. Start a small bag in your closet. Go through clothing, shoes, accessories, gently used makeup. Also small housewares etc can be collected. Anything in good condition that you think someone else might like to have. And books! Don't forget books :)

All of the invitees being their gently used items. You can throw it all into one big pile, but I tend to organize by sections: pants, skirts, tshirts, nice tops, long sleeved and sweaters, dresses, jackets, winter wear, shoes, accessories, miscellaneous, books. You get the picture. It helps if the person hosting has a big space (but I've done it in small!) and a mirror. If they're located in a central and easily accessible spot, more people are likely to come.

Then its first come, first served. I've probably been to ten of these, and I've found that people are very good at sharing and no drama. There's a lot of, "Oh, you're looking for cardigans? Try this one!!" and "Hmm if you don't like that one, can I try it after you?"

Nobody goes home empty handed, and we all have slightly cleaner closets. All leftovers get donated to women's shelters, so it's a charity event too!

Clothing swaps are super fun because they cost $0 and it has encouraged me to try on styles I normally wouldn't. DO IT! Don't tell me you don't know enough people - I've had attendees from age 12-45, so think broadly and don't worry so much about sizes. Accessories and shoes fit most people.

Ahhh so fun! I hope I've inspired someone :) Let me know if you have any questions. I just had a super small swap; only three guests, but as you can see I got quite a pile out of it! And it's easier to get rid of stuff from your closet when you know it's going to a good home. Enjoy :)

Cookie78

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Re: 90% of my wardrobe is $0, new-to-me, and changes every 6 months!
« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2015, 10:04:16 AM »
I really enjoy clothing swaps and highly recommend them. We have girls nights every couple months and include clothing swaps twice a year. We had one this weekend and my goal was to get rid of many items (about 40) and come home with few items. I managed to find a really cute top that fit great and a pair of jeans that fit mostly ok, but is a little big in the waist (small waist proportional to my thighs, it's a common problem for me). I'm hoping it will fit fine with a belt. If not, it'll end up at the next clothing swap. I had a pair of jeans wear out a week ago and was down to one remaining pair, so it's worth trying these ones out.

lifejoy

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Re: 90% of my wardrobe is $0, new-to-me, and changes every 6 months!
« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2015, 10:08:04 AM »
I really enjoy clothing swaps and highly recommend them. We have girls nights every couple months and include clothing swaps twice a year. We had one this weekend and my goal was to get rid of many items (about 40) and come home with few items. I managed to find a really cute top that fit great and a pair of jeans that fit mostly ok, but is a little big in the waist (small waist proportional to my thighs, it's a common problem for me). I'm hoping it will fit fine with a belt. If not, it'll end up at the next clothing swap. I had a pair of jeans wear out a week ago and was down to one remaining pair, so it's worth trying these ones out.

Quality over quantity, am I right? I love that clothing swaps make me constantly assess whether the items in my closet are up to snuff or not. :)

Cookie78

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Re: 90% of my wardrobe is $0, new-to-me, and changes every 6 months!
« Reply #3 on: June 01, 2015, 10:13:55 AM »
I really enjoy clothing swaps and highly recommend them. We have girls nights every couple months and include clothing swaps twice a year. We had one this weekend and my goal was to get rid of many items (about 40) and come home with few items. I managed to find a really cute top that fit great and a pair of jeans that fit mostly ok, but is a little big in the waist (small waist proportional to my thighs, it's a common problem for me). I'm hoping it will fit fine with a belt. If not, it'll end up at the next clothing swap. I had a pair of jeans wear out a week ago and was down to one remaining pair, so it's worth trying these ones out.

Quality over quantity, am I right? I love that clothing swaps make me constantly assess whether the items in my closet are up to snuff or not. :)

Yeah. :) I also realized on Saturday while going through the closet that I had so many clothes I didn't even know what was in there. The shirts especially were stuffed so far back I'd never wear them because I never saw them. and I don't even have THAT many to begin with (about 40-50 shirts remaining*). I did pull out a few things from the back I hadn't worn in a long time (or ever) and kept them, but put them at the front where I'd see them. I wore one of them the very next day. It's still a work in progress.

Also amusing is the number of things that keep coming back to the clothing swaps after different people have adopted them for a few months before being ready to pass them on again to someone new. :)

*I'm not even sure. Is that a lot?

lifejoy

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Re: 90% of my wardrobe is $0, new-to-me, and changes every 6 months!
« Reply #4 on: June 01, 2015, 10:29:08 AM »
I really enjoy clothing swaps and highly recommend them. We have girls nights every couple months and include clothing swaps twice a year. We had one this weekend and my goal was to get rid of many items (about 40) and come home with few items. I managed to find a really cute top that fit great and a pair of jeans that fit mostly ok, but is a little big in the waist (small waist proportional to my thighs, it's a common problem for me). I'm hoping it will fit fine with a belt. If not, it'll end up at the next clothing swap. I had a pair of jeans wear out a week ago and was down to one remaining pair, so it's worth trying these ones out.

Quality over quantity, am I right? I love that clothing swaps make me constantly assess whether the items in my closet are up to snuff or not. :)

Yeah. :) I also realized on Saturday while going through the closet that I had so many clothes I didn't even know what was in there. The shirts especially were stuffed so far back I'd never wear them because I never saw them. and I don't even have THAT many to begin with (about 40-50 shirts remaining*). I did pull out a few things from the back I hadn't worn in a long time (or ever) and kept them, but put them at the front where I'd see them. I wore one of them the very next day. It's still a work in progress.

Also amusing is the number of things that keep coming back to the clothing swaps after different people have adopted them for a few months before being ready to pass them on again to someone new. :)

*I'm not even sure. Is that a lot?

Lol this happens at my swaps, too!! It's fun to see the ones that get tried, and then given back to the pile. Like, oh, hello old friend.

I'm going to try the trick that happierathome reminded me about: you put all your clothes in a closet you don't normally use (spare room, or far side, or whatever). Whenever you wear an item, it gets moved to your regular closet. Eventually, you will have a very visual representation of the clothes you never wear!!

ABC123

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Re: 90% of my wardrobe is $0, new-to-me, and changes every 6 months!
« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2015, 11:03:40 AM »
I've often wondered how this actually works.  What happens when one person brings in high end, name brand stuff and someone else brings stuff from the Kohls clearance rack?  Is it a one for one type of thing, where if you bring 5 items you can take 5 items? 

Cookie78

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Re: 90% of my wardrobe is $0, new-to-me, and changes every 6 months!
« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2015, 11:09:20 AM »
I've often wondered how this actually works.  What happens when one person brings in high end, name brand stuff and someone else brings stuff from the Kohls clearance rack?  Is it a one for one type of thing, where if you bring 5 items you can take 5 items?

I've heard of larger events in which you get tokens based on how many items you bring, and their quality, but I've never gone to anything like that.

The ones I like to go to are just with friends. There are no rules and no expectations. Sometimes some people don't bring anything, other times they don't take anything home. No one goes to trade in clothing one for one. They go to get rid of the stuff they aren't wearing, and to maybe get lucky and find something new they like. Usually there are a lot of things left over that end up being donated.

As for the quality of clothing question, I wouldn't know a high end name brand thing if it hit me in the face.

charis

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Re: 90% of my wardrobe is $0, new-to-me, and changes every 6 months!
« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2015, 11:17:07 AM »
What happens when one person brings in high end, name brand stuff and someone else brings stuff from the Kohls clearance rack? 

Does it really matter whether the quality of the clothing doesn't always match up?  People are bring stuff they don't want, and will only take something they DO want.

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Re: 90% of my wardrobe is $0, new-to-me, and changes every 6 months!
« Reply #8 on: June 01, 2015, 06:49:24 PM »
This is a great idea. Way to go!

lifejoy

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Re: 90% of my wardrobe is $0, new-to-me, and changes every 6 months!
« Reply #9 on: June 01, 2015, 07:14:06 PM »

I've often wondered how this actually works.  What happens when one person brings in high end, name brand stuff and someone else brings stuff from the Kohls clearance rack?  Is it a one for one type of thing, where if you bring 5 items you can take 5 items?

We've never done it with rules. It's a first come, first serve, free for all. I think the sheer amount of stuff helps prevent people clamouring for a single item. Somehow, it has always worked out *knock on wood*. People tend to try and bring a variety of clothes: nice options with tags still on that they just never wore and old favourites that they're tired of wearing.

And some people hardly take anything at all, they're so happy with their new-found closet space!

lifejoy

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Re: 90% of my wardrobe is $0, new-to-me, and changes every 6 months!
« Reply #10 on: June 01, 2015, 07:15:48 PM »

What happens when one person brings in high end, name brand stuff and someone else brings stuff from the Kohls clearance rack? 

Does it really matter whether the quality of the clothing doesn't always match up?  People are bring stuff they don't want, and will only take something they DO want.

Yep, it pretty much works out.

And if one person has a big pile of selections, they're often generous to the person that has only found two selections.

It's different than a sample sale, where everyone wants a good deal and you're all strangers. I've found the clothing swap atmosphere is very friendly and people are happy to share.

lifejoy

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Re: 90% of my wardrobe is $0, new-to-me, and changes every 6 months!
« Reply #11 on: June 01, 2015, 07:16:43 PM »

This is a great idea. Way to go!

Thanks! Got the idea from university. When all the students moved out of residence, there was a giant stuff swap held in a big room. Many international students would pack light when they left, so there was tons of stuff there. Good fun!

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Re: 90% of my wardrobe is $0, new-to-me, and changes every 6 months!
« Reply #12 on: June 02, 2015, 03:18:46 PM »
I've always thought about doing this with purses. I've accumulated a few through the years, thankfully none after discovering MMM. Quite a few of them are cute, small purses that really doesn't fit my lifestyle now but are still in great shape and some are higher end brands. We just moved to a new state so maybe once I've gotten to a know more people I can bring up the item of a swapmeet/potluck party.

lifejoy

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Re: 90% of my wardrobe is $0, new-to-me, and changes every 6 months!
« Reply #13 on: June 02, 2015, 03:26:02 PM »
I've always thought about doing this with purses. I've accumulated a few through the years, thankfully none after discovering MMM. Quite a few of them are cute, small purses that really doesn't fit my lifestyle now but are still in great shape and some are higher end brands. We just moved to a new state so maybe once I've gotten to a know more people I can bring up the item of a swapmeet/potluck party.

That's a super fun idea! I attended a clothing swap that was posted in a women-who-like-to-have-fun group on meetup.com. Even though we were all strangers, it worked out really well :)

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Re: 90% of my wardrobe is $0, new-to-me, and changes every 6 months!
« Reply #14 on: June 02, 2015, 06:04:05 PM »
I used to work in an office where a dozen or so women spent a LOT of money on purses and we organized a purse swap about once a quarter.  There weren't any rules and maybe that was a mistake as inevitably since we did it at the office in a conference room, a person or two would show up to "shop" and took items without bringing any to donate.  Consider the minimum rule of bring something to get something if you are doing it at the office instead of with friends.   It started as just purses but a culture developed of bringing anything in that was no longer wanted and that was nice.

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Re: 90% of my wardrobe is $0, new-to-me, and changes every 6 months!
« Reply #15 on: June 03, 2015, 06:51:50 AM »

I used to work in an office where a dozen or so women spent a LOT of money on purses and we organized a purse swap about once a quarter.  There weren't any rules and maybe that was a mistake as inevitably since we did it at the office in a conference room, a person or two would show up to "shop" and took items without bringing any to donate.  Consider the minimum rule of bring something to get something if you are doing it at the office instead of with friends.   It started as just purses but a culture developed of bringing anything in that was no longer wanted and that was nice.

Excellent point. It's important to give as good as you get!

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Re: 90% of my wardrobe is $0, new-to-me, and changes every 6 months!
« Reply #16 on: June 04, 2015, 11:25:27 AM »

Then its first come, first served. I've probably been to ten of these, and I've found that people are very good at sharing and no drama. There's a lot of, "Oh, you're looking for cardigans? Try this one!!" and "Hmm if you don't like that one, can I try it after you?"


I've gone to swaps with two different groups of friends.  My favorite part was the walk off for items that more than one person is interested in.  Typically one person tries on and it just doesn't fit right.  This doesn't work if they have the same size and body type, but coloring matters as well.  The rest at the party get to vote if it comes to that. 

The first one I went to you had a number that you could grab (the same as the number you brought).  When everyone had gone through, you could go again and get more than your number if you wanted.

lifejoy

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Re: 90% of my wardrobe is $0, new-to-me, and changes every 6 months!
« Reply #17 on: June 04, 2015, 05:26:32 PM »


Then its first come, first served. I've probably been to ten of these, and I've found that people are very good at sharing and no drama. There's a lot of, "Oh, you're looking for cardigans? Try this one!!" and "Hmm if you don't like that one, can I try it after you?"


I've gone to swaps with two different groups of friends.  My favorite part was the walk off for items that more than one person is interested in.  Typically one person tries on and it just doesn't fit right.  This doesn't work if they have the same size and body type, but coloring matters as well.  The rest at the party get to vote if it comes to that. 

The first one I went to you had a number that you could grab (the same as the number you brought).  When everyone had gone through, you could go again and get more than your number if you wanted.

Omg I love the "walk off" idea!! Totally gonna keep that in my back pocket :)