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How to Host A Clothing Swap

How to Host A Clothing Swap

Starting the year off I’m always aching to fix my closet situation a little. Adding in more pieces without spending a fortune can be a challenge. However, shopping my friends closets is completely free! Every year we get together to have a clothing swap party. It is loads of fun and a perfect way to calm the house and quiet the closet for the new year. I love handing off items just as much as I love finding new gems.

Hosting your own clothing exchange is one of the easiest gatherings possible – all you need is a largish room, drinks and friends… particularly good friends with great fashion sense. ;). Here are a few details that make our event run seamlessly every year. I’m planning the next one soon and can’t wait to share photos of the fun.

How to Host A Clothing Swap


When setting up for the clothing exchange think about ways that you can hang everything possible up. Clothes will go much faster and are more appealing when friends can shop the racks, vs. the pile of clothes on the floor. We do this by bringing in a couple old ikea racks across the room and taping extra curtain rods onto the racks to hang clothes in rows between them. You could also do this with 2 dressers, really anything you have that would hold a curtain rod filled with clothes. We also normally have a table set out for accessories – from scarves to purses and shoes too! The nicer the clothes are laid out, the more fun the event can be.


It is my thoroughly researched, scientific conclusion that trying on clothing should never be done without a drink in hand. Certainly not after children. HA! Have a table set up with light eats and a party special cocktail drink, or a couple bottles of prosecco for everyone to enjoy. The night will garner plenty of laughs and fun, especially when friends are trying to convince each other why they should get to take home that gorgeous pink leather jacket.


We create a dressing room with the adjoining room to the party. I try not to use the bathroom for this since people just sometimes need to use the bathroom. And really who wants to be pulling up cute new jeans next to a toilet. Not me! Instead bring in mirrors from around the house and benches to make a private dressing spot for those who need it. Although many of our friends will just try on what they want in the open – it’s nice to have a space for the more privately inclined.


Think in advance about where you want to  donate the extra clothes. Many place will come and pick them up if you call in advance. We always have a few piles left that go to a local charity here in town. It’s a great way to have fun, freshen the closet, and give back all at once.

How To Host A Clothing Swap

A few rules we’ve put into place to keep everyone happy and having fun:

  1. You can take as many clothing items as you’ve brought. Although most friends bring bins full so it doesn’t really matter too much… But no-one can bring one shirt and leave with ten.
  2. If two people want the same item, they must first each try it on. Then the rest of the room votes on who should get it based mostly on knowing their style and how often they will actually wear the piece.
  3. If you try something and don’t love it you have to hang it back up – as an attempt to avoid that huge pile on the floor. After all it’s my house… not Ross on a Sunday. :)


Have you gone to one of these before? Did you love it? If you have any other tips while I’m planning this year’s swap, I’d love to know. Happy swapping… may your closet be full and your wallet not be empty this year!


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