Monday, April 16, 2012

My Clothing Swap

On Sunday, I hosted a clothing swap for some friends. While it was a small event, it went smoothly and I think I will do another one at some point. Here’s how I set it up and what I’ll do different next time.

The huge clothing rack - Next
time I'll take a pic with it full
of clothes
The Details
  • I recruited a friend to co-host the swap with me.  I decided to do this because I wanted to have lots of people at the swap and I figured a co-host was the best way to meet that goal (plus I knew this was the type of event that my friend would like to do). In the end, most of the co-hosts’ friends couldn't make it but it was still great having her there, to help with the set-up and clean-up.
  • The swap was held in my condo, a location that I would use again unless a ton of people RSVPed. If that were to happen, I would move the event to my building’s party room, which has a lot more space (but doesn’t really have any furniture, a problem I’d have to figure out a solution to).
  • We picked a Sunday afternoon for the swap because that was a day we both had free and because that day gave me plenty of time to clean and prep my place. While I would consider hosting a future swap on a Saturday afternoon, I don’t think I’d one to run one of these events on a week day. There’s just too much set-up involved. 
  • We encouraged people to bring not just clothes but also shoes, bags and accessories. While we did end up being a bit light on non-clothes items, future clothing swaps will still encourage guests to bring that kind of stuff since almost everyone said that they had accessories they wanted to give away.
  • We also encouraged people to bring friends. This area was a complete fail but maybe now that my friends have attended one clothing swap at my place, they’ll be more comfortable bringing a friend (or friends) to the next one.
  • To fuel the swapping, we had on hand a bunch of snacks, as well as a rum-based punch, as well as non-alcoholic beverages. We actually had too much food, since some of the guests also brought snacks, but better too much than too little.
  •  My one friend let me borrow her massive clothing rack. While carrying it from her house to mine was a literal pain, it was well worth it. Any future clothing swaps I have will hopefully be using this thing again.
  • Before people arrived, I came up with a plan to keep things organized:  tops on the kitchen table; bottoms on the couch; shoes and jewellery on the coffee table; bags and other stuff on the chairs; coats, dresses and anything special on the clothing rack. I explained this system to everyone who walked in the door and overall it worked quite well.
  • As you can see from the picture on the right, we had a ton of stuff leftover. This didn't really surprise me since we had a wide range of sizes and styles present. All of it will hopefully find a new home through Goodwill.

Things I’ll Do Differently Next Time
  • In the invite for my next swap, I'm going to include a start time, when people can start showing up, and a “swap time” when the actual swapping part will begin.  I think this will make things a bit fairer, plus let everyone know how the swap will work.
  • While the turnout was OK, it could have been bigger. I'm not sure how to fix this. Make more friends before I host another swap?
  • Next time, I’ll have a stack of hangars available as well as more seating (I thought people would take off after they picked out their stuff but nope, they stuck around).
I actually didn’t pick that much stuff up at the swap but I’m more than OK with that since I did get handful of items, including a nice new jacket and, more importantly, got rid of a ton of stuff that I was no longer wearing. Plus, having to make my place swap ready means that now it’s nice and clean.

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