Organising a Clothes Swap

Sunday, September 30, 2012

These trousers are from a clothes swap.
They're from Warehouse, brand new with the tags still in.

Having mentioned a clothes swap in my last post I've been asked for tips on how to organise one, I'm no expert but I'm more than happy to share my experiences.

The basic idea of a swap is to ask people to bring along good quality clothes to swap. If someone brings 5 items, they can take five items away with them but if they want to take more then five items they pay a set amount for each extra item.

The first clothes swap I went to was held by a friend of mine, it was at her house so it was for friends only. She sent out on invite via Facebook, set up some clothes rails in her dining room and waited for people to arrive. She asked for a £2.00 admission fee, which went to her chosen charity, and also made cakes to sell. She set the extra item price at £2.00.

The two clothes swaps that I have organised have been open to anyone. I'm lucky enough to have a venue with plenty of parking that I can use for free, access to a number of clothes rails and a network that helps me advertise and spread the word, not to mention plenty of willing helpers on the day.

I run these for a local charity so I'm able to put details on it's website, I create a public event on it's facebook page and tweet from it's twitter account. I also make posters and ask everyone I know to put them up at their place of work, in local shops, in their cars. A friend works at the local paper and for the most recent swap we had a mention in the local news.

I ask for £3.00 admission and stipulate a maximum of ten items per person to avoid people turning up with any old tat. A lady makes and donates the most delicious cakes for us to sell and we have the facilities to provide tea and coffee too. A seating area so that people can sit, have a cuppa, a piece of cake and a natter really helps the atmosphere of the swap and encourages people to linger. I set up a makeshift fitting room so people can try things on, often this gets people chatting and complimenting each other.

I found that two hours is long enough, most people will turn up at the beginning and hang around to see what people bring. I ask that people bring items on hangers but very few do, so having extra hangers is essential. If things are clean, ironed and hung nicely people are more likely to want them. I have included shoes and accessories but to be honest no one has ever taken any shoes, bags and scarves seem to do well but jewellery doesn't.

I was lucky enough to have all of the left over items from my friend's clothes swap to use as 'stock' for my first swap, I think it really helps to have some items ready and waiting for when the first swappers arrive.

So, there you have it, I think I've covered everything. I hope this helps!


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  1. Great tips! I've always wanted to organise a clothing swap! I think they're such great ideas.

    1. They're really good fun and you get a sneak peek into other peoples wardrobe's ;-)

  2. This is such a great way to make money for a charity and becoming so popular too. If I had more time I would see about organising one locally. Maybe that can be something for next year for me to do. If I do I will most certainly ask for some advice.

    X x

    1. Feel free to ask, I'd be happy to help. As long as you have a venue and a good way to spread the word most of the work is done. On the day things seem to pretty much run themselves

  3. Great tips! I held a clothes-swap once, though it was a very informal one- held at my friend's house. I was lucky because I had a lot of items to bring along because a very elegant lady, who I didn't know, God rest her soul, had died and I'd met her husband when staying with his relatives who are my friends and when he went through her clothes, he remembered me and sent me a large parcel of her clothes in the post- there were Jaeger, Alexon, Kaliko and Austin Reed clothes and I actually ended up giving these to friends through the Clothes-swap party. I never knew how expensive clothes were from those shops until recently, so I'm glad I had lots of nice clothes to share!

    1. What a wonderful thing for him have done. And imagine hiw many people would have been thrilled by his generosity? I've been involved with a charity for about two years now and I am constantly and frequently surprised by people's generosity. It really restores faith in human nature.

  4. I'd love to go to a clothing swap, but my organising skills are low to say the least. Damn!

  5. hi hazel
    yes, i have you on the traveling scarf list!
    had a clothing swap for 10 last year, this year i am having a neighborhood one
    pretty ambitious and i am scared, but know it will be fun no matter what!


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