How to Organize the Best Clothing Swap Party Ever

A closet full of trendy clothes that fit your kids and your budget doesn’t have to be  just a fantasy. It can be your reality with a clothing swap!

Like its name suggests, it’s a party where attendees swap clothes. Nothing’s off limits, so you can trade a sweater that no longer reaches your son’s wrists for a pair of new-to-you jeans that fit your daughter’s waist.

But before you call up all your friends, keep scrolling. The best parties are prepared in advance, and these tips will help you plan the greatest swap yet.

1. Establish some ground rules

Before you send out your invitations, you’ll want to set some rules about how you want your swap to go. Since the aim is to lower how much you spend on children’s clothes, the obvious first rule is that your guests must bring kids’ clothes. But you’ll want to address other items, including accessories, outdoor gear, and shoes.

Some other factors you’ll want to think about include:

  • How many items must each guest bring?
  • Does every item swap one for one, or will you set up a tiered system so more expensive items (like winter jackets and sweaters) are worth more than shorts and tank tops?
  • Will you invite parents with children of all ages, or will you keep the guest list to parents with kids in the same age group?

2. Keep things organized

Without any rhyme or reason, a clothing swap can spiral into chaos. Before you know it, invitees toss all their old goods into the pile of “new” clothes they’re rifling through. The resulting mess can look as bad as the bottom of your kid’s closet. And you know how hard it is to find things in a disorganized closet.

If you don’t keep things organized, you and your guests may pass over some incredible finds.

Before the party starts, give each of your guests some space to arrange their items. Ask them to lay them out or fold them neatly, so it’s easy to see what they have.

3. Have an exit strategy

It doesn’t matter how successful your clothing swap is, there’s bound to be some pieces left behind. If your guests don’t want to bring back any of their old items home along with their new ones, you’ll be left with a few bags of clothing.

If you don’t want anything that remains, you can:

Donate them

Fold and organize the remaining items in bags and deliver them to a clothing drive. If you choose an IRS-qualified charity, you’ll be able to get a tax deduction for your donation.  

Sell them

You put in all the hard work of organizing the swap — you might as well get a reward in the form a paycheck. Rather than dropping the unwanted pieces at a local charity, take them to a consignment shop.

If there isn’t one near you, make an online listing for each piece on one of these apps. Itemizing each one will take a little longer than dumping the whole lot at a store, but it could pay off if there are interested buyers.

4. Factor in savings

Although it may be tempting to use up this extra cash right away, consider putting it in a savings account. Back to school season will be here sooner than you realize.

Between all the new clothes, shoes, and classroom supplies, this can be one of the most challenging times of the year for your budget. Most families end up spending an average of $510 on each child.

You may be able to cover this without using an installment loan when you have savings set aside, but don’t panic if you still need to use an online loan for extra help. If unexpected supplies or participation fees throw off your budget, it can help you cover these bills right away.

Online loans like installment loans and lines of credit are ideal for unexpected bills you can’t ignore. They aren’t, however, an excuse to splurge on catering and decorations for your clothing swap.

In some cases, you can receive financing even if you don’t have good credit. Your credit score and how it affects your options is some of the most important information to know when borrowing, so make sure you research your online loan options carefully.

The average family spends roughly $1,800 a year on clothes. You, on the other hand, might spend a lot less once you organize several clothing swaps each year. Use these tips to help organize your first of many, and see how much you can and your friends can save.