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BIS LIVES Blog

Why (and How) to Host a Clothing Swap

what is a clothing swap

What we buy and where it comes from matters.

Shopping is a Moral Act

Ethical shopping has become more of a hot-button issue as we’ve learned more and more how shopping is, as Pope Benedict XVI says, a moral act.

If we buy clothing from a company that sources their materials through harming the environment, we give our consent for our common home to be destroyed.

If we buy clothing from a company in which workers work in a dangerous environment or are given unjust pay for their labor, we ignore the needs of our sisters and brothers.

Our purchases affect others, so we as Catholics must do our best to uphold the dignity of our fellow man.

While there are many ethically-conscious companies out there, becoming an ethical consumer isn’t easy. For many, the price tag can be a big deterrent. But it doesn’t have to be! In fact, my wardrobe is made almost entirely of second-hand clothes, primarily from thrift stores.

However, some of the pieces I am most enamored with (and get the most compliments on) came from a clothing swap.

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How to Host a Clothing Swap

A clothing swap is an excellent way to add new pieces to your closet without breaking the bank. Plus, it’s simple to plan and fun for all who attend.

Follow these steps to host your own clothing swap:

1. Invite

Set a date and a time and get those invitations out! You can start small by inviting your Bible study or women’s group. Or you can extend the invitation to all the women in your parish.

Give your invitees detailed instructions from the start. Tell them to clean out their closets, drawers, and attics and pull out any gently used (and clean!) clothing and accessories they no longer want and get ready to swap!

2. Set the Room and the Mood

Make it easy for your guests to find the perfect pieces for their wardrobe by collecting the items beforehand and organizing them by type.

Set up a few full length mirrors and have changing room(s) available for people to try clothes on.

Finally, have some snacks and coffee (or wine) available.

The beauty of a clothing swap isn’t just in growing your wardrobe, but in the sisterhood it provides. Who doesn’t enjoy shopping with their girlfriends?

3. Swap!

Don’t start the swap right away. Keep it fair by giving those fashionably-late ladies a chance to arrive.

Give people canvas bags or a designated spot in the house to stack their findings while they peruse the piles or try stuff on.

Remind people to be generous with others and to keep the fighting over that cute blouse to a minimum. I’ve never seen someone leave a clothing swap empty-handed; there is enough cute pieces to go around.

And don’t worry if there are still clothes left after the swap! You can donate them to a local charity that collects clothes for the poor to spread that love a little farther.

A Clothing Swap is an Easy Way to Shop Ethically

And that’s all it takes! Just a few gal pals, a small space, and clothes you are ready to part with.

A clothing swap is a fun event that brings people together and enjoy time as a community of sisters. It motivates you to simplify your closet and your home, while also helping you save money on new pieces.

But, best of all, a clothing swap is a great way to help your community and build your wardrobe without compromising your morals or sacrificing the dignity of others to fast fashion companies.

Have you ever been to a clothing swap? What was your experience like?

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Carissa Pluta is a wife, mother, bookworm, and blogger currently living as a missionary in Birmingham, Alabama. She has Bachelor’s Degrees in English and Communication Arts and has a deep desire to create and cultivate beauty in everything she does. Carissa enjoys hiking, Paul Simon, and drinking copious amounts of herbal tea. You can find out more about her here.

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    Paola @ Swallow the World
    March 13, 2019 at 12:51 pm

    I think half of the clothes I own are from my cousins! I also use clothes from my mother and buy at thrift shops. When I do buy something new, it’s always from ethical brands. I have no problem paying a little more because I know I’ve already saved a lot of money by swapping and buying second hand 🙂 However, I’ve never organized a formal clothing swap with my friends and I think it would be super fun, and a great way to introduce them to sustainable living as well.

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