Kellie’s Blog: Swap Party 101
Kellie’s Blog: Swap Party 101

More than a couple of people have asked me about how I throw a swap party. After throwing only two, I’m far from an expert on the subject and I’m sure there are people who do it way better than I do. But since I can’t tweet it in 140 characters or less, I thought I’d just do a quick blog on the subject just in case you want to try to pull one of these things off yourself.

First of all, I LOVE getting rid of stuff. Purging my closets gives me a sense of being high — sort of like closet bulimia, I guess. Anyway, I know a lot of people would just hold a big garage sale to get rid of it, but I am not one of those people. I don’t want to spend a week getting the garage cleaned out and then set back up for the sale. I don’t want to put little price stickers on everything only to have people argue with me that something I marked ten cents is only worth a nickel. And I’ll never forget that day when I was helping my mother with her garage sale and a man paid for something with a folded one dollar bill. I opened it up to find a sticky booger inside. I looked up at him in shock and disgust while he looked right back at me like, “Oh, yeah? What are you gonna do about it?” Yeah. He did that. That was my last garage sale ever.

So what about consignment? First, you have to get everything dry-cleaned before you take it up there, and the WORST is when they look down their long, bespectacled noses and deem your stuff unworthy to be sold at their fancy-schmancy consignment store.

I have a lot of friends with daughters who are younger than Emma Kelly, who somehow manages to outgrow everything she owns within a season. I would much rather have those little girls benefit from her barely-worn hand-me-downs than make a couple dollars off a closet full of consigned clothes. And then I realized my own closet was filled with shoes I bought on sale but never wore and dresses that I finally have to admit look like crap on me…Then I thought about those wedding gifts buried in the recesses of  kitchen cabinets that haven’t been used since they were gifted to me nine years ago. And then I noticed that drawer full of unwatched DVDs and the shelf full of books I’m never going to read. And suddenly I felt like I was suffocating from all this STUFF. So that’s when I decided to throw a swap party.

I went online to get some ideas and it seems like most women who do this do it super small. They invite maybe four or five friends who each bring four or five things. Usually, it’s just clothing. And for each item you bring, you get to swap for one thing. So if you bring four things, you swap for four things. And to keep it really fair, the girls draw numbers to see who goes first, second, third and so on. But if two girls just so happen to love the same thing, they each try it on, the other girls vote, and whoever looks best in it wins. Seriously?? I would be so pissed if I lost out in that duel. So I decided my swap party was going to be nothing like that.

I invited everybody I thought would enjoy something like this. I told them to bring everything they wanted to get rid of plus a bottle of wine. We piled everything on tabletops, hung the rest on borrowed clothing racks, started popping bottles and then let the free-for-all begin. There wasn’t one instance of people fighting for the same thing and some of those girls walked away with some REALLY amazing stuff. Whatever was left — which wasn’t a lot! — was all boxed and bagged up and it’s ready for me to haul off to charity.

The plan is to hold a swap party twice a year — in the spring and in the fall, right when the seasons are changing and we’re going through our closets anyway. It’s a great big crazy mess with no organization whatsoever along with lots of wine and conversation. But it works for us! And that’s how I throw a swap party.