How to Throw a Clothing Swap

The clothing swap has been done many times before in so many different ways. There can be organized clothing swaps with friends, bringing 'grab bags' of clothes to work or just swapping items from your closet. But the goal of a traditional, organized, clothing swap is to take unworn or unwanted clothes that have been collecting dust in your closet and trade them in for new clothes from others.

Last month, I hosted my first clothing swap at home with a few friends. It was great to come together to share some of our old clothing pieces that we were able to trade to be new to someone else. Friends brought dresses, skirts, pants, sweaters, jewelry, shoes - pretty much everything you could buy for your wardrobes. It was great to get the opportunity to recycle unworn items (especially those items that you repeatedly say "i could wear this again", but don't), share the purpose behind the clothing swap and revamp daily items.

Now you can host your own clothing swap too! It's one of the easiest ways to practice clothing recycling + responsibly style!


  •  It's a unique way to repurpose and recycle items that you do not wear anymore.
  • Helps get us away from the cyclical viewpoint of "i could wear this one day", but the item continues to go unworn.
  • It allows us to compliment and encourage one another in our wardrobe choices.
  • Adds new pieces to our wardrobe that feel new (even though it's recycled) without spending any money.
  • Helps prevent waste!


  1. Plan out your guest list of friends, family, coworkers, etc.
    the more the merrier, but note that with a larger group, there will typically have to be more rules/organization in order to have a fair swap
  2. Plan out and organize the time of the swap and the rules
    Planning the time needed and your own rules (based on your group) ahead of time will help the night run smoothly.
    Some rules to consider : how many people shop the clothes at one time, how many pieces everyone should choose, etc. See more tips below.

  3. Choose a date and send out an invite through email or resource like Paperless Post
    When choosing the date, try to plan a few weeks in advance so attendees can have time to think about which items they'd like to bring. 
    tip : choose a time period right before a changing season as people are more likely to want to get rid of items that they did not wear over the last few months. Giving notice for this timeline also prepares others to not give away clothes ahead of the swap!
  4. Host the swap!
    Have fun with this! Have everyone brings snacks, drinks, etc and make it a fun night to share wardrobes and encourage one another in each attendee's personal styles!
  5. Donate any clothes, shoes or accessories that are leftover
    This can be to your local Goodwill, Salvation Army, or other local clothing charities. In Richmond, we have another location called Dress for Success that takes formal + work wear items to provide professional attire to those in need.
  6. Enjoy your revamped closet of free + repurposed items!
    And host another one next season!


The rules can vary based on how you want to run your own personal clothing swap with your own style! Some helpful rules would be...

  • A clothing minimum + limit to the amount of clothes each attendee brings to the swap. For mine, the minimum was 5 pieces and the max was 20 - this helped ensure that at least enough clothes would be brought to trade around and not too many that it would become overwhelming.
  • Recommend attendees bring items that they feel other's would be proud to wear. Ripped, dirty items might not be the best choices for your friends!
  • If there is a large group of people at the swap, I recommend shopping in groups - possibly picking with straws or numbers so that the clothing choices go smoothly and less competition to get popular items! This is especially helpful when not everyone knows each other in the group.
  • Each person should, first, shop the amount of items brought to the swap to let others choose fairly. For example, if a friend brings 10 items, they should only be taking 10 items home. (Unless there are clothes left over after everyone shops!) 

Find more clothing swap resources and tips on Pinterest