If you aren’t the type to have a garage sale or sell your gently used items online, I recommend you host a Swap Party! I have hosted a few before and now it’s become an annual event.
It’s an opportunity to see your friends and give away things that you once loved but no longer need. Your friends generally are in the same age group and life-stage as you, so the items they bring are usually really cool and easy for someone to love as much as you did. No need to be embarrassed about the cost or style of the item(s) you bring, no one will judge your taste and vice versa, and if they do, just say it was a gift! Re-gifting is totally allowed! The items should be clean, in good working order, undamaged and if you see it at your friends house, you won’t be embarrassed next time you visit her!
I don’t like including clothes, home made or other personal items, it’s difficult for your guests to have to try things on or tell your guest it’s not acceptable because of the condition. Purses and other ‘one size fits all’ accessories are acceptable. If you haven’t guessed yet, I usually invite only my lady friends!
Pick a theme to your party. I host ‘home & garden’ theme parties, so what’s expected is home or garden decor or even useful things like tools. Some of the items at my last swap party consisted of a crystal bowl, framed art, art photography, picture frames, screw driver set, a set of wine glasses, a jewelry box, garden hose holder, and so much more! Everyone was a little worried as to what to bring, but everything was interesting to look at and hear the story about each item. Create your own party or follow my guidelines;
I generally invite 20 or more women and they each bring one or two items maximum, have enough room/tables to display at least as many items as people. The items should be small enough to carry if someone came by transit or walking. I try to have the event in the summer when the weather is good so we can put everything outside in the garden. Some items don’t need to go on a table and some items like picture frames need to be propped up or hung up.
Everyone receives the same number of wood clothes pins as items they brought. Write the guests name on the clothespins with a marker. The swapping only starts once everyone has arrived, so make sure on the invitation it’s Once everyone has arrived and everyone gets a chance to see everything, they take their clothes pin (with their name on it) and ‘pin it’ on the item they want to take home! As you can imagine, some items are more desired than others. No taking someone’s pin off an item!
If an item gets ‘tagged’ twice or more, all names on that item go into a hat and a winner is randomly picked. The names that don’t get picked, get to put their clothes pin on another item and so on…everyone should go home with an item or two. If you’re the only pin on an item, you get it automatically!
I prefer holding it on a Saturday, midday. I have appetizers and beverages and even asked guests to bring a little nibble to share. It generally lasts for about 2-3 hours. Once the items get tagged, you’re guests are free to mingle with each other, eat, drink and be merry!
Sometimes bargaining goes on, people talking each other out of the item they’re both tagged on. Sometimes they let the other person have the item because they meet and like each other so much they just give in!
Some guests just want to donate items but don’t want to take anything home, and that’s ok. As host, I took it upon myself to take everything that was left behind to my local thrift store, or the bringer of the item could take it back with them. I like this type of casual get together where my all my friends from different parts of my life can finally meet, everyone was happy to receive a ‘new to them’ item and all were satisfied that we did our little part to save the environment in a fun and fabulous way!