How to Clothes Swap

illustration of girls in red and black dressesClothes swapping is a great way to clean our your closet and get some new clothes in exchange, but without a little organization it can get a little confusing. Here are a few rules to remember.

If you’re hosting, make sure that you use an area that makes it easy for you to display the clothes, either folded on tables or hanging from racks.

Remind your guests that the items they bring should be clean and in good condition—no holes, rips or stains. Pre-arrange for the donation of clothes that don’t get swapped to a local shelter or non-profit—and make sure you know who’s driving them there. As with any party, have food, drinks and fun! With these rules in mind, here are three ways to organize a clothes swap.

Swapping is a sweet way to clean our your closet and get some new clothes in exchange, but without a little organization it can get a little confusing. Here are a few rules to remember.


Guests bring items and verbally broker the exchange. Here’s an example of how that would work:

“I love that dress.”

“Thanks! I paid $25 for it at H&M and just wore it once. I like your shoes.”

“These? I paid $50 for them, but they’re a little worn. Want to swap for the dress?”


So in this case, the swappers are negotiating the value of the clothes they brought, and what they want to exchange them for.


The host establishes a point system for items—i.e. one point for under $25, two points for $25-50, three for over $50, etc.—and tags items when the guest enters the swap. Tags can be color or number coded, and can be traditional clothing tags or even simple stickers.


The host gives the guest a ticket for each item she brings in; the guest can take out the same number of things that she brought in.

Inspired? I hope so! Why the Shop Drop Challenge? The average American woman spends $60 per month on clothes and dumps six pounds of textile waste into the trash. If we all got together for a shopping pause, we could save nearly $10 billion and one billion pounds of landfill waste. Yes, that’s billion with a b. We’re creating a community of women who have pledged to buy no new clothes or accessories for the 30 days of January and are inspired to thrift and swap their style this month!

Right now, there are 500 of us committed to a shopping pause this month, representing a savings of $30,000 and 3,000 pounds of textile waste diverted from the landfill. Amazing! Will you please share this post with your friends, so we can double those numbers? Thank you!

Throughout the month, I’ll be posting pictures of my recycled fashion finds here and on our Facebook page, and I’d LOVE to see what you’re wearing, too! Add your photos and descriptions there, Insta them or tweet them to me @RachelLSarnoff and I’ll post ‘em for you. You can also email me at info(at) Remember to hash tag #ShopDropChallenge!



  1. […] there are two primary ways to shop preloved: consignment store and thrift shop. (There’s also swapping with friends, which you can learn the different ways to organize by clicking here.) Consignment stores are typically more expensive and feature more designer labels. Thrift shops, […]

  2. […] Thanks to our sponsors Swapdom, OM Organic Mixology, Whole Foods Market West LA, Nothing Bundt Cake, Gurus Natural Rubber Sandals, Josie Maran Cosmetics, The Wonder Seed, Kuyam and Marquis Energy Drinks for making it all possible, and for Give Plus Take in Santa Monica, CA for letting us take over your amazing swap shop for the day. I hope our party inspires you to host a swap of your own! […]

  3. […] If you’re in Los Angeles, come visit me at Give + Take Swap Boutique, CA and ask for the Mommy Greenest discount, which gives new members four months at just $22.50 per month! And if you’re not, here’s a how-to post on how to set up a swap with your friends. […]

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