Saturday, February 18, 2012

Clothing Swap Party

I recently had my Second Annual Clothing Swap. Food was made and eaten, closets were cleaned, clothing was swapped, and a good time was had by all! I guess I should start by explaining the concept behind the party. It started last spring when I was needing to get rid of a lot of clothes. Some was simply not quite the style anymore, and I had no qualms about sending that stuff to Goodwill, I just had to get around to it. (And you know, those round tuits are often very hard to come by.) I also had a lot of clothes that had gotten too big, but that I still really liked. Those would be harder to get rid of. I had some friends I thought might enjoy some of those items, and I felt it would be easier to let go of them if I knew they were going to a good home.

Then, while surfing the web, I found the idea of a clothing swap. Some people get really crazy about it, assigning point values to items based on how desirable they are, or declaring that you will leave the party with the same number of items as you brought, like it or not. I'm way simpler than that. I invited a bunch of girls (wide range of sizes, wide range of styles, but all within ten years of my age) to come and bring whatever clothes and accessories they didn't want taking up space in their closets any more. We'd all go through all the stuff, and whatever didn't get taken was getting loaded up in a car and going straight to Goodwill. If there were things that multiple people wanted, we'd have a little fashion show and see who it looked best on!

As I said, this was the second year of doing it, and almost all of last year's attendees came, along with some new ones. (One girl even brought her mom!) I put a few boxes on the coffee table to contain some of the smaller items, such as purses, scarfs, belts, and jewelry. Shoes went underneath the table. (We had a separate area in the foyer for people to leave their own purses and shoes!) Two different girls had hanging racks, which they brought, which made a good place for dresses and skirts. The skirts that didn't fit on the racks were just draped over a chair, and we sorted through everything, making stacks of shirts, tank tops, pants, and shorts. After we all sorted our stuff out (and got a preliminary glance at everyone else's goodies), we moved on to the food!

The night before, I had set up the table, so it took less than a half hour of prep that morning to get everything on the table. I put all the serving dishes where they would wind up. (Extra points to anyone who recognizes my candle vignette that was on the coffee table last month. I just moved it to the dining room table so we'd have space on the coffee table, but I wouldn't have to take the time to put all those candles away.) The cracker boxes are sitting next to the plate that will hold the crackers, and the hummus bowl that will fill that empty space is filled and waiting in the fridge. All my refrigerated items are gathered together on the same shelf, my nonrefrigerated items and the tools I'll need to prep the food are together on the counter, and the glasses are all set up on a large tray. (I have discovered that if my glasses and drink pitchers are on a tray, I wind up with a lot fewer damp spots and tea stains on the tablecloth.)

The morning of the swap, I pulled the hummus out of the fridge, put my sliced pita and ciabatta on the tiered server, poured dipping oil in the individual bowls, slathered some jalapeno jelly on some brie cheese, wrapped it in phyllo, and popped it in the oven to warm, and made some little caprese bites I found on the ever-useful Pinterest. My sis-roomie helped with pouring the dipping oil and piling the breads on the serving dish, but even had I been working alone, the prep would have taken under an hour, and everyone loved the food. (At the far end of the table are some drinks, crackers, and dip that some of the attendees brought.)

By the way, the pictures of caprese bites I found on Pinterest were really fancy looking, but I just used chunks of Roma tomatoes, torn sections of basil leaves, and fresh mozzerella "pearls" (fancy way of saying pre-made chunks), and mine were just as pretty in the serving dish as those fancy ones!

After we had some food, we moved on to trying on all sorts of different items of clothing. The great thing about a party like this is that you can try out something that may be a step outside of your usual style without worrying about wasting money! I saw a couple items from last year's swap reappear this year, and no one got any hurt feelings. We all just were thrilled about our newly cleaned closets and our fun few finds!
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