Wednesday, May 8, 2019

What Is A Clothes Swap?

Hello Readers. I thought I would do something a little different today. I went to a clothes swap this past weekend and I thought I would tell you all about it. I thought these were held in every community and town but some of you have told me you don't have them where you are. I thought I would explain what a clothes swap is in more detail.

 Resting after the swap. 

This swap is an annual event and it is the biggest in my area by far. This swap is at a church and they use it as an opportunity to reach out and get involved with their community. When I arrived they had already started. There is a tent set up outside to provide covered seating while you wait your turn to go inside. They let us enter in groups and gave us all the same size bag to use so it would be fair for everyone. Each group gets 20 minutes to "shop". You can't try anything on so you go pretty fast.
(The time limit and the bags are to prevent people from taking extreme amounts and reselling it later. I didn't even know that was a thing.)

Here is a look at how they were set up. The clothes were dropped off the week before, checked for cleanliness, and organized by size and type. It takes time and volunteers to do all off this ahead of time. I can drop off whatever my family doesn't need or want one week and pick up some things we can use the next. That is the "swap".

Photo by PBC
The organizers were on hand to help people find the type of clothes they were looking for and assist people that needed extra help.These swaps are a huge blessing to large families, college students, and anyone on a limited income.

Photo by PBC
When our time was up we left the big room and went out to a lobby area with seating,  and tables with coffee, juice, pastries and such. It was a nice treat for everyone. They also had information about services they had to offer; classes, support groups, summer camps, health screenings, and more.

Those tables were covered with donuts.
As we left there was a second tent that had furniture available. I didn't go in there but I thought it was a great idea.

When I got home everything got washed immediately.
 I never take things that don't look fresh and clean but I still wash everything. If I can't wash it, I don't take it. I haven't had any problems with anything I have ever taken but I do not take any chances. It's all getting soaped up. And I don't take things like socks, underwear, bras, or swimsuits. I just don't want those kind of personal items.

I sorted everything by color and washed/dried it like any other laundry. It was a lot of laundry in one day but it was worth it. I felt better that it was all washed right away. And it was all free! It saves a lot of unwanted clothes from going in landfills. That is great too.

These are some of the brands I found at the swap. I taught myself how to sew by using clothes from swaps and thrift stores and refashioning them for myself and my kids. I found it was cheaper than buying fabric and making clothes with a pattern. And when I messed up, it wasn't such a huge blow to my wallet.

I have been to smaller swaps in smaller buildings. I went to one that took over a community building's small basement with tables of folded clothes. Another church spread all the clothes over the backs of all the pews. I organized a very small swap at my house a few years ago. About a dozen friends came over and we put clothes all over my living and dining rooms. I made a pot of coffee, we traded what we wanted and took the extras to a charity donation site.
Thanks for reading along, see you next time with another refashion project.
 ***Year End Update- I am still going to any swap I can find. I have a good one coming up this weekend.


mycardattic said...

What a fantastic idea! We don't have that where I live, but I don't know about the rest of the UK? We have what is called, 'jumble sales' or 'car boot' sales. The jumble sales are just donated items that people can buy and the money goes to churches or schools (whoever has organised it), and the car boot sales are similar, I believe, to your garage sales. People load up their cars with things they want to get rid of (sell), and drive to a field and then put all their stuff out for people to buy (they are usually charged an 'entrance fee' for taking the car in. Mostly though at jumble sales and car boots it's junk! However, we do have 'charity shops', which, I believe you call thrift shops! Thank you for an interesting post! Hazel x

I Can Work With That said...

Hi Hazel,
It sounds very similar to what we have here. I like thrift stores too. And it's great that the money is going to a good cause.
Happy Sewing to you!