How to host a swap party

You might think the party season is over… but it’s just getting started! If you’re ready to get rid of unused items or switch up your wardrobe, a swap party could be a great way of replacing the old with the (kind of) new.

What is a swap party?

A swap party is exactly as it sounds! Get together with friends, family or the local community and swap items you no longer need with nearly new ones you’ll make more use of.

Clothing swaps are one of the most common types of swap party. But there’s nothing stopping you from swapping other items such as books, toys or household goods.

How can I host one?

1. Decide on the rules

Firstly, you need to know what can be swapped. Are you hosting a clothes-only swap party or are board games and gifts up for grabs too?

It’s a good idea to state what type of items you’re expecting people to bring. For example, are designer clothes or signed editions of books accepted? Is there a size or estimated price limit for homeware?

Be clear about what condition you’re expecting items to be in, too. Most swap parties expect guests to bring nearly-new items that have only been gently used. No one wants to take home a stained shirt or a board game with missing instructions!

2. Invite your guests

Smaller swap parties for friends and family can be great fun and are a lot easier to organise. Simply get together on a certain date and bring along anything you’ve agreed to swap. Why not ask each guest to bring a bottle with them, or some food to contribute to a potluck party buffet?

You might want to think big and get the community involved. You’ll need to hire out a local space for your swap party and promote the event. Establish what items you will and won’t accept so there are no surprises on the day! If you choose to accept lots of different types of items, you could create a designated area for each so guests can easily navigate to their preferred section.

3. Get swapping!

It’s up to you how you want to organise the event to make sure it’s fun and fair for everyone.

  • A ‘grab and go’ approach. Display everything and allow participants to simply take what they fancy. It may be a good idea put a maximum limit on the number of items a person can take, though.
  • Give participants a ticket for every item they bring. They can then use those tickets to ‘purchase’ other items at the swap.
  • Take turns. If you’re hosting a small do, simply roll a dice or toss a coin to decide who goes first. Then, each person at the party takes turns to choose their next item. This helps to keep things fair (and ensures all the good stuff can’t be snapped up by just one person).

4. Give to charity

Any remaining items that haven’t been swapped could be donated to charity. Just make sure you follow the charity’s donation guidelines and only donate items that are in good, clean condition. By making sure every unwanted item goes to a new home, you’ll be doing even more good!

Great things about a swap party

  • Reduce waste

Swap parties are all about promoting sustainability. Why throw away perfectly good items or let them languish in your cupboard when they could be given a new lease of life by someone else?

  • Save money

An item one of your friends or family no longer needs might be just what you’re looking for. Maybe it’s a new outfit or a board game you haven’t tried yet. Go for ‘new to you’ instead of splashing out on a brand-new item.

  • Socialise and have fun

Swapping clothes or other items gives you a great talking point. Whether you keep things low-key with an invite-only party or get the whole community involved, you’ll find organising and taking part in a swap party really good fun.

Saving a little can make a big difference

The average household spends around £17 on clothes and footwear every week. By swapping items, you’ll be able to refresh your wardrobe, your games cupboard or even household goods for free!

This allows you to start saving for the things you really need. It might be a holiday, a home improvement project or even a wedding fund. Our budgeting guide covers how to track and reduce your spending if you’re looking to keep a closer eye on your finances.

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Written by

Luke Hilton

Luke Hilton is a Warrington-based email content writer and designer in the financial services industry. He enjoys mixing analytics and creativity and can usually be found with his head buried in stats, piecing together the patterns that make good content. In his spare time, the drive to figure things out continues with what can only be described as a love-hate relationship with DIY. With a keen love of the outdoors, Luke is usually up a mountain somewhere or in his garden growing his own oasis.

Wednesday 10th January 2024