Clothes Swaps- Perfect Way to Get Free Clothes and Declutter

Would you believe me if I told you that not only did I declutter and get rid of 4 giant garbage bags filled with clothes that were never used and just took up room in our house, but I also got all this clothes for the family, absolutely free?

How's that?
A clothes swap!

My friends Ewa and B arranged a clothes swap for women's and children's clothes. 
What does that mean?
It means that people declutter and purge their closets. Then, instead of simply passing on their clothes to Goodwill, they arrange a get together where everyone brings their cast offs, and everyone else does as well. Then, you "shop" through the clothes, find what you want, and take it home. Simple as that.

What Ewa did was invite a whole bunch of frugal friends to the swap, which was held at B's house. People came, brought their clothes, and then the clothes was sorted- women's shirts one place, skirts and dresses another, hats and accessories in another, shoes in another, little boys clothes in another, little girls clothes in another, older boys clothes in another, and older girl's clothes in another. Some people also brought some random odds and ends like tablecloths, etc...

After everything was sorted out, people looked through to see what stuff they wanted. There were lots of great stuff there- stuff weren't being given away because they were bad (in most cases), sometimes it was because they were the wrong style for the person, or it didn't fit properly on them (because of losing or gaining weight), or because the kids outgrew them. And sometimes it was just because they had too much clothes, so gave away the stuff they wore less often.

Before I went, Mike wanted to know what would happen if two people spotted the same thing and both wanted it. 
"We work it out, we're adults. We're not first graders. We can figure out a solution."

Well, one time there was two people wanting the same item. But the person who got it first got it, and everyone was fine with that.

What I thought was coolest was how people were ooh-ing and ahh-ing over clothes that I hadn't worn in forever, or that weren't my taste, but they were thrilled to have those clothes.

Its best when arranging something like this to have a bunch of people who wear different styles, so that you can find someone who likes clothes whose style you don't like. Same goes for body type- its best if you have people with a range of body types, so that its not "one large person" trying to find something to take home when all the clothes are size 00 or visa versa.

Clothes left at the end of the swap get donated to charity.

So, what did I get?
Well, remember how I was talking about my wardrobe being all black? I combated that a bit today and got some color, and picked up some new cute clothes for myself and my kids..

4 shirts, one long sleeve, and three short sleeves and sleeveless, which I intend to layer. 

One long grey skirt, and a grey nursing nightgown.

6 colorful scarves, one leather belt (that needs some fixing), and a peach tablecloth.

For the boys, mostly one size up from what Lee is wearing now, but also some stuff in Ike's size-

6 pairs of long dress pants, and one suit.

2 pairs of casual shorts, and 3 pairs of long causal shirts.

4 dressy button down shirts.

1 cute shiny tutu type thing, or what I call a "fairy skirt", to use to dress up Anneliese as a fairy or similar..

But you know what my absolute favorite score was???

Remember my lament about shoes and shoe shopping in my country?

Well, I did end up buying shoes here. For 100 dollars. And I didn't even like them. They were an icky style, and they had a heel, but I wore them because I needed something other than Crocs. But I really didn't like them.
And it got me sad.
Shoe shopping makes me cry.
Shoes are a really sore subject here.
(For the record, my expensive shoes didn't last any longer. I can't really wear them anymore- they hurt my feet because they wore down on one side and now push my feet into unhealthy positions.)

Recently though, I had a decent experience at the shoe store! Not only did I find one pair of shoes that fit me, I actually found and bought 2 pairs of shoes that I liked! For less than 100 dollars! I spent 75 dollars on the lot, or 37 dollars per pair. Not dirt cheap, but certainly better than 100 per pair.

So, you might wonder what this has to do with the clothes swap.

Well, after hearing my whole shoe issue... you might understand that shoes were probably the last things I'd expect to find at the swap.

But no, not just one pair, but two pairs of shoes exactly my size at the clothes swap! Amazing, no?

I'll be honest, I'm not so "into" the shoes on the left- they look a little old, and like they've seen better days, but I'm sure with some loving (and maybe shoe polish) they'll look better.
Btu the shoes I'm really excited about are the shoes on the right. Good, sturdy shoes for every day.

I left the house with 4 bags of things that were causing trouble for me, and taking up room I didn't have. I came home with a whole bunch of things to help improve my life. Win, win situation, no?

You might wonder why we don't just get hand me downs, or trade clothes with a friend, instead of arranging a swap like this. The thing is, when it comes to things like this, its easier in a group, because you're more likely to find the stuff you need because the pool of clothes available is much greater. And this way everyone is able to be both a giver and a taker, instead of one person only giving and the other only taking.

Swaps are great.

Have you ever heard of clothes swaps before or been to one before? Does this seem like the type of thing you'd enjoy going to/organizing?
Where do you typically get your clothes and your kids clothes? New? Second hand? Hand me down?

Penniless Parenting

Mommy, wife, writer, baker, chef, crafter, sewer, teacher, babysitter, cleaning lady, penny pincher, frugal gal

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