Swap Shop Revamp

Reuse, Recycle and Freeload are my life mantras - which is why this weekend I found myself taking part in a Clothing Swap at a friend's house.

Now, there were seven women at this Swap, who had brought bin bags full of their old clothes to swap. So why did it take four hours to swap all the clothes? (Actually there were six people swapping and one person (me) just freeloading, because all the clothes I have are new/nearly new and I didn't want to part with any of them).

Well, the reason it took four hours was that when I suggested just putting all the clothes according to size in piles on the floor everyone else rolled their eyes and looked at each other as if to say "Humor her, she's a Clothes Swap Virgin. She doesn't know the process." The process, it turned out was to say good bye to each piece of clothing with an individual tribute.

Mostly it seemed that instead of admitting that they had put on weight and consequently the item no longer fit, they would rather eat a Prada sweater than admit it. Instead, it was all about, "I used to be so into wearing everything with polka dots, but I'm like over that now," or "This skirt no longer puts me in a happy place."

But sometimes it was just a case of saying, I loved you, yes, but now it's over. None of them felt silly saying this to a pair of lime green shoes. Sample conversation:

OWNER holding up a silver coat: I love this coat. I had a great night in it in New York three years ago when I was first dating Tim. We got drunk and he threw up on it.

EVERYONE ELSE: Eeeewww!

OWNER: Don't worry. I've since had it dry cleaned.

Every time anyone tried anything on we all had to say, "That looks fantastic!" Do you know how exhausting that is, saying stuff like that for four hours? I really began to pity all those men out there who shop with their wives.


Sometimes it was like a great big sisterhood. Sometimes, if the item was sexy, the knives came out. A woman held up a gorgeous Marc Jacobs cardigan and told a story about how "this cardigan has seen me through two break ups, one miscarriage and lipo, but now it holds too many memories. It's time to find it a new home." Everyone nodded like they gave a shit and as soon as she'd finished, hurled themselves at the cardigan like a pack of hyenas.

After this experience it got me thinking about all the other kinds of Swap parties we could have. The Sex Toy Swap was the first thing that sprang to mind. Standing up and brandishing a purple vibrator while tearfully saying, "This vibrator has made me laugh and cry. We've had some good times together but I've become too dependant on him and it's time to move on. He has been soaked in Clorax and the pulse button no longer works but otherwise he's fine."

Or what about Ex Swap Parties where exes could be swapped for other exes? You would bring along an ex girl or boyfriend, show them off and say, "This is Randy. He was a great boyfriend. He is very good at holding you and patting your back while you cry. The only downside is he's a little bit heavy handed on the clitoral stimulation and insists on calling his penis 'Little Randy' and punching the air when he comes."

You'd go home with a brand new boyfriend or girlfriend and would have a rough idea of all their positive and negative points. This idea is genius!

What other Swap Parties do you think we could have in which gently used items could be swapped for other gently used items?



Top Photo from the Clothing Swap: Emma asks: "Does my stomach look big in this?"
Answer: "No. You look fabulous."

Bottom Photo: Scenes from an Ex Swap Party where all the meat is on display.