One day, I was reading Real Simple magazine and came across an article about a new craze sweeping the nation. I had never heard of it before, but decided it was a great idea. I suggested it to my group of girlfriends, and it took off like wildfire!
The idea: have all of your friends go through their closets and gather stuff in good, working condition that they just have no use for. It could be home decor items, clothing, accessories, small kitchen appliances, shoes, books, DVDs, anything they want to get rid of that they think someone else could find a use for. Have everyone load up their cars and bring their stuff to one collective house and arrange it in “departments”. Put the clothing together, books together, shoes together, decor together…you get the idea. You can really make it festive…serve food and wine, make it fun!
Each person will need to have their own set of markers…something that they can clip onto items to claim them as they “shop”. I bought tons and tons of wooden clothespins, and bought tiny stickers to put onto the tips; hearts and stars in different colors. I think I had 12-15 clothespins for each sticker shape/color, and separated them into baggies. Then each person could pick their set of clothespins to represent them as they shopped (for example, at the last party,I picked the purple stars…so I took the baggie containing 12-15 clothespins that each had a purple star on the tip and whenever I saw something that I wanted, I clipped one of my purple star clothespins to it to claim it).
Next, divide up the room depending on how many items you have. We typically do 2 or 3 sessions for each party (because otherwise, people can run out of clothespins). Announce that the first section is open for “shopping”, and let everyone browse and mingle for 20-30 minutes. People can check out each item and start clipping their clothespins to what they want to take home. However, they must leave the item where it is until that shopping session is over in case anyone else is interested in it.
At the end of the shopping session, people can take any item that only has their clothespin attached to it. If any items have more than one clothespin, put the clothespins into a hat and draw one. Whoever’s clothespin is picked, wins that item. When all of the desired items from the first session are claimed, move onto the next session. Continue until all of the sections of items have been shopped and divvied up. After everything has been picked over once, my group of girlfriends likes to have one last shopping session for whatever might be leftover. Anything that still has not been claimed at the end of the night can be boxed up and taken to Goodwill or another charity.
My group of girlfriends has done three of these parties and they have always been a huge hit! It’s a great way to recycle those perfectly good items we all have laying around that we just don’t want or need. AND it’s also the perfect way to “shop” and get new goodies without spending any money!
Here are some pics of one of our Ladies Swap Meet Parties: