Swap evening attendees together for the event

Why chuck things out when you can have a swap evening?

It was a gloomy evening in January when we decided to put on a “swap” evening.

A swap evening is when a group of people in the community come together and bring bits & pieces that they no longer need from home. Items can range from clothes, pictures, furniture, crockery – almost anything you ave laying around the house that is no longer being used.

Woman holding lovely dresses on the swap evening

We soon brightened up the evening with 3 rails of clothes plus 3 tables of accessories and gifts to swap. I’ve organised about 5 swap events over the years and have come to realise that what makes them special is the stories about the things, as much or more than the things themselves.

Woman smiling at the camera on the swap evening

What was the best bit?  Hearing the stories of the clothes as we swapped them, seeing my old clothes being treasured and valued by someone I work with, and given a new lease of life. It’s about building connections through sharing our stories – the skirt I bought in a charity shop in Teignmouth about 12 years ago, dyed it, gave it to my sister, who gave it back to me last week for the clothes swap and now its Molly’s, off to Stroud for a new lease of life!

I love wearing things that my friends or relatives used to wear, all about connection… and a real good chance for a clear-out, it’s so much easier to let things go when you can see how much better they suit one of your friends!

And it’s not just about clothes – I came home with some candles that were Kat’s and think of her whenever I light them. I guess this is happening in our lives all the time, but it’s making the invisible visible to see the connections in our lives.

Top tips

  • Chat to friends and find out who’s up for helping

  • Give people as much notice as possible so they can have a good clear out

  • Borrow/acquire clothes rails, hangers and mirrors

  • Set a time and date – and Go!

  • Take leftover items to charity shop

Anyone want to borrow the clothes rails and do a swap with your friends and neighbours?