Today’s post is brought to you by Michelle, a frugal rockstar! (and my WIFE!)
As you may have read, money is a little tight over in the iHB household. We are stretching just to PAY OUR BILLS so when it comes to buying clothes we pretty much rely on Christmas and our birthdays. Poor Jake, his birthday is a week after Christmas (New Year’s Eve people! Think about that when you’re celebrating this year, you’re really celebrating his birthday ;D ), so he only really gets clothes once a year. My birthday is in April and my mom usually gives me a mother-daughter shopping trip for my birthday. Even though that’s great and we try and stretch it by shopping places like The Rack, it still only goes so far. So what’s a girl to do when she looks in her closet, has nothing to wear and there are still 3 months ’till Christmas??
A Naked Lady Party!!!
Now, I don’t know who came up with this name, but I thought it was cute so I took it and ran with it. Here’s what it is: An opportunity to purge your wardrobe of things that don’t work and go home with things that do! FOR FREE!! You get to shop quality clothing and accessories that other ladies haven’t worn in a while, don’t fit anymore or just need a new home.
BEFORE THE PARTY:
Pick a Date:
Find a couple close friends who are interested in swapping and find a date that works for you guys. Make sure it doesn’t interfere with any kid’s birthday party or whatever may be going on in your circles.
- You can make this as large or small as you would like. We had 17 people at ours and it seemed perfect, and there was more than enough to go around. You could make it an intimate gathering between you and your 3 besties or you could open it up to your whole church, neighborhood or other group and host it at a church or community center.
- Create a Facebook event or send an Evite to get the word out.
- Let friends invite friends. This way there is more variety of sizes and styles, and you get to meet potential new friends!
- Invite way more than you think will come; many people will have other plans.
- Invite ALL sizes or invite women of relatively the same size. We chose to invite all sizes, and for the most part it worked out great, but we did end up with a lot of size 0′s left… Try and make sure the girls that may be larger or smaller can at least trade with each other so no one goes home empty handed, but remember, there are always one-size fits all accessories :) And don’t forget to invite pregnant friends! Maternity clothes need swapping too!
Tell People what to Bring
- Tell them to go through their closet and collect the items that they’re having a rough relationship with. Haven’t worn it in a year? Too small? Too big? Too orange? Tired of that handbag? Those shoes don’t go with anything anymore? Bring it.
- This INcludes all styles of pants, shirts, jackets, jewelry, hats, scarves, shoes, etc. Items you would consign or let a friend borrow.
- This EXcludes anything you would be embarrassed to let a friend borrow (stretched out, stained, ripped, or otherwise yucky and super dated items), underwear and socks. (We did let people bring swim-suits and like-new bras and lingerie. This would definitely depend on the group of gals you have coming, so use your best judgment.)
- A snack to share and/or a bottle of wine.
Lay Down the Rules
Put these rules in the invite
- All items must be freshly laundered. No one wants to feel like they are digging through dirty laundry, but rather that they are at a posh consignment shop.
- IMPORTANT: Everyone needs to put all items through the dryer on high heat. Have a “protected swap” and make sure no one accidentally transfers bed-bugs, lice or any other unwanted friend through the clothes. Bed bugs can’t survive the heat of the dryer so have everyone do this even with hand-bags and shoes before they come.
- Try and get as many people as possible to drop off their items in the week leading up to the event so they can all be pre-sorted and displayed at the Naked Lady Party.
- Let the ladies know that kiddos should stay home with Daddy unless they need to bring a pre-crawler as this will greatly cut down on chaos.
- Let them know that if they can’t make it to the party, but would like to purge their closet, they can certainly donate their clothes to good homes by dropping them off with you before the party. We had several gals do this and it was great. It just added that much more variety to our Naked Lady Party.
- Decide where you will put each type of clothing. You will need a space for tops and sweaters, dresses, pants, shorts, skirts, shoes, coats, accessories and possibly separate section for “active wear” and lingerie.
- Try and get your hands on some clothing racks. Pants, skirts, shorts and even sweaters are easily looked through folded, but tops look much better and are easier to sort through when hanging. Dresses should also hang. Organize by size, smallest to largest and consider making signs to designate each size.
- You will need several full length mirrors, plus a few non-full-length mirrors scattered about for people to check themselves out in their new threads.
- Unless you, as the host, would like to provide food and beverages for everyone, have people bring a treat and/or drink to share. Prepare a place for food ahead of time with a table cloth and some nice serving pieces for people to plop their goodies on when they get there. Have cups, plates and utensils all set out and ready to go.
- Stack shoes on shoe-boxes if you have them. This way it’s a tiered display so they are easier to look at, and people can bring them home in a box if they so desire.
- COUNT the number of items that ladies pre-drop off. This will be the number they can go home with if they’d like to. (Though, I found that most gals were excited to pare down their wardrobe and take only a few new select pieces rather than replace everything they brought.)
- Collect nice paper bags from clothing retailers like Nordstrom, Express, Banana Republic, etc for ladies to take home their new goodies in. Make it feel like they just went on a shopping spree at the mall!
- When sorting the clothes, create a “Seconds Bin” for any items that may have a small hole, a stain/spot or are just a little too worn. These items can be jumbled up in a laundry basket in a corner for people to look through if they’d like after they are done shopping. (We ended up with a few men’s shirts, bed sheets and a picture frame in there too!)
- Create a play-list of fun up-beat music to shop and try-on to!
- Clean the bathrooms and whatever other rooms you may have set-up as changing rooms. You don’t want your stuff lying around and getting mixed in with the swap stuff.
- It’s good to co-host with those couple close friends. Between the 2 or 3 of you, you’ll be able to come up with enough hangers, mirrors and display items that you may not have by yourself.
- As the hostess, you will be managing the party, so feel free to pre-shop :) It’s one of the perks!
DAY OF THE PARTY
- Greet each guest at the door with a tag for their bag, labeled with their name, and their tickets for each item brought. They can go tie their name to a shopping bag while you count their items quickly (if they didn’t pre-drop-off). I also found that I didn’t need to hand out more than 20 tickets, even if the person brought 40 items. No one went home with that much.
- Once everyone has arrived and all their clothes have been hung up/folded/sorted, gather them together to make sure everyone has a bag-tag and tickets, explain the rules and start the shopping.
Here’s How It Works:
- Everyone will get 5 minutes to shop and grab 5 – 10 items. When those 5 minutes are up, everyone must stop shopping and try on their clothes. They must then put the clothes they would like to keep in their bag (that they tied their name tag on to) along with 1 ticket per item (each item costs 1 ticket). For the items that don’t fit, instruct them to put it back in the proper place for someone else to take. Trying on is very important so that someone doesn’t go home with a bunch of stuff that makes their butt look fat while on someone else it would make JLo jealous. Play upbeat shopping music then turn it off as a signal that it’s time to try stuff on.
- Do this 2 or 3 times. We only did it twice because the general consensus was that everyone had pretty much shopped as much as they wanted, they were all ready to just eat and browse.
- After the 2 or 3 structured shop times, it’s a free-for-all and tickets are no longer needed! Everyone can just grab a glass of wine and start browsing casually. This is also a time for those who didn’t bring much to grab some additional pieces to take home, even if they’re out of tickets. Items in the “Seconds Bin” are “free”, they don’t cost a ticket.
After the Party
Guests may take home any left-overs that they brought, or leave it with the host to be donated to a local charity. I suggest finding a charity before-hand and letting people know where their items will be going in the invitation. At our party only 1 person took home their items, everyone else was happy to have them out of their closet and donated to a good cause.
At our particular party we were able to donate :
- 116 shirts
- 31 pairs of pants
- 28 pairs of shoes
- 24 skirts
- 23 dresses
- 10 pairs of shorts
- 4 coats
- Numerous accessories
Let me tell you, it felt good to support a great charity in our area with this donation.
So if you’re still skeptical and wondering if you could get anything good at a clothing swap, let me share with you a few of the things that I found. Between doing a little pre-shopping and digging through the left overs I was able to find quite a few really great things!
Some highlights are; two pairs of jeans, two dresses, about 10 shirts, a cute pair of flats, and more! Good brands too, like Ann Taylor Loft, American Eagle, Forever 21, The Limited, Nike, Banana Republic and Nordstrom. My mom even scored a pair of True Religions! (Now you’re convinced right? ;D)
This is just one of the things that has helped us eliminate the clothing line item from our budget.
Comments: How about you, have you ever been to a clothing swap? Would you consider doing one now? How much do you spend on clothes per month? Do you think those earrings will make my lobes look fat?