Studio 5 contributor, Courtney Orton tells us a swap party with friends is far more fun than a yard sale with strangers.
Swap parties are popping up as a fun and free way to get rid of stuff you don't really want anymore, and the best part is that you get to take home something you do want. We thought it was a great idea, and decided to see how a swap party works by throwing one our selves.
Our hostess, Amy Dalley loved the idea and was more than happy to invite some of her closest friends over for a swapping party. They were each instructed to bring 5 to 7 items.
"I brought jewelry, like bangle bracelets," said Marla Call. "I brought a picture, a door hanging." The items were things they already had around the house that they either didn't like anymore or didn't use. Vanessa Schmidt brought cookbooks that she was done using, books she had already read, stamp sets, and scrapbook paper she had never opened, but thought someone else might like to use. Another party guest brought Chanel perfume, and a foot spa that had only been used once before.
The women also looked through their closets, and found clothing they didn't wear anymore. Call says, "I just went into my storage room and found things that I've had for a while that were just tucked away that I didn't use anymore in my dÃ©cor. A few things I've never used. I just bought because I thought I would incorporate it, and never have."
Once they placed their tagged items out for display, and got a few instructions about how to claim an item with clips, the swapping began.
The women were surprised at how many amazing things there were. Schmidt says, "I'm just amazed by what there is."
"I could have put my tags on just about everything because they really did a fun job of finding good things," says Call.
People brought really good things," says Suzanne Lancaster, "not just their junk, but things they thought someone might really want."
When more than one clip was on an item, Dalley drew out the winner. All of the women enjoyed the evening, and enjoyed taking "new" things home. "Swap â"˜til you drop," says Dalley. "We just used it as a girls night out, and it was free!"
Invitation: In keeping with the Swap 'til You Drop theme Amy (http://thisandthat-amy.blogspot.com/) took a simple pink gift bag and glammed it with a feather boa around the edges and added some zebra tissue paper. She put the actual invitation inside as well as a fun poem, and tags so guests could tag their items before hand.
We're totally in a recession,
At least that's what they say.
I don't want to face it,
Just want to play, play, play!
It is time to get the girlfriends,
All together for a bash.
We could always go shopping,
But, who has the cash.
I've got a fab solution,
to this financial jam.
Just bring all your older stuff,
Your man won't give a damn!
We'll eat and laugh and have some fun,
and drink some diet pop.
In the end we'll choose the goods,
We'll Swap 'til We Drop!
This idea will bring for sure,
Joy beyond measure!
Remember, one girlfriend's junk,
Is another girlfriend's treasure!
Tags: Every item got a tag. On it, the ladies wrote a description or "selling point" for the item.
Clips: Amy found the pink clips in Target's dollar section for half off. She then added a jewel and name she printed from her computer. You could also use clothespins, and put an initial sticker on top, or have each guest write their name on clothespins.
Favors: I found these re-usable shopping bags online (cheaptotes.com) for $1 a piece. We wanted them to match our theme, so Amy added messy bows complete with ribbon, fabric, and crepe paper as well as some paper name tags with jewels. Everyone used the bags to take home their items, and as an added bonus they'll be able to use them the next time they go to the grocery store! Amy had some extra paper, so she also made these darling candy bars. It was just one more thing everyone could take home to remember what a fun night it was.
A few other tips:
Decorations: The paper Amy chose for the invitations set the theme for the party: pink and zebra. Amy wanted it to feel like a Girls Night Out. She loves throwing parties, so she already had most of the decor. Don't go out and buy stuff for this party. Pick a theme that fits with your style. Revamp things you already have. That's what it's all about.
Inviting: You want to think about who you're inviting. Invite people who have similar tastes, that way you'll want to swap with them.
Packaging: Amy's friends did a great job packaging their items. They used cellophane, ribbons, and baskets to make their items look brand new.
Be Creative: One of Amy's friends was really worried about what to bring. She didn't feel like she had anything, so she made homemade salsa. Packaged it up on a tray, she already had and with some cellophane and it was one of the hot items that night. You could also narrow it down and have a book swap or a holiday decoration swap.
Donate: If something doesn't get claimed. Take it directly to goodwill. You may even want to have a designated box for those items.
Glitz Design: Hot Mama and Audrey Collections
Pink Gift Bags
Reusable Shopping Bags
Zebra Tissue Paper
Jo Ann Fabric and Craft
House of 3