Give a little, get a little

On Saturday I had six lovely ladies over for a "swap party". I sent simple facebook invites and everyone was instructed to bring any clothing, books, cds, movies, housewares that they were ready to let go. Once everyone arrived and the goods were spread, the swapping commenced!

My dining room table turned display for housewares and miscellaneous!

The "Books, movies, media" table had a lot of work-out videos on it!

My bedroom was heaped with clothes and accessories.

And my walk-in closet became a changing room!

Back in the living room, my counter held a small array of goodies. I opted for simple cheese and crackers (and salami), spinich phyllo triangles (frozen from Costco) and fresh-baked cupcakes with chocolate frosting. A couple bottles of wine and sparkling cider quenched everyone's thirst.
(Sorry for the blurry photo!)

Emily, Laura and Ellen take a break from swapping to catch up and chat.

Anna tries on a pair of Gap shoes that Megan brought, but they are just a little too small for everyone!

Emily spots something promising in the accessories area and swoops in.

Amanda stored her finds on the coffeetable while she chatted in the kitchen.

How to host your own swap party:

1. Decide your parameters. I opened it up beyond your typical "clothing swap" to books and decor because a) not everyone is the same size, b) my friends all have different style, and c) other stuff is just another level of fun!

2. Keep the food and drink simple. I prepared everything the morning-of (guests arrived at 2). After all, the point of a swap is to save some pennies while still getting new stuff. Why break the bank on food that people will just nibble? Schedule between regular meal hours and no one will expect lunch.

3. Define "zones". You saw my 4 zones above. It was easier to sift through the clothes when they weren't mixed in with picture frames and books.

4. Keep the size under control. I invited about 15 girls and ended up with six who could make it. But it ended up being the perfect size (I only have 8 wine glasses, after all!). More than ten and it would have gotten a little too chaotic.

5. Have something fun like a doorprize! To kick off the swapping, we did a little drawing for prizes I'd picked up that morning at Michaels Craft Store. It was a fun (I hope!) way to officially "begin" the festivities once everyone had arrived.

Have you hosted a swap before? What did you do differently? And any of my guests from Saturday reading, what did you think? Would you want to try this again sometime?