On February 5th, I hosted my first event as my building’s Service Vice President and had a “Clothes the Loop” Clothing Swap!
The requirement for any event that I have is that it has to benefit the community or organization. Through this event, I chose to contribute to the Binghamton Rescue Mission. The Mission owns a local thrift store where the proceeds from their sales benefit the projects of the Mission.
They help provide services to local people suffering from homelessness. This includes beds, meals, and other types of necessary care. You can read more about it on their page!
The event was only an hour, but thanks to the generosity of people in the community, we were able to donate 4 overstuffed grocery bags of clothing to the organization!
The swap was held in my building main lounge, and I was surprised that several people came from other buildings to attend. I got to make some new friends who lived both in my building and outside, and we had a fun time browsing and chatting as more clothes were dropped off.
Why a clothing swap?
Clothing swaps and donations are great ways to keep perfectly good clothing out of a landfill and preserve their life before being turned into furniture stuffing or insulation. Textiles are one of the hardest things to recycle, so they are often repurposed instead. Shopping at thrift stores helps slow the force of fast fashion. (What is fast fashion?)
During my first semester, I volunteered at the Thrifty Shopper store, where the clothes will be going, and at the time I had no idea that it was part of the rescue mission.
There were lots of people there, of all ages and all backgrounds, as well lots of high quality clothing and other items (DVDs, dishes, decorations, records) that were being sold for an affordable price.
This is a kind of business that gives back to the people in its community, and I am glad to have enabled people at my university to positively impact the lives of the people who call Binghamton home.
How can I organize one of my own?
A clothing swap is a relatively easy event to organize!
The main things you need are:
- A location + time
- A place to donate
- Tables/places for clothes to go
I printed and cut out tickets that I handed out at the swap. When people came, I had them lay out their clothes on our lounge chairs, and then gave them one ticket for each piece of clothing they donated.
You can download the ticket sheet I used here.
Then, each person could take up to as many items as they donated. I did this because of the small crowd my event would have.
If you were to have more time to plan or you knew more people were coming, you may want to set a threshold that each person had to meet, to make it more fair for everyone (i.e. every person has to bring 10 pieces).
I played some music and brought some clothes of my own to donate in order to create a welcoming atmosphere. The possibilities are endless!
Have you ever been to/organized a clothing swap before?
What did you think?