Springtime challenge: Gossip and switch!

Odile Archambault, from the blog Maman a un plan, lays out all her tips for a successful clothing swap!

My drawers, armoires and wardrobes were bursting. The inevitable result of months of neglect, with no time for organizing, and one too many, “Oh, I’ll take care of that tomorrow.”

Rummaging through the clothing like an archeologist on a dig, I found items that had not been worn for two years, others now too small after having my kids, size-too-big shoes snapped up at a closing sale, etc. Then I set to work on my two little ones’ clothing, which is already a bit tight. There was even more sorting to do and more bags to fill.


Instead of donating, exchange?

My first impulse after a wardrobe purge is to give the clothing to a local non-profit. Sharing with others is an important value that I want to pass on to my children.

This time, as I was stuffing the clothes into bags, I remembered the Gossip & Switch evenings I used to organize with my girlfriends when I was at college and university. For those who aren’t familiar with the concept, it’s very simple:

  1. Gather between five and ten girlfriends whom you trust (the word “gossip” is part of the evening’s theme after all… and gossip is best done in a climate of trust!).
  2. Each person brings her own pile of clothing to swap (don’t forget that super original designer jacket that you got for pennies at a sale… even better if you only wore it once!).
  3. Plan on serving cold hors d’oeuvres (sitting down to a 5-course meal is simply not going to happen) and sparkling drinks… with or without alcohol!
  4. Each participant takes a turn presenting their pieces. Those interested raise their hand… and a lively discussion follows to determine who’ll be the lucky one to take home the coveted item.

Don't forget clothing for the swap must be in good condition. If you’ve given up wearing that sweater because of that ugly spaghetti sauce stain, chances are your friends won’t want to be seen in it either.


Swap traditions

I never would have dared to throw this type of evening in my “older years.” But I knew the idea could be reworked in a way that would be fun for women who, like me, are now moms! The idea to invite my mom-friends to an evening of clothes swapping sprung from a moment of nostalgia. Yes, it does take a bit more organization than when we were young and carefree, but it really makes sense to exchange your old clothing – as well as that of your kids and even your partner! (And let’s not forget to keep doing good: Unclaimed articles at the end of the evening can be donated to the nearest shelter or second-hand store.)

One thing is for sure, my friends and I are now making a tradition out of it!