Every year our church
hosts a clothing exchange. It started out as an idea in Erika’s head, to bless the community with much-needed clothing, but it’s turned into a much-anticipated event for everyone involved. Sometimes it’s in the Spring and sometime near the Fall. There’s so many ways to have a clothing swap, but since a friend recently asked me how we do it, I thought I’d share our plan with you!
– Canvas the area & businesses with flyers to invite the ladies (also small local newspapers)
– Use FB, twitter, church website, personal texts to invite ladies from church & area friends
– We ask ladies ministries from suburban churches if they’d like to clean out their closets
& donate to us (we’re an inner city ministry)
– It’s a ladies/teen girls only event, but we collect clothes for men, and children, too
– Clothing must be clean & in nice condition
– Basic accessories are allowed, too: belts, bags, shoes, scarves, etc
– Connect with a woman’s shelter & make arrangements with them for the day after the
– Begin collecting clothing a few weeks in advance
– Clothes may be brought in at the time of the event, too
– Clothes are sorted & placed on tables & with large/easy-to-read signs
– The ladies who help sort the clothes are allowed to snatch up a few good finds for their
families before it’s all open to the “public”
– As ladies arrive we give them a number (usually a marker on their hand… kinda ghetto)
– Ladies gather in our coffee house room at first, so cookies, coffee & punch are served
(this gives us opportunity to meet the ladies from the community)
– After about 15 minutes, we divide the ladies into groups based on their number. Usually
8-10 at a time has worked for us, but it depends on how many ladies are present
and how big the “clothing” room is
– Group 1 is allowed to enter the clothing room for X amount of time and select X amount of
things in a 15 minutes time window (we socialize with the other woman waiting)
– After each group has had a chance to select “X” amount of items, then we open it up for
all the groups to go back in… free for all!
– One year we got tons of clothes donated from a retails chain & had so many items that we
didn’t need to divide ladies into groups, it was just come-and-go for 2 hrs.
– Lots of grocery & shopping bags are needed
– Fragrant candles placed around the room & fabric softener sheets tucked into piles of
clothing can keep it from smelling like a Salvation Army
– Ladies from our church will be “personal shoppers” for the ladies in the community as
another opportunity to connect with them. We’ll say, “Oh, you’re needing little
boys clothes. What size? I can help you look.”
– When the event is over, the rest of us usually dig through it to grab out anything else we
want (my girls usually grab things they can rip apart and make into something else…
Thanks to our friend, Jennifer, who taught them to sew!)
– All the remaining clothes are boxed & bagged up & donated to a woman’s shelter the
This event/outreach also blesses everyone involved! AND… it’s happening again THIS FRIDAY! Wanna join us?
for details or leave me a message!
If you do something similar, please tell us about it!