How To Declutter, Recycle, and Refresh Your Wardrobe!

How To Declutter, Recycle, and Refresh Your Wardrobe!

Aug 18, 2011
Welcome to Sarah M, who's trying out for a spot on our editorial team. Enjoy!

Throwing a "bitch and switch" party is a great way to multi-task. How would you like to clean out your closet, exchange or donate your unwanted or ill-fitting clothes, and refresh your own wardrobe with new-to-you finds, all while enjoying some delicious snacks and drinks with your friends? I've thrown three of these parties over the years, and they always end up being really fun. In fact, three of my favorite clothing items—my everyday jeans, my fall coat, and a summery skirt—all came from friends via "bitch and switch" parties!

What You Need

Unwanted clothes/accessories/shoes/decor items
Snacks and beverages
Decent underwear
Full-size mirror


1. Pick a date for your "bitch and switch" and invite your friends. I've traditionally hosted bitch and switch brunches for ladies only, and I would provide coffee and juice and ask guests to bring brunch items like muffins or croissants. But this could just as easily be an evening cocktail and pigs-in-a-blanket type of get-together. I've also attended a co-ed clothing swap party where the exchange happened in one room and the mingling in another. Use Evite or Ping to explain your party to guests so they know what expect.

2. You (and your guests!) should go through your closet, dresser, underbed storage box and wherever else you may have clothes and accessories you don't love or need anymore. Pull out anything and everything that needs a new home. This includes items that don't fit, things you purchased but immediately regretted, gifts that didn't quite hit the mark, shoes that you avoid because they pinch or rub, and anything you don't look forward to wearing or using anymore. Shoes, belts, t-shirts, scarves, jewelry, even small home decor items can all be exchanged. Don't worry about the size or style; as long as there are around ten or more party participants, everyone is sure to find something they like. By expanding the options of what can be exchanged, you're ensuring that even guests who aren't the same clothing size as anyone else can find something that they love.

3. You might want to consider putting a limit on how many bags of stuff each person can bring, depending on your ability to get everything to the donation center after the party. My sister-in-law once brought five bags full!

4. On the day of the party, set up a food and drink area separate from the clothing swap area. Once guests begin arriving, have them display their items by category: tops, bottoms, dresses, shoes, accessories, etc. Each guest should keep a bag handy to store items that they find and want to take home. Enjoy snacks and beverages as you wait for the rest of your guests to arrive.

5. Wait until everyone has arrived and displayed their items for exchange, and then announce that it's go-time! You can make up your own rules but what has worked well for me is a free-for-all. This is where the decent underwear is necessary – you'll all be finding skirts, tops, and jeans that look like they might fit, so you'll want to strip down and try them on! Check the fit in the full-sized mirror, get your friend's honest opinion, and either return it to the pile or store it away in your personal take-home bag. You'll be delighted finding new pieces for your wardrobe, and helping your discards find new homes where they will be loved.

6. Before the party, you'll want to nominate a clothing chauffer - a person with a car to take everything that doesn't have a home by the end to a Goodwill or Salvation Army. Be sure to call ahead and find out the donation hours, and provide your driver with good directions and instructions on where to drop off the goods. Keep in mind that you can get a receipt for these donations if you want it for tax purposes.

7. After your guests have left, lovingly fold, hang, and store your new stuff, and enjoy all the new space you've created in your closet. Feel happy knowing that you de-cluttered, recycled, and went on a free shopping spree in your friends' closets, all in one day!

Thanks, Sarah!

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