Fashion / Lifestyle

From Decluttering to Swap Parties: to Circulate is Fashion, not Money

What is a Swap Party?

The term “Swap” comes from English and means exchange or barter. However, this word has only acquired a more appealing meaning in recent years, becoming a real trend not only in America and the United Kingdom but also in Italy.

A swap party is an event where people exchange clothing, accessories, books, furniture and items of all kinds, without the use of money.

Originating in New York City in the early 1960s as authentic neighborhood swapping, sharing opportunities and socializing, it then spread internationally with the 2008 crisis. Swap parties do not involve the use of money, thus allowing people to renew their wardrobes or furnish their homes while cutting costs.

Is the Swap Party sustainable?

The swap party is a virtuous event that fully embodies the concept of circular economy, particularly that of reuse. Sustainability is, therefore, a critical factor in the spread of this type of event, especially in Italy, where consumers, initially more reluctant to reuse second-hand garments and objects, are increasingly eager to change their consumption and purchasing habits, aware of the environmental and social impact caused by the fashion industry.

For years, swap parties remained informal events intended for friends and family. Today, however, real associations and startups such as Swapush make these events opportunities to swap items but also skills and experience.

Participants become key players by bringing garments and items they no longer use with the goal of exchanging them for other items. In addition there are often guest speakers and workshops to raise awareness of environmental, social and economic sustainability issues by actively involving people.

Swapush has also launched an app where garments and accessories can be bartered and, to facilitate transactions, has created “pills”: virtual coins to speed up exchanges at events and on the app.

Not only outreach and social sustainability through events and collaborations with local startups, companies, and associations, but swap parties also create and stimulate a community united by values and goals.

How do I choose what to sell? The Art of Decluttering

No swap party is complete without decluttering, another English term meaning “to eliminate what clutters.”

Easy to say, hard to do.
How often have we been faced with closets full of garments and accessories but unable to get rid of them?
Often even garments we no longer wear evoke memories and emotions that in our minds make them essential.

Decluttering is an operation aimed at functionally creating order and organizing space, eliminating everything superfluous. According to several studies, this action would also have positive implications psychologically. Not only closets but more accessible minds can focus on the present and future.

To begin, it is necessary to make a list of areas to be reorganized in order of priority. Indeed, it is vital to act gradually.

Another help is the 4-box rule: take four different containers, distinguish them with appropriate labels and divide them as follows;

  • To keep
  • To sell/gift/exchange
  • To repair
  • To be thrown away

When analyzing a garment or item, you need to ask how many times it has been worn in the past 12 months. If the number is low, you can proceed with the following questions “Is it still useful to me?” “Does it give me positive emotions?”

A final piece of advice is to take these moments calmly as if they were a game.
For example, one can apply patterns such as 12-12-12, in which 12 items are to keep, 12 to donate/sell/exchange, and 12 to throw away.

You can also play with the number 3, choosing 33 garments to wear for three months. It is a practical challenge to see if you can live happily with essential items and, most importantly if you are aware of your needs and can meet them through careful decluttering.

Cover image from wayhomestudio

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