It works out to being about twice a year that my friends and I gather for a Saturday Morning Clothing Exchange. The email list that goes out advertising the exchange is I think the same one as a pretty interesting sounding book club, to which I've always been invited, but have never even read one of the books, though my intentions are always very good. One time, even though I hadn't read the book, I almost actually went to the meeting! But I chickened out at the last minute in typical me fashion. Ha, fashion. Because I'm really blogging about a clothing exchange and just got sidetracked thinking about the book club. Lol.
We take all our castoffs (and our husbands' castoffs, and some homewares and some kids' stuff... basically anything we need to get out of our life) to the home of someone generous enough to host us, and we separate into piles: tops, pants, dresses, shoes, men's, scarves, etc. Then we rummage through and try to be polite about it, even though we are all totally wanting to take home everything that everyone brought for ourselves. I'm not very discreet about my desire to revamp my entire wardrobe at these things.... I dive in face first and only come up for air when it's time to use the dressing room. (which is a bathroom, because we are at someone's house.)
These things are SO FUN. Often we all bring a little breakfasty pastryish thing to contribute and we have coffee and since we are surrounded by piles of clothes there's plenty to talk about, right off the bat. Naturally, we first talk about purging possessions, simplifying our lives, (it always goes back to the KonMari method,) and from there we move into the reasons we've got all these clothes to get rid of, which is usually due to the realization that we're never going to lose the babyweight. There's no awkwardness, because people hauling in loads of castoffs and breakfast pastries are natural conversation starters, and it's a diverse group so we really have plenty to talk about.
At the end of the morning, all that's left (which tends to be a lot) is donated; the one who volunteers to take it decides what center it goes to, and all that stuff is out of our lives forever, thankfully. Not that I have EVER gone home with less than what I brought, as good as my intentions for that outcome may be. No, no, I come home with OODLES of new things to wear! This time, I got a new dress!
I pretty much stopped wearing dresses (almost) nine years ago when I started breastfeeding because they are just so impractical. But now that those demands are fewer, I feel like I can pull it off again. And this one has buttons down the front, just in case.
Some people just come to visit, with no intention of taking anything home with them. This time we spent the last portion talking about the books that will be assigned for the book club in the months to come. Sometimes we bring kids, sometimes we don't. It's all very loose and leaves me feeling filled up with good social juice, and at the same time freshened by letting go of some possessions and acquiring some new bits for my drawers, which always feels good, especially if they were free.
If you're looking for more ways to be social with a purpose, I'd highly suggest this sort of gathering. I'm already looking forward to our next one!