a few weeks ago, i hosted the second (annual? maybe not) housewares swap party. the idea was for women to offer up those items in their home that they didn't love/want/use and go home with things that they did!
in my mind, this is easier than a garage sale: no major organizing, no pricing, no sitting outside for 6 hours & haggling with neighbors over $.50.
not only that, but this was just another reason to get together with women that i love for good food & drink and fun conversation! add in some 'free shopping,' and what's not to love?
this time around i chose an evening event instead of a saturday morning- you capture a different group of women when you move the times around, which is fun!
here is what i think you need to do this kind of party:
stuff to swap
(not the dog)
lots of great stuff- all (mostly!) delivered the day before so i could arrange it somewhat nicely... obviously, 15 different kinds of candle holders don't look perfect arranged together on a shelf, but i did want everything to be visible to the shoppers!
a nice assortment of housewares... the only 'rules' were no electronics (lamps are okay, but no blenders/electric knives) and no broken stuff or half-burned candles. we got a lot of great items in all different kinds of decor styles!
food, of course!
veggies and dip (in individual cups- easier to eat!)
chocolate tart with shortbread crust. love!
drinks! look, they're French- i'm so fancy.
small canning jars make great drink glasses when you need a bunch of them!
herbs for mixing into the lemonade, limeade, iced tea, water, etc. sorry for the bad picture- there is mint, basil, rosemary & lavender here. makes for a yummy drink & a nice smelling kitchen! (side note, does anyone else love the way their hands smell after cutting herbs? just me? awesome.)
i didn't get pictures of all the food everyone brought- it got a little busy once everyone was standing in my kitchen (don't all parties end up like that?)! my kids were also running through randomly, so i didn't document things too well. however, we had TONS of great appetizers, cupcakes, dips, desserts, drinks and yummies! my friends know how to cook, and i love it.
and finally, something to keep the shopping civilized!
i'm kidding, of course- this wasn't really an insane, pull-your-hair-to-steal-your-stuff kind of crowd! but it is nice to have an order to the event...
everyone gets a pile of tags with a number, and this tells them which group they will be in to 'shop.' we had about 20 women, so we divided into groups of 5 people. if you bring 5 items to swap, you can use all 5 tags for shopping. just choose the items you want, and place a tag on it to 'mark' it as yours!
*a hostess tip- if you're planning to do this, i would box up or cover up your personal decor items that you don't plan to swap! otherwise you could have some stuff missing after the party! : )
* one more- save the bags, boxes and wrapping paper that everyone brings their items in! you'll need it for sending home their new stuff, as well as for boxing up the donation items.
i DO have pictures of all the ladies at the party- thank you, bailey! however, i did not ask permission to put their faces on the internet, so i'm going to keep those private.
i do NOT have a picture of the pile of things left after the party- the unwritten 'rule' of the swap party is to leave your unclaimed stuff behind for a donation to the women's shelter. honestly, there wasn't too much left- maybe 10-12 items out of 75 total? not bad! the charity pick up truck came about a week after the party, so i didn't even have to take it to Goodwill.
next challenge? a clothing swap. i can't get my brain around it, but it needs to happen.
anyone want to help?? : )