Plan a Declutter Party!

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Summer is a great time for visiting with friends, as well as tackling projects around your home. Combine the two, and invite your friends for a “Declutter Party!”

A “Declutter Party” is a wonderful opportunity to simplify your home by clearing out unnecessary items, as well as providing a frugal option for obtaining some needed things. (Plus having fun with friends at the same time!)

I have enjoyed participating in a few of these events over the years. In pursuit of wise stewardship, it is nice to be able to “recycle/reuse” items when possible.

In essence, a “Declutter Party” functions as a swap. You can bring/take home any number of items. Participants will “shop” through all the items for free. Any leftovers can be donated to charity.

Event Ideas-

  • Women’s Clothing Swap- Set up tables with spaces marked for the various sizes. Provide changing areas for trying on clothes. Make sure to invite women of different sizes; as guests bring too big/too small items, there will be enough for everyone. You can include shoes, purses, and accessories in this swap, too.
  • “Anything Goes”-  A “garage sale style” event; neatly set out items in “categories.”
  • Craft Supply Swap- This is a great opportunity to simplify your sewing/craft cabinet, reevaluate your hobbies, and find some new creative inspiration for the kids. (Have a project that’s been unfinished for the past 10 years? Let someone else have the joy of competing it!)

Planning Tips to Consider-

  • Guests: Is it just for women or will it be a family event?
  • Theme: You can have a specific focus for your items (such as a women’s or children’s clothing swap) or an “anything goes” garage-sale style event. Clearly communicate the swap guidelines in your invitation.
  • Focus: Do you want to highlight a charity or have a ministry emphasis? A clothing swap can feature modest wardrobe ideas or a devotional on modesty for young ladies. A crafty swap can make/sew items for local or international ministries (such as baby items).

In a swap with friends last year, I was able to pick up some wall shelves and more cute glass jars to use for my sewing storage! (I organize the supplies for my sewing business in attractive glass jars at my sewing area in our living room.)

It was so nice to put these unused items (my friends’ “clutter”) to good use in blessing my family with a tidy home. At the same time, I cleared out a large bag full of unused items from our closets!

Have you participated in a similar swap? I’d love to hear if you have, or if you’re planning one!

About Michele

Michele and her husband Calvin live a simple & sustainable life in rural Washington with their two- going on three- (busy!) little ones at Hampton Creek Inn. She takes joy in the daily ministry of delving into creativity, traditional homemaking & hospitality, homeschooling in everyday moments, and smooching her husband in the woods. Michele loves encouraging women and equipping them for frugal, natural living through her blog, Frugal Granola.

19 Responses to Plan a Declutter Party!

  1. Courtney July 20, 2010 at 8:16 am #

    My friends and I put on a clothing exchange party a couple of months ago and it was a huge success. I am pretty sure that everyone left with new-to-them clothes that they loved and we donated the rest to a good organization that a friend works with. It was also just fun to try on clothes, socialize and be together. We separated the clothes into sizes, Small (0-4), Medium (6-10), and Large (12+), and then had a shoes and accessories category. We all went through the clothes together without taking any, to try things on, figure out what we “wanted” for about 30-60 minutes. Then we drew numbers and had 2 people at a time go pick one item and rotated, switching order every time. After about an hour, we just had a free for all… people had forgotten what they wanted and it was taking longer. It was great. The things I learned were: to have clothes hanging, it would be much easier to find what you liked, I might also add a books or dvds category, but you definitely don’t want to have too many things to go through.

  2. Honey July 19, 2010 at 5:40 pm #

    This is a good idea! Especially since we’ve taken so many bags to Goodwill this past week they actually asked us to take the rest of our donations to another Goodwill. We’ve donated what they normally get over a good two weeks. How embarrassing is that?! Wish you’d posted this earlier!!!! :)

    Well…I’m off to another Goodwill tomorrow!


  3. Amber July 19, 2010 at 12:43 pm #

    The womens’ ministry at my mom’s church does this every so often and they have a blast. I went to a similar clothing-only swap with the womens’ ministry at our Bible college. I’ve been wanting to get one together for the gals at our church, and this just may be the inspiration I’ve needed to do it!

  4. Amber July 19, 2010 at 12:21 pm #

    A friend of mine hosted a clothing/household goods exchange party a few months ago. It was so much fun! What a great way to get some new clothes without spending any money. And the leftovers were donated to a women’s shelter. We’re planning on doing another one in November.

  5. Deb July 19, 2010 at 10:46 am #

    We have a homeschool meeting once a month and everyone just brings stuff to get rid of, everything from food (that their kids have developed an allergy to) to clothes, curriculum, magazines, you name it, someone has brought it at one time or another and all free. Some months are better than others, but there is always something and since everyone knows that we have it every month, we just save it for that. Knowing that once a month I can declutter helps as I don’t have junk sitting around forever that I forget to take to Goodwill…….

  6. rachel g July 19, 2010 at 10:36 am #

    I had a party just like this and blogged about it:

  7. Julia July 19, 2010 at 10:08 am #

    Oooo.. Where can I get one of those shoe racks??

    • Michele @ Frugal Granola July 19, 2010 at 10:45 am #

      I’ve seen some similar shoe racks (but not that exact one) at The Container Store. :)

  8. Joy Y. July 19, 2010 at 9:27 am #

    We decided to just do one amongst friends….a way of helping each other out. We brought clothing to a central location…..some of us volunteered to categorize stuff into sizes. Then we had a saturday morning where people could pick out the same amount they donated. A way to help everyone get what they need. The leftovers were donated to our local caring closet which gives away clothes to those in need.

  9. Deby July 19, 2010 at 8:23 am #

    This is a great idea…this past weekend…I gleaned 2 boxes worth of stuff and put it on Craig’s list at a flat fee for all of it…it sold ….I am thrilled, less “stuff” and now a little cash !

  10. Elizabeth July 19, 2010 at 7:02 am #

    Great idea

  11. Danielle July 19, 2010 at 6:19 am #

    Wonderful Idea!!! thanks for sharing. I’ve heard of this before, but forgot all about it.

  12. Marcy July 19, 2010 at 5:59 am #

    I did one of these this spring and it was a HUGE hit! We all purged out things we didn’t need, and we all took something home we could use! And the leftovers were donated to the flood victims in Nashville. I plan to host one of these every year now!

  13. Shannon Hazleton July 19, 2010 at 5:17 am #

    You had me at ‘de-clutter’! :)

    I’ve heard of these parties before, and I think it’s a great idea… here’s my question: do the participants actually help de-clutter and organize, or does the party-giver do that in advance and just have the unwanted items out for shopping during the get-together?

    • Michele @ Frugal Granola July 19, 2010 at 10:43 am #

      Shannon, each party-goer does the decluttering in their own homes in advance, and then brings all their items to the party. (But if you really needed help in your home, I’m sure you could invite friends over to help you!) :)


      • Honey July 19, 2010 at 5:43 pm #

        I like the idea of your party guests decluttering for you! :)

        Hummmmm..sounds like a great way to move…pack what you want to keep….invite friends over…they take what they want…less they have to help you move the next week! ;)