Tips for Hosting a Clothing Swap Party

I know I’m not alone in starting this year with a real fire lit under me to start cleaning and de-cluttering our house. I first read Marie Kondo’s book a few years ago, but with her new show, she’s somehow getting even more popular, and I am on the wagon!

After doing a major closet cleaning, my friends and I decided that we would have a little clothing swap party to see if we could find some new items that “spark joy,” all without spending a penny! It was SO MUCH FUN!

I ended having a small get-together, which was just as much for the company as for anything else. A couple of my close friends from work and I are always admiring each other’s style and wear similar sizes, so this was an easy guest list to put together.

Admittedly, I would have fun doing just about anything with these girls, but the clothing swap was truly a blast! Of course, there was the excitement of getting something new for free! But on top of that, it was a great feeling to see things that I really liked but just didn’t work on me fit perfectly on my friends. Not to mention, there were some good stories behind some of these items!

A couple of my favorite “new” items are this leather tote bag and the little pendant necklace on the dresser.

Even though our party was small, I take party planning seriously, so I’ve gathered some of my best tips for a clothing swap of any size!

Before the party

  • Choose your guest list, considering people’s styles and sizes. Your guests don’t all have to have the same style or size, but it helps if everyone has at least one or two people who would be good matches
  • Choose the types of items to include – besides clothes, consider accessories, such as scarves, bags, jewelry, and shoes. Set guidelines about quality and condition of items, as well as how many items you want to include
  • Prepare your space with room to display clothes, as well as places to try things on and a mirror – since I invited just a couple of close friends, I actually hosted in my bedroom, which was the easiest place to find hanging space and mirrors!
  • Provide snacks, keeping in mind things that can be eaten while shopping
  • Consider adding signs and cute shopping bags as decorations

At the party

  • Arrange items neatly by category to make it easier to browse
  • Allow a window-shopping period, so everyone gets a chance to discover their favorite finds
  • Decide on an order for “shopping,” for example by drawing lots or based on how many items each person brought
  • In a larger group, allow one person or a small group to shop at a time, and decide on a limit for each group – either a maximum number of items or a fixed amount of time
  • Since there were just three of us, we just tried things on and checked in with each other before claiming an item – it was so easy and fun!

I’m a little sad it will take us years to accumulate enough stuff for another swap, but we’ll definitely find another excuse to get together and have fun soon!

Julie aka “Jewels”

Ten Tips for a Clutter-Free Kitchen

When we renovated our kitchen, I couldn’t bear to see the fresh new space get all cluttered up. I wanted to ooh and aah at the gorgeous counters and tile all day.

So, I went on the search for tips and tools that would help keep our space looking organized, and here are my favorites!

1. Dish-drying mats

After almost two decades of marriage and three kids, Steve and I agree on so many of the most important things. And yet, the topic of where to dry our hand-washed dishes became a battle. He was all for function – big clunky red dish drainer sitting on the counter.  I was for form – hide the drying dishes inside a sink. In the end, I conceded that there were better uses for our sink, so I set out to find the most unobtrusive dish drying racks possible. I settled on this OXO Good Grips Large Silicone Drying Mat for drying large items and this OXO Good Grips Dish Rack for reusable water bottles and lunch containers.  These are both compact enough to store under the sink, when we’re not using them.

10 tips for a clutter-free kitchen: sleek dish drying racks that hide away when not in use | Jewels at Home


2. Suction cup sponge holder

Is this a new thing? I don’t remember seeing them before, and now it seems like everyone has one! I tuck our bottle brush next to our suction cup sponge holder, so it also stays off the counter.

10 tips for a clutter-free kitchen: a suction cup sponge holder keeps the counters clear | Jewels at Home


3. Clear vase for holding utensils

We hide most of our kitchen utensils in a drawer next to the stove, but I like having a few frequently-used items at our fingertips, including the dip-painted utensils I made for holiday gifts last year. A clear vase or mason jar gives a clean look while showing off those pretty painted handles!

10 tips for a clutter-free kitchen: a mason jar or clear vase for holding utensils | Jewels at Home


5. In-drawer knife block

I like having the knives out of the way, both for safety and to free up the counter. There are many varieties of these knife blocks, so you can find one that’s perfect for your needs. We have the Victorinox Swiss Army 14-Slot In-Drawer Cutlery Tray, which leaves us a little room left over scissors and other kitchen tools.
10 tips for a clutter-free kitchen: a knife block inside the drawer keeps the counters clear and protects little ones from sharp objects | Jewels at Home


6. Appliance storage

There seems to be a gadget for everything these days, and it’s hard to find a place for the waffle iron, the crock pot, the mixer… We compromised by leaving a few daily essentials – the toaster and coffee/tea supplies – out on the counter, and the rest are stored in cabinets. I put the heavy and/or heavily used items down low and the rest in our high cabinets that we access less often.

10 tips for a clutter-free kitchen: Tuck away as many appliances as possible| Jewels at Home

7. Group items on decorative trays

Using a tray to collect smaller items definitely clears off the counter.

10 tips for a clutter-free kitchen: Use a pretty tray to corral loose items| Jewels at HomeYou can buy a tray or try one of these beautiful DIY ideas:

My friend Ariana wrote a great post about using trays over at Revolving Decor. Her site has a daily blog and listings for great used furniture.

8. Under-sink storage

Measure your space, and you’ll find the perfect garbage can, shelf, or organizer to make the most of the area under your sink.

10 tips for a clutter-free kitchen: measure and maximize the spaces under your sink | Jewels at Home


9. Semi-opaque glass fronts

I like the look of glass fronts on cabinets, but I didn’t want to worry about keeping everything perfect inside. This fluted / reeded glass pattern gives an open feel and a glimpse of the cabinet contents, without sharing all the details!

If you already have clear glass in your cabinets, you can add Etched Glass Window Film to your glass. I did this to a hall cabinet we have upstairs.

10 tips for a clutter-free kitchen: fluted glass is stylish and hides a multitude of clutter | Jewels at Home

10 tips for a clutter-free kitchen: fluted glass gives an open feel but means you don't have to keep your cabinets perfect!| Jewels at Home

10 tips for a clutter-free kitchen: Using this fluted glass in the cabinet fronts gives an open feel without spilling all your secrets | Jewels at Home

10. Out-of kitchen storage

The last tip for a clutter-free kitchen isn’t in the kitchen.  We have an overflow pantry area in our basement that has a deep freezer and all the extras of pantry items and kitchen supplies.

10 tips for a clutter-free kitchen: An overflow pantry out of the way in the basement or garage can be a spacesaver for your kitchen| Jewels at Home

Looking for more beautiful and functional finds for your kitchen? I always find some good deals on great items at Zulily!

Those who know me might be surprised that I am writing about organizing, since I’m definitely not the neatest person around, but that means that if I can do it, so can you!