Clothes swap party!

I’m so excited to share my latest “frugal” adventure! 🙂

Last month I decided to tidy up my wardrobe. I had so many clothes that they didn’t fit in my wardrobe anymore. I wear most of my clothes frequently, but there are also a lot of clothes that I don’t wear anymore, or that I even never have worn. For example, sswap1ome of my clothes are just not my style anymore. These are clothes that I still have from when I was 20 (I can still fit in them so I never got rid of them). Then there are some clothes that never fitted that well. These are mostly clothes that I had bought very cheap in sales and from which I had made myself believe that they would fit better at home (now I know better, if they don’t look that good in the store, they won’t look good at home, even if they are very cheap). Then I also have lots of clothes that are just worn out but that I never wanted to get rid of because I loved wearing them. They were/are my favourite pieces, but they don’t look that decent anymore. I always made myself believe that they for example are still perfect to wear on a lazy Sunday at home.

So it was time for me to tidy up my wardrobe and organise my clothes (and my accessories). I obliged myself to organise one shelf/drawer a day, and to be very strict for myself (everything that I didn’t wear anymore had to go!). It was very hard to get rid of the first piece. I kept finding excuses and situations to wear that certain piece that I had not worn for so many years (a lazy Sunday at home, when I have to paint, to work in the garden, a dress up party … ). But once I found the strength to get rid of that first piece, the rest followed really soon. I ended with an organised wardrobe, with clothes that fit and are my style and that I often wear. I even rediscovered a lot of clothes that I had forgotten.

I also ended up with a huge pile of clothes and accessories that I wanted to get rid of. I organised everything in three piles: damaged/not wearable, worn out/wearable, as good as new.

The pile of damaged/not wearable clothes was luckily not that big. Most of these clothes had small holes in them. Now I finally threw these clothes away. swap2Some of them I cut in pieces and made rags of them. I also kept one very nice dress with the intention of making a skirt of it (only the top is damaged).

Then there was the pile worn out/wearable clothes. This was a big pile of worn out clothes that are still very wearable. I donated these clothes to charity.

The third pile was the pile as good as new clothes. This pile was not super big,   but not really small either. These were the clothes that I never (or almost never) had worn and thus were still in perfect condition. I hesitated to sell them, but I did not really know where and how … So then I thought that it maybe would be a nice idea to organise a clothes swap party. I had read about it and thought it would be fun and a good excuse to hang out with my friends.

If you have never heard of it, a clothes swap party is a party/evening where everyone brings clothes or accessories that she (or he) never wears anymore. Then you just start swapping clothes. What for one person doesn’t fit anymore can fit perfectly for someone else. There even exist big swap events where you receive coupons for the clothes that you brought, and these coupons can then be used to take other clothes (for example 1 coupon is one piece). Obviously we kept it a bit more informal here ;).

I just organised a low key swap party at home with a couple of friends where no one was obliged to take any clothes with her and where everyone could take home whatever she wants. I wanted a fun “ladies evening” (and of course get rid of stuff). It was the first time that I organised such a party so I had no idea what to expect. When I had invited my friends, they were quite reluctant (they did not know whether they had clothes that they never wore, and if the had they would be ashamed of them…). But they were in for a “ladies evening” with bubbles (sparkling wine), chocolate, and good company! (The clothes were a side issue).

To my biggest surprise, everyone had brought a big bag of clothes and accessories. With all these clothes, shoes, handbags, scarves, earrings, … my living room was transformed in a small store (at that point my boyfriend took refuge upstairs in his office. The combination of six ladies and a big pile of clothes was too much). So then we started swapping things. We had all different sizes and shapes which turned out to be perfect. What for person A didn’t fit anymore, fitted for person B.

The evening turned out to be a BIG success! Everyone had found several clothes and/or accessories that she liked. I found:

  • 1 nice skirt that had gotten too small for some else (in my favourite colour)
  • 1 skinny jeans that had gotten too small for some else
  • 1 pair of new shoes. They were too small for the person who had bought it, but she was not able to return them to store.
  • 2 scarves. Ok I already have lots of scarves, but no white or yellow one … And I wear one almost every day
  • 1 pair of earringsswap3

It was a fun evening with friends, everyone got new clothes (I don’t need to go shopping for a while), I got rid of a lot of stuff and was happy that I made some friends happy with them (The clothes that no one wanted went to charity).

Apart from these things, the party also created an awareness with all of us. The cleaning of our wardrobe, swapping clothes and talking about it (why they didn’t fit (anymore), why we never wore it ….) helped to raise some awareness of shopping and buying new things. I for sure will think twice before buying something new.

In the future I will definitely do a swap party again! A clothes swap party will be for in five or ten years because now my wardrobe is organised and I’m not planning to buy a lot of new clothes. And if I buy something new I will better think about it. Another swap party will be coming soon. A friend was so enthusiastic that she’s thinking about organising a swap party where we can swap other things like DVD’s, books, candles, decorations, and so on… It’s wonderful that the idea of a swap party was received so well, and it will be part of the future … I hope this blog will make all you warm for the idea of doing a swap party! It’s fun, you can make others happy with the things you don’t need/want anymore, and they on their turn can make you happy. One person’s trash is another’s treasure!

Did any of you do a swap party already? What are your experiences? Or what do you do with clothes that don’t fit anymore or that you never wear?

Cheers,
Fiona

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Our frugal lawnmower

The weather in Belgium is finally getting better! The sun is shining, the temperature is rising, the flowers are blossoming … All signs of spring are becoming visible. It’s just wonderful! It’s so amazing what a bit of sunshine can do to your mood :)!

A consequence of the weather getting better is that our grass is growing like crazy, and weed is popping up everywhere. This is a problem that until one year ago, we never had encountered. A year ago my boyfriend and I lived in a small apartment in the centre of the city. The closest thing we had to a garden was our tiled terrace which overlooked the street with passing cars and people shoppGardening. So our terrace didn’t need any gardening at all. When we then bought our house, we were so happy to have a garden, even though it’s quite tiny. We found it wonderful to have a terrace to barbeque on, to have grass, flowers, bushes, trees … Just wonderful to have our own small garden and being surrounded with a bit of nature.

We soon discovered that a garden, even a tiny one, needs quite some maintenance. We needed gardening tools including a lawnmower to cut the grass (we aren’t too fond of the “wild garden” look). Choosing a lawnmower to buy for our garden wasn’t an easy decision, since there are so many available on the market.

There are lawnmowers on electricity, on gas, or even robot lawnmowers that faithfully do their round in the garden day after day. After looking at the pros and cons of all these machines, we chose to buy a “push lawnmower”. It’s no robot that runs on his own, it doesn’t need electricity or gas, it just needs sheer man(or woman)power! It was a less obvious choice since push mowers aren’t very popular here (that’s my impression). But for our frugal household and minimal needs this was perfect.

Garden2I think you can call a push mower a frugal lawnmower. It runs on push or hand power, it’s more economical, it’s smaller, it’s maybe even less frustrating because it has no complex mechanics that can break easily … For these, and many other reasons, my boyfriend and I bought it.

We are very happy about it and don’t regret buying it. I have to admit that we hesitated a bit to buy it because we we’re afraid that it would be difficult to handle, but that luckily didn’t seem the case.

Some advantages of a push mower (if you have a small to medium garden, and you are wondering what kind of mower to buy) are:

  • Price: The price itself is the same like any other lawnmower (We bought ours for 120 euro). Because you don’t need any electricity or gas, and no expensive maintenance, it’s much cheaper. And of course compared to a robot it’s super cheap.
  • Power: No electricity or gas needed. Ok you need some hand power to push but it’s really doable. Even I (a not so strong girl), can handle it with ease. And it’s a good exercise.
  • Sound: It is very silent, no annoying loud noise. If you for example ever have the urge to mow your lawn in the middle of the night you can do it (Here in Belgium there are noise restrictions, no loud noises after 10 pm or on Sunday).
  • Maintenance: I can’t say it with certainty yet, because we don’t have ours that long, but I think it doesn’t need much maintenance (certainly if you compare it with other lawnmowers). Only sharpening the blade once in a while.
  • Storage: It’s much smaller than the average lawnmower. You can easily remover the handle which makes it super east to put away.

Garden3
With the weather being so good, and the grass having a growth spurt, my boyfriend took our lawnmower out of the basement and cut the grass. I tried to remove all the weed (with moderate succes)…

Now our garden is ready for the first barbeque of the year! 🙂

Cheers,
Fiona