I have been to many enough swaps (most of them in New York, and one in Minneapolis), that I feel like I can definitely share some tips and advice on what kind of expectations to come with, what to look for, and how to get the most value for your money (if any money is involved) and time.
1. Know the time/date of the Swap, and manage your time wisely (How long will it take me to get there? Can I take a bus or do I need to drive? How long am I willing to spend there?)
2. Decide for yourself what kind of clothes, things you are looking for. Are there some things that you are willing to take and fix up? Do you have a creative side to you? The last swap I went to had a lot of sewing equipment, which you could use (I do wish I could’ve taken a sewing machine home 🙂 ) Sometimes all it takes is a pair of scissors and you end up with a cute denim skirt (I found a Gap size 4 midi skirt, and even though midi skirts are in right now, I cut a good chunk off the bottom, washed it, so it would fray and ended up with a great denim mini skirt for the next summer. Those are always in style!)
3. If you are at a swap where there is food or cosmetics – check for expiration date!
4. It’s normal to be shy when you attend your first swap, or a swap at a new place (I have to admit I was shy at the one in Minneapolis at first 🙂 ), but don’t be shy – go out there, look through things that are available, swaps are like – digging for gold!
5. If you come across an article of clothing that you are unsure of, put it back, someone else will put this to a great use.
6. Try things on. Sometimes there will be a place to try things on, sometimes – there won’t. I suggest wearing leggings or a skirt, that will allow you more freedom trying on skirts/shorts/pants. When it comes to tops – those, I found I can pick out without trying them on, so that’s a win-win situation.
7. Go to a swap party with your friends. I found that bringing (read: dragging) your significant other to a swap is not worth it, unless they are into swapping as much as you are! Last time I went swapping I was gone for over 4 hours. My husband would’ve definitely wanted to leave after 5 minutes of being there. And swaps don’t work like that, because new people come and bring new stuff, and you never know what time they are going to show up 🙂
8. Have fun! Meet people, strike small conversation, tell people something looks good on them, give out compliments, smile! When you radiate positive energy, people will draw to you!
I hope you find these tips helpful and will go and check out the next swap near you. To find a swap go to: http://events.swap.com/