Years ago I justified the purchase of a fairly expensive Marc Jacobs lbd by telling myself, “I can wear it forever! It’s a classic! It will never go out of style!” While those statements may have been true, after years of wearing it, I got bored with it. That perfect little black dress was hanging in my closet in excellent condition, but I didn’t want to wear it anymore. The thought of selling it for pennies on the dollar at a luxury consignment shop didn’t appeal to me, and it seemed like a waste to leave it sitting in my closet unworn. Any time I considered donating it I would remember the small fortune I spent on it, and then I would tell myself I might wear it again someday.
Truth be told, this wasn’t the only designer cocktail dress languishing in my closet. As a passionate environmentalist, I am always looking for ways to reduce my carbon footprint, but my inner fashionista is often at odds with my larger goals of environmental conservation. I’m no stranger to thrifting, but my days of having time to comb through thrift shop racks are long behind me. So about seven years ago, I started searching for a clothing swap in my area. I started swapping with a small group of women and I promptly swapped all of the largely unworn pieces in my closet. I got a rush of satisfaction when I got several new pieces in exchange for the clothing I didn’t wear anymore. I had already invested in my wardrobe, and now it was giving me returns in the form of a whole new closet-full of clothes.
Swapping was extremely helpful when my clothing size was going up and down during and after two pregnancies. With the exception of items such as stockings, intimates and athletic wear, I haven’t had to purchase much new clothing since my swapping journey began. When I read the Marie Kondo book “The Life‑Changing Magic of Tidying Up” it felt amazing to know that I had already been, in a way, doing the KonMari Method with my clothing. As for the rest of the house, that’s another story. (Did I mention I have a toddler and an infant?) I keep striving toward minimalism, consuming less, creating less waste and generally stepping more lightly on the earth. So whether you are doing Project 333, the KonMari Method, the 30-Day Minimalism Game, whether you’re trying to save money, you want to reduce your carbon footprint, or you simply think it’s fun, swapping is for you!