Swishing parties: swapping’s the new shopping!

kids playing dress-up

kids playing dress-upSwishing parties are excellent ways to shop without spending. They’ll enable you to declutter and socialise too. They are also eco-fabulous and you don’t even need to leave the house! Let me explain.

A swishing party is a party you would attend armed with themed items you are willing to part with.

The theme could be books, it could be clothes or toys, perhaps – anything goes, whatever the host wants to specify on the invitation.

At the start of a swishing party all the attendees hand over their unwanted items and these would then be gathered together to showcase, usually in the host’s lounge or kitchen.

Next you get to have a bit of coffee, cake and a chat before you all grab a bag and go for a free shop. Basically you select what you want from the pile of items everyone has bought in. You can find some absolute treasures this way, they may be pre-loved but they’ll still be new to you.

My experience of a swishing party had children’s clothes as its theme. Everyone who came was asked to bring along a little snack dish too. We had a lovely buffet and left with a bagful of clothes for our kids. We had a good chat and a laugh too.  I really enjoyed myself and I got some lovely items, including two winter coats which would have cost me a lot of money.

Swishing party rules

If you’re thinking of hosting a swishing party you may want to have a think about rules. Some have no rules, which is a relaxed, informal approach to take.

However, if someone brings one item to donate and takes 20, this may cause some resentment. You could perhaps have a minimum three-item donation policy or suggest people take as many items as they donate.

Don’t go mad on refreshments if you host one of these parties or you could end up spending a fortune even though these are meant to be ‘money-saving’ exercises. It’s fine to just offer soft drinks but if others want to bring a bottle…

And remember, swishing parties don’t need to be small – they can also be held where big halls are hired. Usually, for a small fee and a donation of a certain number of items you’re allowed to ‘shop for free’ from a huge range of items up to a certain number of goods.

Anything left over at a swishing party can be donated to a charity shop.


Swishing is a great reason for you to sort through your stuff and pass on items you no longer love or need.

Recycling them in this way, rather than storing them or throwing them out, is a sound green solution.

Shopping for free? It’s pure delight! Why not give a swishing party a try?