Don’t go broke chasing after all the trends. Swap closets instead.

By Real Simple
Updated October 20, 2016
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You know the drill: You open your closet, scan, pause at the ridiculously impractical top you bought on sale, and reach for the same, safe black dress. Again. Time for a wardrobe refresh.

Instead of dropping a chunk of your check on every trend tempting you from your inbox (or the window of that cute boutique on your commute home), organize a style swap. Invite friends whose ensembles always have you asking, “Where did you get that?” and you’ll head home with a few fresh go-tos and a cure for a case of the basics blues. Follow our guide for putting together a swap sesh that will leave your whole gang well-heeled, without breaking the bank.

Build buzz

Send out invites—electronic or paper—at least three weeks before the swap to give guests enough time to comb through their closets. To ensure there’s enough stuff for everyone, invite at least 10 friends and ask them to bring three or more items each, all in like-new or gently worn condition (unintentional rips and holes need not apply). If you’re feeling fancy, collect a quick survey of measurements and shoe sizes in advance to help organize inventory ahead of time. A list of guests whose personal style and measurements vary is our swap strategy, so don’t worry if your guests are different shapes and sizes—a trip to the tailor or styling tricks like layering and belting can transform a garment into your next statement piece.

Fuel up

Set up a spread of non-greasy finger foods like crudités and berries so guests can browse without smudging the goods. Then add a self-serve beverage station with low-maintenance options like cold juices and hot or cold-brew Folgers® Coffeehouse Blend.

Lay some ground rules

Of course, a swap should be fun, but establishing a few guidelines will ensure a fair shopping experience for everyone. Take turns shopping by drawing straws to pick who goes first (limit the number of items per turn to keep things moving). Another option: Set a rule that each person goes home with the same number of items she came with.

Fake a fitting room

In an ideal world, we’d all have dressing rooms with multiple full-length mirrors. Don’t fret if that doesn’t exist in your home—you can set up a pseudo fitting room with opaque room dividers, or ask guests to wear a bathing suit underneath their clothing to make trying on items fast and free of awkwardness.

Donate the leftovers

Charities will welcome what your group no longer wants or needs. Bonus: The donation could turn into a write-off during tax season, so don’t forget to ask for a receipt.

Brew in bold new territory with Folgers® Coffeehouse Blend, distinctly delicious no matter the brewing method.

This is a paid post written by The Foundry on behalf of The Folger Coffee Company.