Tricks of the Trade
A swap can easily get out of hand when there’s four-ply cashmere or a Le Creuset Dutch oven up for grabs. Here’s how to maintain order.
Be clear about what’s swap-worthy. Ask friends to bring clean goods in gently used condition (that is, no ratty gym shorts or a Scrabble set missing the letter Q). Guests should also come with an extra tote bag for carting home their finds.
Stock up on supplies. Guests can claim desired items using color-coded stickers. Hangers and poster board (for signage) may also come in handy.
Establish a system. Choose one of the following swapping strategies, which should be explained in your Evite or at the start of the party.
- Take turns shopping. Draw straws to pick who shops first. Limit the number of items to three per turn to keep it fair and moving fast.
- Use tokens. The host hands out a poker chip for every item a guest donates. If a person brings 10 items, she gets 10 tokens with which she can purchase 10 new items.
- Keep the numbers even. Everybody goes home with the same number of items that they donated.
Tip: Give guests room to spread out their items by clearing off surfaces, such as dining and side tables, and using bins and trunks to serve as display space.