By Nicole Longstreath

Of course we know that clothing swap events are great. They provide the perfect opportunity to build community by exchanging good clothing with your friends and neighbors. A swap event also empowers us by opening up a range of options for how we acquire our latest fashions because it does not limit us to styles that are currently being offered in generic department stores.

What clothing swaps do not provide is an opportunity to dump clothing no one wants.

When perusing your closet for swap items, pick the best of what you don't wear or want.

When cleaning out our closets for a swap event, intentions are always good, but it’s important to consider how your garment(s) will be received by other swappers. To help you through your next clothing swap, I’ve listed types of clothing which you should never bring with you.

1.) Clothing in poor condition.

We all know that one of the ideas behind a clothing swap is to prevent unwanted clothing from ending up in a landfill, but there is a point at which clothing wears out. When a garment has stains which can’t be removed or is damaged beyond repair, it is perfectly acceptable to repurpose or give to Goodwill or the Salvation Army to recycle into rags (check with your local thrift store). Thinking that someone else can repair or clean something that you cannot is just bad form.

2.) Clothing styles which are outdated.

Retro styles come and go. In the 80’s, we loved the 60’s; in the 90’s it was the 70’s and now we’re currently having a major 80’s flashback. Children of the 80’s like myself never would have expected styles like leggings with tunics to come back into vogue – but here we are, slipping our boots over leggings paired with a long tunic. However, swapping vintage styles requires keen editing skills. Before packing up your vintage items for a swap, ask yourself if they are in good condition and have unique character. If not, don’t bring them to the swap.

3.) Clothing which is disposable.

You know what I’m talking about. The siren call of a $19-cardigan is is irresistible to most of us even though we know, deep down inside, it won’t make it through two wash cycles. Sadly, disposable clothing has made its way into most of our closets somehow. It’s mass-produced, probably flammable and you shouldn’t be buying it in the first place. Therefore, these items of disposable clothing should not be swapped.

A good rule of thumb with swapping is not to swap anything you wouldn’t lend to a friend. Make sure the items you’re bringing to swap are freshly laundered, check collars for stains and include all required attachments — like belts for belted dresses, cardigans, etc.

Once you’ve edited your swap offering using the guidelines above, you will earn some major credibility with other swappers and you’ll be swapping like a pro!