Have you ever been to a “Naked Lady” Party?

Wait, what? No, it’s not R-rated. It’s simply a spring clean clothes exchange where ladies get together to both update and downsize their wardrobes.

I’ve hosted and participated in several, and it’s always a great time. Here’s why you should host a clothes exchange…

Let’s Have a Spring Clean Clothes Exchange

Everyone benefits from an honest and friendly opinion when trying on outfits, and we don’t always get that when shopping alone (or with kids in tow). During a Naked Lady Party (let’s just call it an NLP), mamas get to model gently used threads. Then, they decide whether to keep or pass on the “new” attire.

So, how does a clothes exchange work?

NLP Details

Step One: clean out your closet, and “spring” the unused apparel from usable hangers!

Step Two: donate or toss the yucky stuff, and compile the goodies into a sack or suitcase.

Step Three: bring your clothes/shoes/purses/coats to a friend’s house where everyone else does the same (those who can’t make the NLP can still drop off donations).

Step Four: voila, a pile of pretty pickings! Each person draws a number, and when it’s your turn, choose an item. If the friend shopping before you takes the silver sweater you’re eyeing, you two mamas can model it and decide who wears it best.

Step Five: fill your “shopping cart” and feel good about gifting your garments to girlfriends!

Step Six: the host transports leftovers to a local donation drive.

Tips For Hosting

If you’re the host, here are some recommendations: Pick a date for the clothing exchange (decide if you want kids to mingle for a playdate, or if this will be a moms’ only event). Invite friends and family members who might want to participate. Give them advance notice for closet cleaning.

Considerations

Covid considerations: host it outside! After all, we live in sunny California. Let the women know they are welcome to wear masks if they wish. Address the virus in context of RSVP conversations. And, of course, sick people (or those living with symptomatic relatives) shouldn’t come.

To gather the garb, put a tarp or sheet down on the ground or deck. If you happen to have a clothing rack, that’s even better (a clothesline could work, too).

Take turns going inside to try things on or set up a privacy area outside.

Snacks

Provide light snacks and drinks and/or ask guests to bring something to share. Use bowls, plates, coffee filters, spoons, and such, so food can be separated into portions (instead of everyone grabbing from the same chip bowl). Have the hand-sanitizer handy!

Up-cycling Is Fun

Let’s face it: our mom bods are changing as we age, and that’s okay. Fellow mom friends can relate as we “Roll with the Changes.”  A spring clean clothes exchange can help you find new clothes and spring clean your closet.

Up-cycling is good for the environment. Free clothes, friends, fashion, and fun are good for mama’s mood!

Donation Locations

Some places to donate leftover items include: your local Goodwill and thrift stores, neighborhood drop-off bins (near some grocery stores and libraries), ARC of Ventura County, Help of Ojai, and/or try The Buffalo Exchange on Main Street in Ventura.

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Tamara Miller Davis is an author, mother of two kidz with Z names, pet owner, fire captain's wife, substitute teacher, parent club volunteer, dance enthusiast, and U.S. Coast Guard veteran from Michigan. Tamara published her debut book "Despite the Buzz" in 2021. The colorful novel is a cautionary tale about tech's influence. She is a member of three other local writing groups: the Writers and Publishers Network, Ojai Poetry Series, and Ventura County Writers Club. Tamara enjoys reading, rollerblading, downhill skiing, boogie boarding, tubing, kayaking, walking her dog, listening to podcasts, traveling, going to concerts, supporting causes, and finding common ground with a variety of people. She also likes making lists. Tamara appreciates this quote from Stephen King's memoir "On Writing": "You must not come lightly to the blank page."

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