This year, I am doing my best to #LiveLAGOM, which is a Swedish concept of having enough, but not too much. It all stemmed from a sustainable living project I am doing with IKEA and environmental charity Hubbub. One of my the ways I want to Live LAGOM is to cut the clutter, and remove the things we don’t need or use from our house.
This has led to me sorting out quite a ridiculous amount of clothes and accessories, to go to a new home. I was pretty ashamed of how many clothes and shoes I have, particularly considering I pretty much only ever wear skinny jeans and a sweatshirt or jumper! OK so I do obviously need dresses and nice clothes for weddings, parties, and work (though I need a lot less now I work from home a lot – helllloooo PJs!) but I definitely don’t need the seven or eight pairs of pre-children jeans that I am realistically never going to get back in to.
Instead of just taking them to a charity shop, I decided to hold a Swishing Party, to have some fun, and raise a bit of money for baby hearts charity Tiny Tickers. It’s Heart Week, which runs from the 7th to the 14th of February, so a great reason to do some fundraising, and also raise awareness of this great little charity. Several of my friends have had babies with heart problems, so I think it’s a great cause.
So here is a bit of background About Tiny Tickers:
Tiny Tickers is a small national charity that aims to improve the detection, care and treatment of congenital heart disease (CHD) in babies. Tiny Tickers provides specialist training to health professionals and sonographers and supports parents and families dealing with a diagnosis, as well as raising awareness of heart defects in babies so that parents know what signs to look out for.
Heart Week will help raise vital funds and awareness for the 1,000 babies who are sent home from hospitals every year with an undetected heart condition.
Think HEART points to a range of symptoms that, although non-specific, may be signs of an underlying heart defect – reducing oxygenated blood flow and needing urgent attention:
♥ Heart rate: too fast or slow? (normally 100 to 160 beats per minute)
♥ Energy & Feeding: sleepy, quiet, floppy, too tired to feed or falling asleep during feeds?
♥ Appearance: a pale, waxy, dusky, blue, purple, mottled or grey colour may mean that not enough oxygenated, red blood is getting to the body (normal oxygen saturations are 95-100%)
♥ Respiration: breathing too fast or slow? (normally 40-60 breaths per minute)
♥ Temperature: cold to touch – particularly hands and feet?
A great cause right? If you would like to support them, you can get a fundraising pack here. I actually didn’t manage to get around to that though! One of my blogging friends Louise from Little Hearts Big Love has a lot of posts about CHD, as her lovely daughter Jessica had a serious congenital heart defect called hypoplastic left heart syndrome, which was discovered at her 20 week scan. She is now three years old and doing very well!
So back to the Swishing. “So what is a swishing party?” I hear you ask.
It’s basically clothes swapping. Here’s how it works.
- Each guest has a sort out and brings some nice clothes they have fallen out of love with, or can’t get in to anymore. The ones that you have been holding on to, but never actually wear. We opened our party out to books and accessories too.
- They go to the party, and donate some cash for the chosen charity.
- All the clothes and hung up (I luckily managed to borrow a shop fitter’s rack. But that pretty much only held my own clothes! So we hung everyone else’s on doors and drying racks, and draped them all over the furniture.
- Everyone has a nice cup of tea and some cake, and a chat.
- Everyone roots through the donations, and goes home with a ‘new’ outfit (Or two. Or three. Or a bin bag full.)
- Any leftovers get taken to a charity shop, or donated somewhere.
- The money is donated to the chosen charity.
We bagged up the leftovers (there were about ten bing bags worth!) and put the party dresses in bags for charity shops, and the jeans, jumpers and more practical clothes in bags for MK Storehouse, a great charity who distribute donated clothing for adults and children of school age upwards free of charge to families and individuals who are in need, and have been referred to them. So not only have we decluttered out bulging wardrobes, got a few new-to-us outfits, and raised money for Tiny Hearts, we have also given (quite a lot) of clothes to charity so that even more people can benefit. Not bad for a few hours of fun!
Tips for getting the best from you Swishing Party:
- Team up with a friend, so that you have more than just your own friends – then you get more variety! My sister Debbie invited her friends and helped me to organise it.
- Make name badges for everyone if you have a mix of people who don’t know each other. I wish we had thought of that!
- Assign a dedicated area for people to put the clothes they have claimed – we had a few incidents where things got muddled up again, as we didn’t think of this.
- Have bedrooms available so people can try things on, and if you only have one full length mirror (like us) see if any of your guests can bring one. We only had the one, but in a way that was quite nice as we were asking other people what they thought.
- Ask guests to bring old coat hangers, so people can see the clothes easily.
We thought it was also much nicer than just giving clothes to charity – we all enjoyed seeing a friend looking great in our donations (even if we were just a teeny bit jealous!) And I am pleased to report that I was (fairly) restrained, and only got about ten things back. But that did include a pair of barely-worn boots and some Birkenstocks, as well as several pretty dresses. And now that my lounge is back to normal, it feels enormous!
Have you ever been to a swishing party? Did you get any goodies? I’d highly recommend it!