The latest craze in going green may just be your thing

By Sherry Swensk

We’ve all been there, standing in our closet, looking at the same clothes again and again wondering, “Why do I keep that citrine silk blouse, those coffee-colored capris and that short black skirt that I’ll never wear?” Why? Because they’re nice pieces that you spent good money on and that you swore you’d wear someday. But someday never comes. You know it, and they know it.

The same goes for unworn bling and baubles, those killer deals at the 50-percent-off shoe sales that you never slip your toes into and those perfectly matched purses that are still tucked away behind the tried-and-true handbags you tote around.

Now you can try a different method of repurposing your terrific threads and accessories with a Swap-It party. The next time you invite over the girls, ask them to bring a bottle of wine and some reusable fashions. And, like the name says … swap it!

It’s smart to set price parameters: It might be a tough trade when one friend brings her best BOGO deals while another offers to swap her gently worn Kate Spades. If you want, have your friends tag the purchase value. Price can be implied, but with so many great outlet deals these days, it’s hard to know exactly how much Gina really paid for that Gucci purse.

If you’re including clothes and shoes, try to pick a group of gals that are in the same size range; otherwise, they’ll have no one to exchange with. In this case, size matters. If you’re just switching out bags and baubles, then it’s simply a matter of taste.

Decide if it’s an item-per-item swap, or an open closet. Some ladies like to keep score and others couldn’t care less, as long as they leave with at least one good get. And the “nice, but not my style” garments and trinkets that are left on the table can either be taken back home or donated to charity.

Very few women have time to weed out wardrobes with that golden rule: unload two unused items for every one new piece you bring home. Or is it three unused items? I forget. That’s why my closet is choked with stuff that cries out to me every time I flip on the light. “Wear me. No, wear ME. You never wear ME.” It’s sad. They deserve to be worn and adorned.

If throwing a Swap-It soiree at home is not an option, then make the most of your lunch hour and bring a whole new method of recycling and reusing to your workplace. Your boss should embrace your budget-conscious and eco-minded creativity. Mary in the front office may have a pashmina perfect for Paula in accounting. Brenda in shipping may have a sorely neglected handbag that Nancy in customer service would love to get her hands on.

Look for an empty office, a cubicle or even the ladies lounge, if it’s large enough. That’s also a perfect place for trying on each other’s clothes. We recently gathered a group of co-workers, who all brought bangles, beads and other bling to barter, in our conference room. It was a lot of fun, and we walked away with some fabulous finds without pulling out our wallets or hitting the mall.

It’s fun to see your fashions on your friends, knowing you’ve made room in your closet and saved space in the landfill.