During the winter break, many of us tried to use our time wisely by decluttering and organizing our closets. Ending up with a pile of clothes on our bed, we wondered what we were going to do with all of it.

Some websites, such as Bunz, only allow trading of items instead of monetary exchange. However, it can get hectic meeting up different buyers and sellers. Instead, in the burgeoning Facebook economy, there’s so many Facebook groups for buying and selling nowadays. The last time I checked, UTM had at least four. When you do make a deal, there are many risks in the buyer or seller flaking last minute. Plus, it’s hard to keep up with all these deals from all these different groups. It’s easy to get buyer’s regret if someone bought an item and a person comes along offering a cheaper price for a similar item in another group.

So, what can we—UTM students who live and study in a relatively secluded campus—do?

Florence Cao, a fourth-year student studying computer science and professional writing, found a solution—clothing swaps. Cao has held clothing swaps on campus before, and aims to do it again for a third time this year.

“A clothing swap is an opportunity for people to get rid of clothes that they no longer wear,” says Cao, “Sometimes it’s hard to get rid of clothes. But if you’re giving it to a friend, you’re more likely to get rid of the items that you don’t want.”

Clothing swaps bring to life the adage, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” During clothing swaps and trades, you get to see the person who will be giving a new home to the blouse that didn’t fit you. It’s easier to part with that blouse knowing how happy you made another person.

When asked if clothing swaps can be expanded to more than just clothing, such as makeup or electronics, Cao mentions, “For my Zero Waste club, we’re thinking of doing an item swap.”

Cao’s main motivation to start the clothing swap was minimalism, a concept popularized by Mari Kondo and various bloggers across the internet, and even websites like Reddit. Another motivation for Cao was the environmental aspect, as trading clothes is a way of reusing instead of contributing to a landfill.

But what happens when more than one person wants a particular item?

“Usually there’s only one person who wants it,” says Cao. However, she mentions that if it does come down to it, they usually do a vote. “Or it’s like a fun ‘Where would you wear this?” thing. Almost like a fun game,” continues Cao, “It always works out. I can’t explain why.”

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