Guest post by Emily Laney: volunteer, advocate, and social worker.

A couple weeks ago I invited a group of girlfriends over for a new kind of party. There was plenty of chatting, sharing and eating (of course), but the premise of the party was a little bit more than your average Saturday morning brunch.

My friends came over for a “Swap Party.” I invited each attendee to bring items in her home that she was no longer using. Clothing, jewelry, accessories, home decor, and cookbooks – really anything that was still in good condition but was no longer something used in her home. For our party, clothes and jewelry were the big items. My living room was overflowing with really great dresses, necklaces, jeans, and tops. When my friends arrived I took their items and placed them in the living room on display. We all ate and chatted for a while, and I then I was able to share a little big more about the main reason I wanted to host this party.

We all have items in our home that we are not using anymore. And if you’re like me, a couple of times a year you may go through your closets and pull out items to donate. Where do you take them? There are many great places in our city, but the Wellspring Treasures stores are unique. You are part of Wellspring’s mission to “Rescue, Restore, and Renew” with each donation and purchase to a Wellspring Treasures store.

As we enjoyed quiche, French toast muffins, and orange-pineapple punch, I explained that I would be taking leftover items to a Wellspring Treasures store. Several of the attendees had not heard of Wellspring Living and many had not heard of the resale stores, so it was an incredible opportunity to share about the work of Wellspring Living and how they could be involved. And let me tell you, we shopped! It was so much fun, and incredibly affirming. Eleven of us were each other’s personal shoppers. As we dug into the pile of clothes and accessories, I heard the following:

“This is cute! It would look great on you Sara!”

“Oh, if you put this shirt and this skirt together, it would be perfect for your new job!”

“This is beautiful. Who brought this?”

“Did you see that t-shirt scarf idea on Pinterest? I may turn this into a scarf!”

I ended up with two new scarves, a pair of earrings, and a new skirt. Some attendees found only one or two items, while others took home four or five. After our party concluded, I had six large bags of items leftover to take to the Wellspring Treasures Store in Virginia Highland. It felt great to drop off my friends’ and my items, knowing that this small action could literally save the life of a girl in my city.

Three of my friends are now hosting their own “Swap Parties,” with the donations going to the Wellspring Treasures Store closest to them. I’d invite you to host your own! I received a ton of feedback later on from attendees that they had a great time. We’re already planning another swap party in the fall for a whole new batch of donations.

So what do you think? Share in the comments if you think your friends may enjoy a “Swap Party.”

Emily Laney is a social worker, college professor, and activist. She tweets at @emilylaney and blogs at