One of the hallmarks of the coronavirus shutdown was a sudden surplus of free time. Many residents spent it doing a bit of spring cleaning – in fact, some charity shops have reported such a swell in donations that volunteers have had to turn away offerings! If you’re one of the many who have pulled out old clothes and are wondering where to take them, Budapest is full of clothes-swap programmes where you can take the old and walk away with something new.
RE RU HA
RERUHA is an environmentally-conscious community found in south Buda. Every time you donate clothes, you receive points in return. These can then be used towards 50% off anything you purchase in the store, and then you only pay the remainder. You can also save your points for later, and each time you shop, RERUHA will send you an email with how many points you have left. RERUHA accepts clean clothes, shoes, bags and other accessories, and they post new donations on their Facebook page frequently, so you can see what’s available. And often you can find name brands on the racks – from Hilfiger to Columbia, Abercrombie – even Prada!
District XI. Bartók Béla út 82
Open: Mon-Fri 10am-6pm, Sat 10am-2pm
Swappis has relocated from Pesthidegkút to Újlipótváros – there’s also a webshop, if you prefer online shopping, with a minimum order value of 3,500 forints. Anyone is welcome to come browse the selection, and those who donate some old clothes automatically become members, and accrue points, which entitle them to 50% off anything in the collection. This means sweaters are 500 forints, coats 1,000-2,500, tops 1,000 and trousers 1,500. Founder Tünde was inspired to start Swappis after observing such operations in Sweden in 2005, where she studied sustainability. Again, the Swappis Facebook page is constantly updated with new arrivals, and the Instagram account shows some of the best.
District XIII. Raoul Wallenberg utca 1
Open: Mon-Fri 10am-6pm, Sat 10am-2pm
Many organisations in Budapest offer one-off events where residents can bring in their old clothes for swaps – and sometimes it’s more than just clothes, too!
Open Doors Hungary
Open Doors is a community organisation which promotes intercultural dialogue and provides the tools for creativity and design. In March 2020 they hosted a toys, plants, and books swap, which also included a repair corner where community members could bring in broken items to have them fixed, rather than throw them away. Such events are posted on Open Doors’ Facebook page, so follow them to stay informed.
Creator Open Workshop
Creator Open Workshop is a DIY workshop in Budapest’s XIV district, where anyone can come in and work on projects. They host clothes swaps throughout the year, with the last one being in February 2020. They ask that you only bring in seasonal clothes, and you leave with the same amount of clothes as you brought in (when you enter, your donations are counted and the number is written on a piece of paper). Usually a clothing swap is arranged every two or three months, so keep an eye on their Facebook page to see when the next one will be organised.
Of course, we can’t have a round-up of places to donate your clothes and get new ones without mentioning the fabulous charity shops which abound in Budapest. Walking into a charity shop is like going on a small treasure hunt, where you can find anything from real leather boots to specialised cooking equipment, wetsuits, antique furniture, funny hats and much, much more. While you won’t accrue points for your donated clothes, like you do at RERUHA and Swappis, you’ll still find incredible deals while you’re browsing, and you’ll know that the proceeds from your donated clothes will go to a good cause.
Have we missed any? If you know of any seaonal clothes swaps coming up soon, be sure to reach out to us on our Facebook page, and keep the spirit of sustainability going.