Montclair Swap is back after a two-year hiatus
After taking a two-year hiatus because of the pandemic, Montclair Swap is back – but in a new location. This weekend, Nov. 4 and 5, it will be held at the Montclair Women’s Club on Union Street.
The swap will be the 37th one since Jane Marcus started it in 2006. Donations may be dropped off on Friday, Nov. 4, from 4 to 6 p.m. On Saturday, Nov. 5, from 9 to 11 a.m., donated items may be picked up for free.
Marcus began the swap when she was in a mom’s group with her young children. As the kids got older, Marcus realized that their clothing and equipment were still in good condition or never used at all.
“As I would drive around town, you'd see strollers and high chairs sitting at the curb,” Marcus said. “So obviously, everyone had the same idea, what can we do about this stuff? And so that was the genesis of the swap.”
When the first one started, it consisted of baby clothes, toys, carseats and other items for children. After a couple of swaps, a resident dropped off her husband's suits, which prompted the swap to include a wider variety of items.
Eventually, the swap expanded to adult clothing, books, sports equipment and more.
“DVDs and video cassettes in their day went for much more than they would now of course,” Marcus said jokingly.
In addition to providing household items, Montclair Swap connected with biking advocacy organization Bike & Walk Montclair to hold a bike swap.
Prior to the pandemic, the swap would take place three times a year in the fall, winter, and spring. Now, as Marcus gears up to bring back the swap she is excited to fulfill any needs that the community may need.
While collecting her own items that she intends to include in the swap during the pandemic, Marcus was receiving emails from residents asking about when the next event would be.
As a result of COVID, Marcus is asking that residents donate only clothing and household goods for this initial swap. In terms of the condition when donated, Marcus likes to remind residents that “it has to be something that you would wear or something that you would use in your own home.”
The idea of the swap is more than just participants being able to get rid of or receive items for free but also contributes to the larger conversation surrounding sustainability and how events like the swap does its part to contain waste.
“Sharing what we have when you don't need it, giving it to someone else, so stuff really doesn't end up in landfills,” Marcus said. “And rather than putting it out at the curb, I can give it to someone who needs it.”
She recalls a particularly touching moment during one of her swaps when a pregnant woman came in and with the help of volunteers, received crucial items for her unborn child. Necessities, like a stroller, clothes and a baby bath, were given to the first time mother.
“There's a real movement now: reduce, recycle, reuse and it's interesting, because the donors are just as happy as the donees,” Marcus said. “So the people that drop off are just as happy as the people that come and take things.”
For more information or to volunteer at the swap, email email@example.com