Don’t miss Swap Day on September 26

Melrose’s Third Annual Swap Day will be held on Saturday, September 26 from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. in the parking lot behind City Hall at 562 Main Street. The event is run by the Melrose Department of Public Works and the Melrose Recycling Committee in partnership with Birth to Five and the Friends of the Library.

Swap Day is a community reuse event that provides an opportunity to save reusable items from being discarded and give them a new life and a new home. You don’t have to bring something to take something. If you are looking to “de-clutter,” this is a good opportunity to give new life to items that may no longer have a place in your home but that have not outlived their usefulness. If you are moving in to Melrose, or just need certain items, here’s an opportunity to find what you are looking for while sticking to a tight budget. And getting something for free—how much more frugal can you be!

All items must be clean, only gently used and able to be carried by one person. All items will be inspected and approved before entering the event. Please enter the parking lot in between Memorial Hall and the Fire Station and follow the directions of the staff on site.

Although there may be some changes to the lists of acceptable and unacceptable items, for now, follow the guidelines presented here and set aside items accordingly.

Acceptable items:

  • Clothes and textiles, which in addition to shirts, pants, blouses, etc., may include purses, bags, jewelry, scarves, coats, gloves, hats, backpacks, totes, shoes, and sandals.
  • Books, CDs, DVDs: Books can include textbooks. CDs and DVDs should be in their original labelled cases and not scratched.
  • Sports equipment, including balls, bats, rackets, and roller blades.
  • School/office supplies, including notebooks, pens, pencils, markers, staplers, scissors, file folders, and craft items.
  • Household items such as small furniture (nothing upholstered) and home décor. This can include kitchen items such as dishware, pots, and pans; small electronics such as blenders and toasters (in working condition); small furniture such as tables and chairs (not upholstered, as noted); and artwork and décor, such as pictures and picture frames, baskets, vases, and clocks.
  • Small electronics, such as DVD players, radios, phones, and computer accessories. NO TVs and monitors. Those can be dropped off at the DPW City Yard during the week and during Saturday events.

Items that are NOT acceptable:

  • Large electronics: for example—as noted—TVs and monitors.
  • Large appliances and metal goods.
  • Large upholstered furniture.

All items not swapped will be donated to charitable organizations yet to be determined. For a complete list of items, visit Melrose Swap Day Acceptable Items.

For more information, contact Ann Waitt at awaitt@cityofmelrose.org or 781-665-0142.

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Got stuff? Local events can help you reduce clutter

Many people in Melrose and around the U.S. feel like they own so much “stuff” that it prevents them from enjoying life, makes them less productive, or leads to unnecessary cost.  The statistics about our stuff are surprising:  One person in 10 rents a storage unit to store excess belongings, and 25% of Americans with two-car garages can’t fit even one car in their over-stuffed garage.

Decluttering has become a national trend as people focus on reducing the volume of stuff filling their homes, offices, garages, rented storage spaces, etc.  Downsizing our stuff has many positive benefits, but an unintended consequence can be more waste heading to the landfill or incinerator.

That’s where the Melrose Recycling Committee can help:  Much of what you no longer need can be donated, repurposed, or recycled.  There are five upcoming events in Melrose to help you declutter with less waste.

  1. How-to expert advice: Sponsored by the Recycling Committee, Kathy Vines of Clever Girl Organizing will give two interactive talks at the September 3 Farmer’s Market: Downsizing (1-1:30 pm) and Organizing with Kids (3-3:30 pm).  Learn useful strategies and tips for tackling your clutter and getting organized.  The Recycling Committee will have a table at the market also, and committee members will be available all day to answer your recycling questions.
  2. Swap Day: Find a new home for your extra stuff at the 3rd Annual Swap Day on September 26 from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. in the parking lot behind City Hall at 562 Main Street.  Swap Day is a community reuse event that provides an opportunity to save reusable items from being discarded and give them a new life and a new home. You don’t have to bring something to take something. If you are moving in to Melrose, or just need certain items, here’s an opportunity to find what you are looking for free. Visit http://www.melrecyclingcommittee.wordpress.com for a complete list of acceptable items.
  3. City-wide yard sale: Participate in the city-wide yard sale on September 19. It’s a great way to reduce your belongings, meet your neighbors, and support the Milano Center and Melrose Friend’s of the Aging. Visit cityofmelrose.org/departments/council-on-aging for more information.
  4. Paper-shredding event: Securely shred your paper documents on Saturday, September 19 (8 am-12 pm at 72 Tremont St.)
  5. Household Hazardous Waste Day: Safely dispose of unused chemicals, paints and other hazardous waste on Saturday, October 24 (8am-12pm at 72 Tremont St.)

So make September your month to declutter: Start by learning from an expert on September 3 at the Farmer’s Market, and then get your stuff ready to swap or sell at Swap Day or the city-wide yard sale.

Over the longer term, there are steps you can take to prevent the build-up of clutter.  A great way to start is to add the 4th “R” – Refuse—to your habits of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.  “Refusing” an item—i.e., resisting the temptation to purchase something—prevents unnecessary stuff from cluttering your closets, drawers, and table tops.  If you don’t bring it home in the first place, you won’t have to clean it, care for it, repair it, or recycle it at the end of its life. Chances are you already have a tool or device on hand that can perform the function you wanted the new purchase to perform.

“Refusing” might also help you to think about where all the stuff in your home comes from: Before you take that free t-shirt, consider how many natural resources were used to make it, or will be required to dispose of it.  What kind of chemicals might it contain?  Was the person who made it paid a living wage? Do you want to be responsible for disposing of it?

For the stuff that you do have and want to dispose of, you can always consult the online Recyclopedia, a comprehensive online guide to donating and recycling a wide range of materials (www.melrecyclingcomittee.wordpress.com).