Madison Town Swap!

I am in the eternal state of "clearing stuff out," though, honestly, I never seem to make any headway. My "stuff" is currently winning. Occasionally, I go on a purging spree, boxing up stray glassware, unused kitchen gadgets, and outgrown toys. When I finally get around to calling a donation organization, I find that I need to wait three weeks until their truck is in my neighborhood. Last year, they called the night before to confirm, saying that I should have the items out by my garage by 7am. As I left the house at 7:25am to drop my son at school, I dragged a few boxes out, and expected to get the rest out about 10 minutes later when I returned. "They never come this early," I thought. Of course, this time they did, and there I was with five more boxes and three bags still in my garage. So, when I saw the notices around town recently about the first Madison Town Swap that will take place on Saturday, April 28, I was curious to learn more! What is a "swap" and how will it work? I got in touch with Ellen Kranefuss, who volunteers with the Madison Environmental Commission, to learn more. She explained the purpose of the swap, and described what it will be like.


The Madison Environmental Commission and the Borough of Madison's Department of Public Works have teamed up to create a Madison Town Swap on Saturday, April 28, from 8am-1pm, at the DPW Municipal Garage on John Avenue. The goal is to keep items out of the landfill while reducing Madison's carbon footprint. It is also a way for Madison residents to come together as a community and find new homes for their unwanted items, while also possibly coming away with something new to them!

Here is how it works:

  1. Clean out your garage, attic, closets, etc. and find items you are willing to donate. Box or bag up any acceptable items:

***Looking for places to donate or get rid of items on the "Items Not Accepted" list? Click here for suggestions from Sustainable Madison NJ  for how to get rid of things like mattresses, stuffed animals, TVs, books, and baby seats.

***The only exception is trophies. Madison has arranged for trophy recycling so please bring $1 for each trophy you would like to recycle and the Town Swap will do the rest. 

2. On Saturday, April 28, from 8am-1pm (the earlier in the day, the better!), bring your items to the DPW Municipal Garage on John Avenue. Show your valid ID with Madison address. (The Town Swap is open to Madison residents only.) Volunteers help unload your car, and then they will place your items on tables for fellow Madison residents to peruse and take home, if they like.

3. Stick around if you want (or come back any time 8am-1pm) and see if you can find some items you would like to take home! Then take them home--for free! Any Madison resident (with ID to confirm address) is welcome to take home items they want--you do not need to donate or pay in order to take things home.

4. At the end of the day, volunteers will box up and donate or discard any remaining items.

The Madison Environmental Commission and the Madison Department of Public Works are looking forward to a great turnout. Every day, the workers at the Department of Public Works see first hand how many items Madison residents put into landfills. The goal is to keep gently used household items off the curbs and out of the landfills, and instead, in the hands of community residents who can re-purpose and enjoy them.

Interested in helping out at the Swap? The organizers are looking for volunteers, high school age and above. High schoolers interested in receiving service hours for their work should bring their forms. You can volunteer for an hour or two, or the whole event if you like. To volunteer, email the Madison Environmental Commission at  or call the Madison Department of Public Works at 973-593-3088. You can also sign up at the Sign-up Genius form here. Volunteers should wear comfortable clothing and sturdy shoes. They recommend to bring work gloves as you will be helping to carry light furniture and household items off and on cars.

To learn more about the Madison Environmental Commission, visit