The annual Useful Goods Exchange held at Sunnyside Environmental School for its first four years and the long running Sunnyside Neighborhood Clean Up merged to become the Sunnyside Swap and Spring Clean Up. This combined effort to reduce, reuse and recycle has taken place for the last three years at Saint Stephens Catholic Church gym and parking lot.
This event usually takes place in late April or early May.
Swap Shop founder, Karen Hery, who ran the Useful Goods Exchange since its inception and stewarded these past three years of the joint clean up and swap has retired from running this event. There is documentation available for the next organizer to be able to step in and keep a great thing going. If you are interested in considering this role, contact Karen Hery at karenhery©gmail•com or 503-407-2667.
Hours and items accepted for this event:
Drop off of useful goods begins on Friday 6-9pm through the main doors of the gym and continues on Saturday 9-4. If you drop off your useful goods on Friday you will receive free entry to the swap on Saturday.
Collection of bulky waste and recyclables takes place on Saturday 9-noon in the church parking lot.
Swapping happens all day on Saturday 9-4 in the gym. $2 admission donation per family.
Rummage Sale: All items not swapped on Saturday are part of the rummage sale on Sunday 10-1. All items in the rummage sale are free 12:30-1 on Sunday. Remaining items at the end of the rummage sale will be given to charities.
All money raised during the clean up and swap has traditionally been shared between the Sunnyside Neighborhood Association and the Sunnyside Swap Shop.
What to bring to the Swap (Friday drop off 6-9pm and Saturday drop and swap 9-4):
Any item that has useful good left in it is welcome at the exchange: clean clothing with out rips or tears, books, videos, DVDs, CD’s, furniture, dishes, craft supplies, gardening items, toys, working and non-working electronics, building supplies, etc.
Please no stained or torn clothing or hazardous chemicals.
What to bring to the Clean Up (Saturday 9-noon or until drop boxes are full): Old home and lawn furniture beyond repair, broken up concrete (with or without rebar),wood, metal, cardboard, sheet rock, sod/dirt, hard plastics (such as old/damaged toys beyond safe use), tires, yard debris (including stumps) and, new this year, our own metal collection bin good for all types of metal and metal appliances.
PROHIBITED MATERIALS: WET GARBAGE, FOOD WASTE, CHEMICALS, COMMERCIAL REFRIGERANTS, AUTO PARTS/MOTORS, GAS POWERED YARD MACHINES, HAZARDOUS WASTE INCLUDING ASBESTOS CONTAINING MATERIALS.
Cost to participate in the clean up: $10 a car, $15 SUV/wagon, $20 pickup/truck/van. If you are walking in or biking in with your clean up items, free or donate a smaller sum of your choice. Everyone donating at least $2 gets a ticket to get into the swap for free.
Volunteers will be directing traffic and helping to unload. They’ll be working hard to help make the drop off easy for you. Please listen carefully to their directions as they keep everyone safe and things running smoothly.
Tips for making the best of this event:
Leading up to the weekend:
Box and bag up any and all useful items that you would like out of your house and recirculating in community: clothes that no longer fit or suit, extra housewares, books, toys your kids have grown out of or grown tired of, spare furniture, usable construction materials, gardening supplies, etc. Read through the list of clean up items (above) and plan your transportation for Saturday morning – the earlier in the morning you plan to arrive with throw away and recyclables the better to assure there is room for your items in the drop boxes.
Friday 6-9pm – Drop off useful items in the gym to be set up for the Saturday Swap. Adult volunteers help our middle school managers and their crews create a department store in the gym for the big swap day on Saturday. Dropping off your items on Friday helps us have a great start on Saturday. Plus you get a free pass for Saturday as a thank you for bringing your items early.
Saturday Clean up 9-noon, All day swap 9-4. You can wait and bring in your useful items on Saturday any time between 9am and 4pm making a $2 donation when you come in. Come in the morning 9-noon (or until drop boxes are full) if you also have clean up items (see list and cost above). Add your own useful items to the departments (clothing, toys, furniture, books, household goods, renovation supplies) in the gym then shop for things you would like in return. All swapping is done on the honor system giving as much or more than you take in a way that feels fair to you. If you want to assure that you get fair value in return for the items you bring, you can shop first and swap second, taking out of the exchange the things that you want and returning by the close at 4pm with your items in trade.
Sunday – 10-1 Rummage sale . Want more items than you have items to trade? Come in on Sunday to shop. Most items $1. Larger items priced to move. Last half hour on Sunday, all items are free. Some of the clothes that remain at the end of Sunday will be made available to the homeless and near homeless through the Sunnyside Methodist Church building, delivered to Portland Public Schools clothing center and incorporated into the Swap Shop. Other items will be given to charitable organizations. If you have a favorite charity you like to provide with clothing or household goods, come gather what they may need the last half hour and at the end of the rummage sale.
How to help out:
Volunteers get the best selection of items for exchange. With new items coming in throughout Friday and Saturday and everything becoming free at the end of Sunday’ s rummage sale, every hour is a good hour to be volunteering.
Middle school students at Sunnyside Environmental School act as department managers and co-workers with each other and really make this great-for-the-environment exchange the amazing community swap and social event that it is. It just couldn’t run as well as it does with out their energy and enthusiasm.
Walk in volunteers (adults and students) are welcome the weekend of the event.
Looking forward to seeing a lot of familiar and new faces!
FYI: A slightly smaller version of this event – The Back-to-School Exchange – accepting just clothes, books, sports equipment and school supplies happens at the end of August to help kick of the new school year. Check back here in the summer for the event day.
Testimonials about the annual Sunnyside Swap and Spring Clean Up:
This event has created a big open space in our hearts, filled with dreams, hopes, realities, possibilities and connections for me and my family. My son, who somehow has the “materialism” gene, was utterly amazed at the sheer number of items there just for him (I imagine he thought) to choose from! The miracle occurred when he came to realize that all those toys that were there, all the stuff, was stuff that members of the community, his community, were so freely giving away. There were so many levels of appreciation to that realization of his, that his face could barely contain it, so that his smile got wild and his eyes rolled around happily in his head! It was breathtaking to behold, truly, to see the effects on my son’s face last Saturday! I cannot thank you enough.
- Nikki Monacelli
Founding member of the Sunnyside Swap Shop Co-op
Parent of a Sunnyside Environmental School student
I went out of town just after the Useful Goods Exchange and I couldn’t stop thinking and telling people about how cool it was and how there should be things like this all the time in every town. How could you walk away from such an event and not feel warmed by the teamwork, generosity and abundance. Also, how could you walk into a store and buy something new any time soon?! I look forward to continuing to raise my children in a neighborhood and a culture that values sharing and stewardship over materialism and consumption.
- Carmen VanEck, Sunnyside neighbor
My muscles are sore and my heart is happy having watched our whole neighborhood and swap shop community re-circulate such wonderful things with each other all weekend long.
It’s great having the neighborhood clean up and swap in the same location now. One family dug up a whole bed of lilies and irises intending to put them in the yard waste bin and some great volunteers bagged them all up for people to take home. The last bag went out the door just before we closed on Sunday. Love all the connections and benefits to us all.
- Karen Hery, event founder