The 143 Exchange is a FREE children’s clothing exchange in Cohasset. Read more about the organization in our interview below, plus tips on how you can take care of the planet! Mark your calendars for their next event, May 1st and 2nd, 2021. All are welcome!
Where are you from originally?
California (Chrissy), Connecticut (Marisa), The UK (Sarah).
How many kids do you have? Names and Ages?
Chrissy: Three kids. Colton (5), Kennedy (4), and Berkeley (23 mo.)
Marisa: Two Kids: Everett (7) and Kaira (4)
Sarah: Two kids. Poppy (9) and Toby (6)
Where on the South Shore do you live? How long have you lived in the South Shore area?
All three of us live in Cohasset and moved here within the last three years.
What is your favorite thing about living here?
We all really love the small town feel and sense of community you get in Cohasset. We also love being by the water and the natural beauty of the area.
What do you love to do with your kids around town?
Anything outside! We love taking them to Holly Hill Farm for long walks and looking at the animals, exploring Wompatuck, Bare Cove Park, and World’s End, and of course, the beach. Bike rides down to town are also a favorite.
What is the best advice you have received as a mom?
(Chrissy) Try your best to find the humor in parenting, even in the hard times. Kids are hilarious, and most of the tough situations will be funny at some point. Try to see that humor now – it makes it a lot more fun.
(Sarah) Everything is a phase, for good and bad. The tantrums, sleepless nights are all a phase and will end one day but so will the snuggles and hugs. Enjoy the good bits while you can and know that you will get through the bad times.
(Marisa) Take all of your plans and throw them out of the window. Things will not always go according to how you would like them to, and that is ok. Just roll with it and you’ll be much happier.
What is the best advice you would like to give to a new mom?
(Chrissy) Be willing to accept help when you need it. This was something that was very hard for me to do at first – I felt like I should be able to do it all. But no one can do everything, and sometimes you need help, if only for your own sanity.
(Sarah) Be patient with yourself. You know your body and your baby even when you think you don’t. Trust your gut.
(Marisa) Let your kids try and fail. So often I jump in to do things for my kids because I can do it faster or better or neater, but they will never learn if I keep doing that, so now I try to embrace the messes more and just let them have at it.
Tell us how 143exchange came to be?
(Chrissy) My in-laws live on Martha’s Vineyard and when we first moved from California we spent a winter living with them on the island. They have a family center there that organizes playdates and kids activities for the locals, and I spent a lot of time there. The family center also runs a program similar to the 143 Exchange specifically for baby items, and I thought it was such a great idea!
After being in Cohasset for a while, I realized that we have so many young families in the area and so many of us were buying similar things for our kids. I thought the exchange could be a great way for families to expand their “hand me down” circle to the entire community, reducing waste while also building connections amongst the families in the area.
How can South Shore Families participate?
Anyone can contribute clothes to the exchange and/or come to an event to get free clothes for their children. Collections are being done continuously and events are currently being held quarterly. Our next event is May 1st and May 2nd. Follow us @143exchange on instagram or facebook for details on the event and drop off locations.
What is something every family should be doing at home to do their part in helping the environment?
Just thinking about how your decisions impact the planet is a great place to start! Then start making small changes where you can. Buying less and choosing secondhand, buying less plastic (especially single use!), bringing your own grocery bags, and reducing your food waste are good starting points.
(Sarah) Like Chrissy said, it’s all about small changes. It’s a journey. Before you know it the small changes will be new habits and you’ll be trying more ways to reduce your impact. Helping the planet isn’t about sacrifice or being a martyr either, in many ways it’s actually about having more choice. For example we’re not vegan but we now include vegan meals in our weekly meal plans to give us more variety. Start small and find friends that are trying to do it too so you can bounce ideas off each other. There’s a great community of sustainably minded people in Cohasset who are really great for questions and tips. .
(Marisa) Aside from what’s already been said above also, talk about it as a family and let your kids be a part of the change too. Kids can be incredible drivers of change and will feel empowered to talk about the environment with their friends and so begins the ripple effects.
What’s been the most surprising thing you’ve found since you started the 143exchange?
I think the perception of a clothing exchange can be that the clothes are beat up or not in style, but I am constantly surprised at the high quality of the clothes that we receive. Children grow so fast and often the clothes still have so much life in them after we’re done with them – it really reaffirms why we are doing this!
What is the most shocking thing you’ve discovered about the fast fashion industry?
I am still shocked everytime I read any of the statistics on how fast fashion is affecting the environment and the communities where the clothing is made. For example, did you know that the equivalent of one garbage truck full of clothes is burned or dumped in a landfill every second? Every second. The 143 Exchange is one way we can ensure that our children’s clothes don’t end up in the landfill. Any contributions that don’t end up in the exchange are donated to local charities or sent to textile recycling, so you can feel good about where it ends up.
(Sarah) I think I heard today that polyester leeches millions of microplastics into our water supply every wash. These microplastics end up in our food system and it’s estimated every American eats a credit card worth of plastic a week. That blew my mind. They’ve even found microplastics in unborn babies. By choosing thrifted clothes or more sustainable fashion brands we reduce the amount of microplastics and chemicals in our water supply, thereby decreasing the detrimental effect they have on our health and the environment.
(Marisa) When you think about the fashion industry in the context of your own closet, it can be mind blowing. For example, a single pair of jeans takes over 1800 gallons of water to produce….that’s enough water for 1 person for 1 decade. That pair of jeans also requires insecticides and chemicals to produce the jeans which are destroying the surrounding ecosystems and as Sarah mentioned leaching into our water supply. That is just for a SINGLE pair of jeans, and if you are like me you probably have more then one pair.
Anything else you’d love to share?
I feel so lucky to have found a group of moms that took the idea of the exchange and ran with it as their own. It really has been a community effort to get this thing started and I’m so grateful to everyone who has been involved!
(Sarah) Come along and check out our next event on 1st and 2nd May. Even if you’ve never thrifted before, give it a try. What have you got to lose! We’ll be sending around a sign up for slots so follow @143exchange on facebook or instagram for all the latest news.