Over the past several weeks I’ve received – for free – a used cooler, new hair ties and gummy licorice candy. I’ve also given away to my neighbors all the extra stuff that’s been sitting around my kitchen for years, including a bread machine, light bulbs that I no longer need, a power drill, vases, and an opened bottle of root beer extract, in addition to a bunch of other stuff.
I did this without attending or holding any garage sales. In fact, I never even met the people I gave to or received from. Instead, I did it all through the Buy Nothing Project, a Facebook group that creates hyper-local communities for people to give away items and services. It was started in 2013 by two Bainbridge Island women – Liesl Clark and Rebecca Rockefeller.
My group is “Buy Nothing Bellevue (South)” and includes 448 members within roughly a four-mile radius. Anyone interested in joining must ask to be included in the closed group. Once in, members can offer items and services for free and post requests for items or services they’re hoping to find. Again, it’s all for free.
I’ve seen everything posted from a full office’s worth of furniture to a half-eaten pizza. Some of the more common items are children’s clothing and kitchen things. Some items receive a ton of interest, such as the Seattle Sounders women’s jersey. Others receive comments, but no takers – like my 1979 Harvest Gold range. I find Buy Nothing a fun and rewarding way to dispose of unwanted items. I know they’re going to someone who cares enough about them to respond to a Facebook post and to pick them up from outside my house.
Here is more information from the Buy Nothing website about the project.
Our Buy Nothing Project Mission:
We offer people a way to give and receive, share, lend, and express gratitude through a worldwide network of hyper-local gift economies in which the true wealth is the web of connections formed between people who are real-life neighbors.
- We believe our hyper-local groups strengthen the social fabric of their communities, and ensure the health and vitality of each member.
- We come from a place of abundance ~ not scarcity.
- We believe in abundance, we give, we ask, we share, we lend and we express gratitude.
- We are a gift economy, not a charity. We see no difference between want and need, waste and treasure.
- We measure wealth by the personal connections made and trust between people.
- We value people and their stories and narratives above the ‘stuff.’
- We are inclusive and civil at our core.
- We value transparency and honesty in all our interactions.
- We view all gifts as equal; the human connection is the value.
- We believe every community has the same wealth of generosity and abundance.
I really love Buy Nothing and highly recommend joining one in your neighborhood.