Tuesday, December 2, 2014


A few months ago I came across and article about the Buy Nothing Project. It is a small community based gift economy. People give freely of goods or services that they have and no longer use or just want to put into the community. There is no bartering, no selling, no trading. All gifts are given freely. Everyone in the group lives in a tight geographic area to facilitate completing transactions and encouraging community.

I was intrigued. Mostly because I felt like I had a lot sitting around the house that I didn’t use but wasn’t suitable for donation. Also, I liked that it sounded like a better way of potentially getting people things they need without going through a big-box thrift store for distribution or sale. I thought I’d only use it as a back up to taking things to Value Village.

So I searched for my local one and (after they verified that I do live in the community) I joined up. At first I just watched. People were giving really lovely things and even lovelier services. One woman, an illustrator, gave 10 random families a custom cartoon of their families. She said she didn’t have much materially to give but she had been so touched by the community that she wanted to share her gift.

I jumped into giving by posting a large bag of beauty samples from my misguided Birch Box subscription. I got a ton of responses! And gifting was smooth and had minimal human contact because most gifts are placed on your porch and the recipient just comes and collects. It was fun! I cleaned out my drawer of things I couldn’t have donated and someone was excited about it.
After a few more giveaways I decided to put my name in to receive something. There is a TON (>10 posts per day at least) of baby clothes or toys and a rotating box of toys. I signed up for the “Round Robin” of 0-18 month toys. I put in a few things Andrew has outgrown and we took a shape sorter, a kiddie flashlight, a train and a push car. These are currently Andrew’s favorite toys.
I was so stoked. I had these dreams of rotating out toys for him but in reality that is tough to do and can get spendy. This was a fun way to introduce new toys and allow some of his to find new hands.

We even got one of those cool Dr. office pop up toys.

And this dinosaur that my oldest nephew had when he was a baby.

I have gifted multiples of cookbooks, cloth diaper supplies, an old alarm clock and a number of other items that I had around that weren’t getting any love or use from us.

They also have lending libraries for tools, cookware and other items that you only need for a one-off situation. We are currently borrowing an electric stapler from a neighbor (who we don’t know at all).

Last weekend the coolest give I think I’ll get to give happened. Buy Nothing Redmond (BNR) is helping a woman throw a Buy Nothing wedding. I offered her the wedding dress I bought and didn’t wear if she liked it and it fit. She came over a few hours later to pick it up. Not 30min after that, she sent a picture of herself in the dress, she and her daughters beaming. It was a perfect fit and she liked it. I am SO EXCITED to be able to do that for her. I have had that dress hanging in my closet. I have had intentions of selling or donating it for more than 3 years. So my road to hell was probably well maintained. But now she is so excited and we have closet space back.

I like being a part of this community. Everyone seems to have a different story and have different needs. Some people just want to get rid of stuff, some people want to be able to change things up more often than if they were buying (ex. d├ęcor, books, KID STUFF <—me) and some people have a true need for help. The woman who got my extra cookbook was so excited to have Christmas present for her teenage daughter. It is neat to be able to meet these needs for my neighbors with basically no skin off my back.

Check out a Buy Nothing group near you!

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1 comment:

Kathy said...

This is so incredibly cool! I'm going to go check right now...