Giving Household Items Within Your Community

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October 4, 2021

A man giving a pot to a woman at the door.I am active in my local Buy Nothing group, where members gift furniture, clothing and other useful items to people in their local area. It is run on a Facebook page for my neighborhood, an area is a mile or so wide, bounded by the major streets. There are several different Buy Nothing neighborhoods in my city. This allows the members to be sure they are giving and receiving to their own neighbors, making pickups easy and bringing local communities together.


The Buy Nothing Project was started in Bainbridge, WA in 2013. It has spread across the U.S. and is now operating in 44 countries worldwide. It is an old idea with a new spin, a gift economy. Here is the description from their website.

"Buy Nothing Project rules are simple: Post anything you would live to give away, lend or share amongst neighbors. Ask for anything you would like to receive for free or borrow. Keep it legal. No hate speech. No buying or selling, no trades or bartering, we're strictly a gift economy.

I joined in the spring and quickly got rid of a few things that had been taking up space; an old Keurig, a new pressure cooker and a dress from my closet when someone asked for maternity clothes. If I saw something I liked or could use, I put my name in the hat. So far, I have gotten a small chest freezer that works perfectly, a large china cabinet with sliding glass doors, great seats to a Portland Timbers game, two sturdy wooden dressers and a variety of clothing and home decor items. It has saved me money and has given me a connection to many of the people who live just blocks from me. I've seen lots of produce this fall; tomatoes, apples, canned salsa, herbs. Sometimes, I see other food items; an extra pizza, something purchased by mistake, even half a sandwich or part of a cake. Nothing seems to go to waste.


My son moved into his own place this summer, leaving a room full of things he no longer wanted. I took photos and posted the toys, games and old furniture he had left behind. Anything that didn't get a bid, I put in a bag for the Goodwill. I have always donated things like this but it is so much more satisfying to know it is going to an individual who will appreciate it rather than in one of the sorting center bins.

If you have a Facebook membership, I would recommend seeing if you have a Buy Nothing group in your area. If you are not on Facebook, there are some other sites that do a similar thing. Freecycle has pages for specific cities, although membership is not limited to just your neighbors. Craigslist's free section is another example. And many garage sales will give away whatever is left on Sunday afternoon before hauling it away to be donated. Even if you don't have a specific group in your area, always let your friends and family know if you have something you need or would like to gift to someone else.



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