We all have things we don’t need. The question is what’s the best way to get rid of them? Craig’s list? Nah, a little to shady for me. Yard Sale? I used to love the idea of a Yard Sale, and I’ve held quite a few. But let’s be honest, it’s a lot of work…pricing things, advertising, making signs for the neighborhood, and negotiating… nope, I’ll pass. Online Virtual Yard Sale – now we’re talking. The chance to make a little money and clean out your closets. Sometimes that works great and other times it’s just too frustrating negotiating and dealing with no-shows and shady characters. So, what’s a neighbor to do if they are looking for an efficient and safe way to give things away? I suggest using your local Buy Nothing Group.
Buy Nothing Groups are the offspring of the Buy Nothing Project; The mission of the project is to 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.
You can join your local Buy Nothing group via Facebook or the BuyNothing App. Once you become a member of a local group, you can post items that you’d like to give away, lend, or share with your local community! In addition to physical items, you can also offer service gifts such as gifts of self, time and talent.
In the group I belong to (Buy Nothing Bryn Mawr/Gladwyne) the guidelines are pretty simple and straight forward:
- Keep it legal. Keep it civil.
- You can join one group only, and that would be the group in the town where you live, so that you “give where you live,” and help strengthen your community.
- Give Freely. There is no buying or selling, no trades or bartering, no soliciting for cash.
- Ask, give and share creatively; sharing the reason you are gifting or requesting forms bonds within the community.
- Unlike most virtual yard sale groups, “first-come first-served” is an exception and not a rule. “Gifters” are encouraged to let posts “simmer”, so that all neighbors are given a fair chance to see a post and explain why they would like to be considered for an item.
- Respect your neighbors and their privacy.
When I first joined my local BuyNothing group a few years ago, my intent was solely to give away things I no longer needed in the easiest way possible, without leaving my house. However, after passing along countless items that might otherwise have gone to the trash (to people who were genuinely grateful and excited to take them off my hands), I feel more connected to my community. My “giftees” may have started out as strangers, but ended up becoming my neighbors, and whether they were just down the street or across town, it’s a great feeling knowing that I belong to such a kind, thankful and diverse community.
I’d like to give a special shout out to the Administrators of the Buy Nothing Bryn Mawr/Gladwyne Facebook group…You do an amazing job helping our group thrive and succeed in carrying out the mission of the Buy Nothing project!
If you’re interested in keeping up with the “feel-good news” about the gift economy culture, you can follow the Buy Nothing Project Page on Facebook or Instagram.