What do you do with your extra stuff? Take it to Goodwill? Save it for a charity garage sale? Give it to strangers via Freecycle or Craigslist? Toss it in the landfill (just kidding, Barb!)?
If you’ve ever thought that you might like to give away your surplus items to people right in your own neighborhood, and that joining a “giving economy” might be a great way to get to know your neighbors and build a sense of hyper-local community, check out this new Facebook group, powered by the Buy Nothing Project.
The Buy Nothing Project began last summer on Bainbridge Island. Its goal? “Give Freely. Share the bounty. Post anything you’d like to give away, lend, or share amongst neighbors. Ask for anything you’d like to receive for free or borrow. Keep it legal. Keep it civil.”
Within three weeks, the project had taken off with 1000 members, 5 groups within Washington and inquiries from across the globe. On Valentine’s Day it finally reached Wallingford/Fremont and now those who live south of 50th, north of the lake, west of I-5 and east of 3rd can join in the fun. Of course there are guidelines, but they are all straightforward. You give things away. You ask for things you need. You get to know the people that you live near.
You can give away anything! In the past, people have
offloaded given away: Halloween costumes, homemade wine, toys and supplies for local classrooms, furniture, and even bags of plastic bags. One neighbor’s trash is another one’s treasure, as they say.
Gifters are not limited to sharing goods. In other groups, people have given away lessons, gardening knowledge, face painting, in home care and more. The sharing of produce during the growing season is common. Officially, gifters may not trade or barter (forms and taxes being to complicate the situation). However, gifters are free to create relationships with each other that may lead to lovely hand-me-down chains or informal seed swaps. Anything is possible when you are gifting things to the people that you live nearby.