Have you heard of Buy Nothing groups? Have you wanted to try one out, but didn’t know quite what to expect? Do you have a lot of good stuff that you don’t need any more that you’d like to gift to someone else?
Buy Nothing groups are local Facebook groups that allow people to gift each other items for free. According to the Buy Nothing Project website, the rules of the group are:
“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. No buying or selling, no trades or bartering, we’re strictly a gift economy.”
If you’re trying to declutter and/or save money, Buy Nothing groups will help you reach your goals. Plus, you get to know people in your community that you might never have had the chance to meet before.
How I Started Participating in A Buy Nothing Group
I joined my local Buy Nothing group because I was feeling guilty about throwing stuff away. I wanted to declutter our house, but some of the things I had were just un-donateable, and definitely un-sellable. I ended up throwing a lot of good stuff away, or I kept it even though we didn’t need it.
I found my group by searching on the Buy Nothing website. There I found the information I needed to join a group in my town.
When I started out in my group, I tried to lay low for a while and see what people were like. People would request certain items, and if I had them (and we didn’t need them), I gifted the items to people in the group.
My first “gift” was a mini ironing board that I’ve only used two or three times. I’ve had it since I was in college…and I’m in my 40s now. It was time to pass it on, and I never would have considered getting rid of it if it weren’t for my Buy Nothing group.
When I listed my first “gift,” I was nervous that no one would want it. I took a picture, wrote a description, and waited. Luckily, someone wanted it, and they were good about picking it up on time.
After I was more comfortable with the group, I started doing “asks.” Before I bought something, I’d post to the group if I thought it might be something people might have and want to get rid of.
My most recent ask was for a little bit of potting soil. Someone gifted it to me, and I was pleasantly surprised when she told me she wanted to give me a huge bag of soil! I’ve used that soil to start vegetable gardening in our backyard.
I love that my Buy Nothing group helps connect stuff to the people who need it.
It’s Not All Perfect
There are some folks who get mad when they aren’t chosen for a gift. Luckily our group has a great moderator who reminds us that “it’s just stuff.” But it does put a damper on things when people get upset.
There are some who give more than others, and some who take more than others. Within the parameters of the group, it’s not supposed to matter. There’s no keeping score.
Sometimes people will flake out and not show up. Or not message you back. You have to be able to go with the flow and not get upset.
Buy Nothing Groups Cut Down on a Ton of Waste
Being in my group has kept me from throwing so much away. If you multiply that by the 400 members in our area, that’s a lot of perfectly good stuff that’s getting used instead of going to the landfill.
I didn’t intend to bring new stuff into our home via the group, but I have picked up a few things that kept me from spending money.
One of the best parts of being in the group, which I totally didn’t anticipate, was getting to know my town a little better.
I tend to stick to my routines and my regular routes. Because of the group, I drove to neighborhoods I never would have known about, and made new friends – all in the name of passing on some perfectly good stuff to people who will use it.