Happy Tuesday Aunties!
I hope that this week finds you well. Here in Austin we are under a water advisory, meaning that my second workout this morning (and yesterday) was carrying a case of water in for the office. What can I say? I care. [I hope my FitBit is happy.]
While there are somethings that are absolute essentials (like clean water) there are other things that we may use for a bit, and then decide that maybe isn’t the best fit for you. Perhaps that kitchen gadget you bought on a whim, the dress that has outstayed its welcome, or left-over craft supplies. When faced with this situation, or when I have one-off need that doesn’t warrant a purchase, I have found the perfect solution – my neighborhood Buy Nothing group!
This phenomenon is not just for my neighborhood though, there are neighborhood groups established all over the world. Let me step back and attempt to explain in a rational manner.
To start, Buy Nothing is a giving/sharing community. You can read more about it here. Through Facebook groups, people post anything that they are willing to give, or anything that they might have a need for (an “ask.”) The other people in the group respond to say that they are interested in the item or that they have the item being requested. Once a recipient or giver is chosen (there are different suggestions for how to select) then a pick up is arranged. A key component of Buy Nothing is that no selling or swapping is allowed.
In looking in my group today, the most recent “gives” include: leather toddler shoes, a gaggle of picture frames, and a handmade pet staircase. Let’s run with the picture frame example shall we? People are looking at the picture frames and expressing interest in the ones that they would like to have. The giver will select a recipient (sometimes by random number, sometimes by asking a fun question, sometimes by choosing the first to respond, etc) and then an arrange a pickup. The give doesn’t have to be an item either. There are gifts of self and services as well, such as for rides, handyman services, etc.
The “ask” side works much of the same way. Right now there is a post asking to borrow snow shoes for a child (not something that needs to be a “forever buy” in Texas.) Recently I have seen asks for someone to mow a lawn after a surgery, for items to help someone leaving an abusive situation, or someone needing a small quantity of something (four file folders, one battery, etc.)
I recently messaged with the woman who gave me the most gorgeous writing desk ever. It is the center of my “meditation” corner it holds books, cards from loved ones, and markers for coloring. I told her that I wanted the desk because it would be encouragement to try writing more outside of work. I think it was passed down in her family, I think it has the energy of writers past. The gift helped me have the courage to start this blog, and then branch out to others.
Clearly, my experience with Buy Nothing been extremely positive. I have met more of my neighbors, people are friendly and encouraging of each other, and its just plain fun to read sometimes. My favorite experiences are when I am able to answer an “ask.” I have loaned out party supplies and my paper shredder; I have offered my immersion blender to a neighbor who was experimenting with soup; I gave a growing pile of clothes in the corner of my closet to a woman who needed appropriate clothes for her new job environment. While I legitimately just love that I reduced waste and was able to help someone out, it is pretty rare that you get to see how your item really impacted someone. People are so appreciative, there are posts expressing gratitude for what was received (highly encouraged!) And the euphoria is contagious.
I definitely encourage all of you to check out your local group and get into some fun conservation. Share any stories of your encounters below!