The Buy Nothing Project’s goal is to encourage 365 days of gifting. The main rule of the project is simple: you cannot buy or sell items through the project; it is only about giving and receiving.
Mission statement of Buy Nothing Project:
We 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.
Here is the rundown on why I have joined the Buy Nothing Project:
1. Builds Community
The project hooks you up with a local chapter. You can only be a part of one chapter at a time and must live in the chapter’s boundaries. This makes sense for picking items up, since everyone lives close by, but it also encourages community. What better way to help build community then by giving and receiving to/from your neighbors?
2. Feels Good to Give
Giving to a person feels good! Take a look at Why Being Generous is So Good For You. It feels rewarding handing an item to an actual person. I love meeting my neighbors when they come pick things up or when I go out to pick things up. It just feels neighborly!
3. Reduces Consumption of New Stuff
There is so much stuff in this world. Why buy something new if you can receive the item you need/want from someone who no longer needs/wants it? Reusing someone else's stuff not only helps your wallet, but helps the environment by reducing the need for new stuff to be produced.
This was perfect timing for us, as we needed to get rid of a ton of stuff to make room for the coming baby. We cleared out our guest room to make a nursery. We then consolidated the office/junk room into an office/guest room. This has been a challenge as this room had become overrun with stuff. Way too much stuff!
Plus, we needed new (to us) stuff for the nursery. We have been blessed with a ton of hand-me-down clothes, books, rocking chair and other baby gear. It has been a truly a positive experience.
4. No Need to Make Special Trips to Goodwill for Larger Items
We had a TV stand that we needed to get rid of ASAP last night, since the new one was getting delivered. I posted it on Buy Nothing, asking when can you pick it up and picked the quickest. We had that TV stand gone in under 2 hours!
A neighbor of ours rushed over with his truck. Him and my husband carried it out to the truck and it was gone! If we had to take this to Goodwill, we would have had to rent a Uhaul van. Then we would have planned a big Goodwill run with as much as we could to make as much use of the van as possible. AND we would have had to find someone to help my husband load it up, since I'm pregnant and am not going to be as helpful lifting heavy stuff as I used to be. This just made Buy Nothing even more convenient!
5. Providing Help to those in Need (in addition to those in want)
Buy Nothing specifically states in it's mission that it does not distinguish between need and want. Even so, I still see this group making positive impacts on those in need. In my few weeks of participating in the project, I have seen several people with real needs get generous support from their neighbors.
I have seen foster parents get on needing a car seat and clothes for a foster child they are receiving that night and neighbors pull through for them. I have also seen people get on and say they have no furniture and are broke and neighbors generously give what they can to help them out. I also have seen people post that their food stamp card got stolen and they now have no food for the next couple weeks. Again, neighbors pull together and delivered dry goods from their pantries and extra food that they have on hand.
6. It is Addictive!
My husband has already accused me of being addicted. He's not super enthused about all the baby stuff I have brought home, but has gotten excited over some of the non-baby stuff. It's also been great for getting rid of stuff quickly! It's just so much fun to give and receive stuff! It's like Christmas all year round!
A fellow bus rider suggested I join the Buy Nothing Project when I told her I was still looking for a rocking chair for my nursery. She informed me that she sees a ton of baby/kids stuff get put up through Buy Nothing (perfect for us nesting mommies!). She also then told me you can ask for what you are looking for.
I put up a post asking for a rocking chair... and guess what? I received one that weekend. I was so happy to check this off of my nursery list! And it was free!
Here is a sample of what I have received from my neighbors:
And here is a sample of what I have given to my neighbors:
It has been so handy in our purging and baby gear acquiring phase! I imagine we will be members of this group for a good while. I can see us continuing to acquire children's stuff for a good long time, but then putting up the no longer needed things after baby #2. It's going to be a great group to be a part of throughout our parenting years.
So go check out the Buy Nothing Project website and see if they have a local group in your area. If not, you can also start your own chapter!
What do you love the most about giving? Share with us in the comments below!