3 Reasons I am Currently Obsessed with the Buy Nothing Project

by - Friday, July 17, 2015

from http://buynothingproject.org/
Last month, I joined a Buy Nothing group for our neighborhood, and I seriously love it so much. In case, like me, you don't know about it- The Buy Nothing Project is a large network of facebook groups where neighbors can either post things they have they no longer need or request things they need but don't have. You can't sell things, advertise things, or point people to other groups; the point is just hand to hand exchange of stuff (no money!). I feel like this project is life-changing, and here's why:

1. It Sets You Up to be Kind Everyday- Last week, a woman who is running away from an abusive husband came up to Seattle with her child and a backpack. Someone recommended the group to her, and I was so moved to watch our neighborhood outfit her with furniture, clothes for her kid, food to start, basically everything she needed. It was really moving to see how quickly people will part with their stuff to help someone else. I have also seen new foster parents get outfitted with everything they need And a pregnant woman in the hospital with complications have supplies she needed waiting for her on the porch when she got home.

Since joining, I think I had 5 or 6 people come to pick things up. So much of that stuff (some maternity clothes, skinny jeans sitting and mocking me, a bouncer, already retired baby clothes) that I let sit because "I might need it someday" is being put to real use now, and honestly it feels good. The Boy is worried I will give everything in our house away, but it does feel so good to see someone ask for something and know that we can help them. It feels like good stewardship to just keep things moving and in use.

These exchanges really do build community in the neighborhood I am in, moreso than anything else we are involved in so far in Seattle. The Buy Nothing Project is large enough here that they have it split into neighborhoods, so I am meeting many more people nearby (I think our group is going to break in 2 soon as well). It sets up cycles of gratitude and giving, and it really is amazing.

2. It Minimizes Waste- Did you know the average American will produce 60 times their weight in plastic waste in their lifetime? Sixty times! And that stuff isn't going anywhere. When you have a baby, you go through so much stuff so fast, it's practically one time use, but if you keep passing that bassinet or excersaucer along, you can get so many more years of useful life out of it. There is this narrative that we need everything, but you only really need things while you need them, and if 5 babies use that same onesie for 3 months each, you have really made it worth it (baby clothes is also a great place to do this because it is near impossible to find made in America or Ethically made little people wares).

3. It can Save a Lot of Money- In the month I have been involved, I have seen people give away fancy strollers, televisions, furniture, and all sorts of baby clothes. I have also seen tons of kitchen stuff and even fresh veggies from gardens go. Our group is even starting special clothes exchanges so similarly-shaped women can share dresses instead of buying new ones for every event we go to. If you can use the group to save (oodles) of money, you can make more ethical/ healthy choices elsewhere as well. It makes me think of my brother who is moving across the country.

You aren't going to be able to stop buying anything (at least I don't think so), but you can give yourself some cushion to only spend where you absolutely need to/ where you can be doing good with your money. It can totally shift your paradigm, and change how you spend your money.

So yeah, I love this project.

You can learn more about the Buy Nothing project here. You can find your group here. There are also lots of places in the US that don't have one yet, so if your area isn't covered- think about starting one! I really think it would be simple once the page is set up, and if you don't want to fight with that part, I would happily help.  I think it would be an amazing service to your area and it is a great opportunity to be a good steward for the environment!

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