Have you ever heard of the Buy Nothing Project? When Tom and I moved to Westerville, I joined a group on Facebook that was like a big yard sale, “Sunbury and Galena Sales.” I joined the group because I thought I might be able to pick up some used furniture or other items I needed for the house. Although I enjoyed looking through the items being sold, I never really found anything I was interested in. But that group led me to another group that I have found much more interesting.
The Buy Nothing Delaware South Group has been an eye opener of the way neighborhoods should work. The basic premise of the Buy Nothing Project is that people share or give away things they cannot use. Tom and I have always given our abundance to Goodwill and Habitat for Humanity Restore. This is a way, however, of giving something directly to someone who needs it.
Tom and I recently gave away a gas-powered string trimmer that was hanging in the garage when we moved in. I took a few pictures, posted a description in the Facebook group, and within a few minutes a woman contacted me saying she wanted it. She told me theirs had died in October and they couldn’t afford a new one right now. I sent her a private message with our address and the next day she picked it up.
We were glad to get rid of something that was taking up space in the garage. We also were glad to be able to connect with someone who lives close by who needed it. If people are looking for something specific they mention it as an ask or ISO (in search of) on the group page. I have seen some big asks granted. One couple needed to borrow a reliable car for the weekend. Another woman was getting infant twins to foster and needed another crib. Both asks were granted in hours. To me, this is the epitome of loving your neighbor.
The Buy Nothing Project started from a book written by Liesl Clark and Rebecca Rockefeller. The book is called “The Buy Nothing Get Everything Plan
.” Basically, the book suggests that when people share what they have, everyone can have enough. I love this idea and it makes total sense to me. Here are the rules of the group:
Group Rules from the Admins
1. The Buy Nothing Project Mission & Rules. Give, receive, lend, share, and show gratitude in hyper-local gift economies, where the true wealth is the connections between real neighbors. Link to Rules: http://bit.ly/BNProject-Rules
2. Participate as yourself. Each group is open to all adults living within that group’s boundaries, and each member may only join one group in the network. Members use their personal Facebook profiles (no business accounts).
3. Show your humanity. Cruelty, harassment, and hate speech will not be tolerated. Difficult conversations are welcome, in line with the Community Agreement here: https://bit.ly/2UeLnf3 and/or in your group files.
5. All members participate at their own risk. The Buy Nothing Project, Founders and Administrators accept no responsibility or legal liability for any loss, damage, illness, or injury arising out of group activities.
6. Build trust. Trust is the foundation of this gift economy. Act with honesty and empathy, using each interaction to build community.
7. Give freely. All gifts must be given without any strings attached and without any expectation of reward other than the joy of giving. No buying, selling, bartering, or trading.
8. Give from your own abundance. Resist the urge to post referrals/recommendations to outside organizations (even charitable ones), local businesses or service providers, or suggestions of where a neighbor can buy or find something.
9. We are a gift economy. This is not the place to buy, sell, rent, trade, barter, advertise, market or request cash donations or loans.
10. Ask, give, and share creatively. Our focus is on freely gifted goods and services. We believe in abundance, simply ask for what you want. And share your gratitude!
I am looking forward to continuing to work with this group. I love what they are trying to do and am glad to connect to my neighbors in this way. In a world that seems increasingly cynical, it is good to be reminded that there are people who care about others and are willing to share. Check it out. You might find a Buy Nothing Project group in your area.