My love affair with the Buy Nothing Project

Clutter. I hate it, you probably hate it. Does anyone in the world like clutter? Ugh. It’s the worst. When my personal environment is cluttered I feel it in my soul. I suffered a traumatic back injury almost 10 years ago that changed how I dealt with things in my home. Things continued to come in, clothes, a replacement for big things, chairs, desks, sofas. But nothing was going out. So eventually we had two and even three sets of things cluttering up our home. Bags and bags of outgrown and dated clothes, toys from when my daughter was in elementary school! It’s a big house so it was simple to just keep shoving things into unused rooms or the garage.

But after awhile, and as I got sicker and sicker it became a problem. I felt like I couldn’t breathe. Now, we never belonged on an episode of hoarders. lol We simply had TOO MUCH STUFF.

I started noticing how bad it had gotten a few years ago, when my back, and the assorted other health problems became more manageable. Problem was, I didn’t know what to do with it all. It wasn’t trash, so I wasn’t about to toss it. It was way too much, and often too big for me to load and take to the local thrift stores. After a few failed attempts at using a pickup service, I stumbled on the the Buy Nothing Project facebook group.

GIVE WHERE YOU LIVE.

www.buynothingproject.org check it out!

It seemed crazy at first. A tiny little group, no more than 100 members across the whole of my city.  Huh. Strangers. And they wanted me to give them my crap, I mean awesome stuff? Hmmmm So I observed for a while and started by trying to fill someone’s ASK an ASK is when someone is looking for a specific need, say, they need a small dining room table and chairs. Well, look at that, I’ve got two extra sets, take your pick! I love filling ASKS and after that I became very active in my local group. I started gifting everything I could possibly think of. Did it bring me joy? No? Alrighty, it went on BNK! I received a lot of awesome things as well, got rid of too many tables? Haha, yes, I did actually. But then I was gifted a gorgeous glass top table and chairs for my breakfast nook and I love it. It goes back and forth, gifting and receiving.

declutter

But that isn’t even the best part. I have made some amazing relationships through the buy nothing project. It’s hyper local so that tiny group I joined, well it grew. FAST. It eventually became so large it had to be split up into subgroups….East, West, North and South. Then it grew again and branched once more into neighborhood groups. It’s amazing. So often people can walk to my place and grab their item. There were some growing pains, a lot of people were unhappy with splitting the group up but I always that it was fantastic. lol It kept getting more and more local and that was the whole goal of the group. So I was on board!

Long story longer, I love my group. It has been the vehicle I needed to get control of my environment. My house is no longer cluttered. But I am continuing the if it doesn’t bring me joy it’s outta here philosophy. I honestly think it’s made a huge impact on how I feel. I am so much happier without all that stuff weighing me down.

There is probably a Buy Nothing group in your area. If you aren’t a part of it I highly recommend you check it out. They started on an island in the Seattle Wa area and they have grown to be all over the world!

Find your group!

buy nothing

I am thankful for my group. The community it’s built, the friends I’ve made. The way people have come together when someone is in need. As an example, when the Oso Wa landslide happened a few years ago my local group filled two big trucks (mine being one of them)  with items and we hauled it to Oso. That was pretty amazing. On a smaller scale, we help individuals who are in need for whatever reason. It’s really great.

From their about section…..

 

“Our Buy Nothing Project Mission:

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.

 Principles:

  • We believe our hyper-local groups strengthen the social fabric of their communities, and ensure the health and vitality of each member.
  • We come from a place of abundance ~ not scarcity.
  • We believe in abundance, we give, we ask, we share, we lend and we express gratitude.
  • We are a gift economy, not a charity. We see no difference between want and need, waste and treasure.
  • We measure wealth by the personal connections made and trust between people.
  • We value people and their stories and narratives above the ‘stuff.’
  • We are inclusive and civil at our core.
  • We value honesty and integrity in all our interactions.
  • We view all gifts as equal; the human connection is the value.
  • We believe every community has the same wealth of generosity and abundance.

Join Us:
Buy Nothing: Give Freely. Share creatively. Post anything you’d like to give away, lend, or share among 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, no soliciting for cash. We’re an adult-only, hyper-local gift economy. We are not a charity or community bulletin board.

By joining a Buy Nothing Project group, you agree to abide by our Mission and Rules.

You can join one group only, the group where you live so you can literally “give where you live.” This is what builds community.

Brought to you by The Buy Nothing Project. Looking for a group near you? Visit our Find a Group page. Want to join the Buy Nothing Project network and there’s no group in your area? Visit our Start a Group page to learn about how we set groups up.

© 2015 Liesl Clark and Rebecca Rockefeller
All Rights Reserved”

less stuff