Hey friends! It’s Melanie. One of the things I’ve been really thankful for in our move has been our former NC “Buy Nothing Project” community. You may be part of some Buy/Sell/Trade Facebook groups, and maybe even a “Free” FB group or two. If it’s not an official Buy Nothing group, then you need to ditch it and head over to the Buy Nothing Project to find a group in your community. Over the last three years we’ve been members of our neighborhood one in in North Carolina, we’ve gifted bags upon bags of baby clothes, baby gear, adult clothing, garden supplies, furniture, and more. To see some of what we’ve been gifted over the years, check out the gallery of photos below! These are just a few of the wants and needs we’ve had met by our neighbors completely for free, from bikes, scooters, and roller skates to a new futon bunk bed, solid wood dresser, outdoor furniture, cheese dish, and more!
So what makes Buy Nothing different? It’s a global movement—in dozens of countries around the world—working to create a gifting society. There’s no entitlement or grabbiness like in so many “free” groups. No rushing to be the first to claim something. Gifters are able to choose whoever they want to give something to, for any reason they decide to. Some gifters will post and say that if there’s a lot of interest, they’ll draw a name randomly. Others will say that they’ll look for a story they connect with. Some choose the first person, some wait a few days and decide for a reason known only to themselves. It’s their gift, their choice.
On the receiving end, you can ask for things you’re looking for, and they can be small (“I just ran out of sugar and the store is closed for the holiday! Does anyone have a cup of sugar I could come get?”) or big “We’re in need of some master bedroom furniture! Does anyone have a set or any bedroom furniture you’re ready to pass along?”) and anything in between. Sometimes no one has what you’re looking for, but there’s no harm in asking, and other times someone has exactly what you need and they’re ready for it to bless a new home.
At its core, the Buy Nothing Project works to connect communities. You’re encouraged to get to know your neighbors. Reach out for help as needed and offer help as you’re able. You can go to the group for local advice or recommendations, or to request a service, or to offer something up. You’re encouraged to post gratitude for things you’ve received and to be intentional to build into your neighborhood and community, connecting with others in a unique way.
If you aren’t part of your local BN community, you can search for yours here or create one once you go through their training if there isn’t one already for your location: https://buynothingproject.org/find-a-group/
If you happen to live in our new county—Rhea County, TN—then hop on over to our newly-begun Facebook group! (link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1604617403081549) It’s going to take a bit of time and effort to get it up and running consistently on its own, but we’re excited to get one started for our new neighborhood and we can’t wait to offer up some of our things for neighbors who may be on the lookout for exactly that thing, whether it’s a toy or furniture or decoration or service.
If you’re part of your local group, I'd love to hear some of what you’ve gifted or received there. If you’re not, find one and let us know down the road how it’s been! We’ve been really blessed by our old one and being able to furnish much of our house for free thanks to giving neighbors, and we’re excited to get to know new neighbors through our new community group. Not only is it amazing to reuse and regift items and know things are being used by others, it's also been surprisingly beautiful to get to know neighbors we wouldn't have met otherwise.
Andrew and Melanie fell in love over late night snacks, dozing off in the middle of studying for exams, words, and a shared love for stories. We see stories everywhere: in the little day to day incidents and in the bigger sagas over days, months, and years of our time. We cherish the stories that root us and we rest in the Story that gives our lives meaning. We love seeing the threads of stories come together in gut-busting, belly-laugh-inducing, choke-on-your spit ways, and we love the gentle, quiet, easily missed stories that ultimately can play a bigger part in our lives than many other more obvious stories. We're young, we're old, we're growing, we're learning. We make a lot of mistakes, fall down a lot, struggle with life, sometimes sit in our sadness, but ultimately we pick ourselves back up again and keep on trekking. We're on a journey of parenthood now and have been for over ten years, learning and growing into it right along with our six children.