The Buy Nothing Project

Sometimes Facebook scares me.

It can tell me who is in my photos, recommend friends for me who I haven't talked to in YEARS (including my wedding videographer), and they tailor their ads to my recent Amazon or Google searches (apparently they are all in cahoots).

It's scary how well "the Book" knows me... except that one time when I was getting ads for modern cat houses...that was weird.

I'm NOT a cat person, and have never in my life searched for cat houses.  Clearly I was hacked.

Anyway, one day Facebook told me that some of my friends had joined a group called Buy Nothing.

I'm in, what seems to be, 15 different parent Facebook groups for our area of Seattle.  Everything to mommy meet ups, garage sales, summer events and on and on. So, I wasn't dying to join another group, especially one that made me prove I lived in my neighborhood (they actually have a vetting process to ensure people only can join 1 group where they live).

But now, a year later, the Buy Nothing group is one of my favorite things on Facebook.

The group is all about getting to know your neighbors through a hyperlocal gifting economy. Basically, the idea is that we all have things that we can share with each other, and if we all give or loan freely, we can cut down on the waste and excess of buying new things all the time.

But that is not the best part- this group is hyper-local, meaning that all the people in it are within a few blocks of my house- they are the people I see at the park, the Farmers Market and the grocery store (usually when I haven't showered in days).

I have met quite of few of the great people from this group, including a wonderful mom with 3 boys who loaned me some sandals when we went to Mexico. When I went to return them we got to chatting and now we meet up with our boys a couple times per month. Who knew I would gain a new friend out of this group?

I also have LOVED getting rid of things that are cluttering up our house. I am actually kind of obsessed with cleaning out all of our excess stuff (mainly because I don't want to have to box everything up and move it to the new house).

Sure, I could probably sell some of the items that I gave away, but I think of it as good karma points. I have been blown away by the generosity of this group. The community has really upped the game as far as amazing gifts go.

Yesterday I saw VIP tickets and a parking pass given away for a local concert, brand new kids shoes, and 3 bags of brand new Stumptown coffee.

There are equal amounts of not as impressive gifts (someone posted "washed but never worn" undies recently), but in general there is someone in the group who is interested in repurposing or upcycling even the most obscure or outdated item.

My favorite part is when people in the group post a photo of what they did with the item- its fun to see lots of gratitude filling my newsfeed.

Sometimes there are things posted that I have no need for, sometimes there are tons of things I want (but don't really need) and then there are things that I both want & need. Often there are multiple people interested in the same item, so usually there is a drawing for each item.  I feel like its my lucky day when I "win" something. When you win, you simply send a message with your address and instruction for pick up (generally they leave the item on their porch). Once in a while I'll leave something out for someone and when I get home they have left something in it's place (like Thomas the Train books for Hunter, which he LOVED).

I have received some awesome things from these wonderful people. Mostly I only put my name in for kids stuff- since that is the currency of my life right now.

So Hunter and Carter have been the recipients of the gifts lately.  Like the alphabet floor tiles that save little Carter's head when he gets tackled by Hunter.

And his awesome baby bathtub that tells the temperature of the water along with a cool swing that rocks and vibrates.

Hunter has received way too many gifts to count, but his favorites have to be his bathtub fishing poles with magnetic fish, or his wearable Thomas the Train. 

I'd like to note that these pictures of Hunter were taken on two completely different days- he simply wars his Seahawks jersey all the dang time. AND, he wasn't wearing pants in either of the's his thing lately.

Once in a blue moon I get something for myself too- like a Lululemon Zip up, some adorable costume jewelry or the sweet maternity clothes I snagged for a good friend (I'm not pregnant, pinky swear). 

So, all of this is to say that you should go find the Buy Nothing group in your neighborhood and get on it asap:

I believe a lot of them operate on Facebook- so you can simply search Buy Nothing Project + your neighborhood and see what comes up.  They are all over- you may be surprised.

Even if you are not looking to add anything to your collection of things, I'm sure you have something that you have been meaning to get rid of- I bet someone out there wants it!