Before we moved to Portland, we got rid of an awful lot of books, tools, and clothes that we’d been holding onto just because we had room for them. Garage sales, Goodwill donations, and giving the exercise bike to one of the moving guys helped lighten our load.
But now that we are moved in and settled, we are realizing there is STILL too much stuff, and with the Covid shutdown closing all our local charity donation stations, I felt buried. I mentioned this to Auntie Katie.
”You know about Buy Nothing on Facebook, right?” Well, no, I didn’t. “It’s an online group, but they are totally local. You can give stuff away and ask for stuff. Go check it out.” So I did.
Wow! Buy Nothing is an organization and Facebook Group, organized by neighborhood. Not city, mind you, neighborhood. Ours is Sunnyside/ Laurelhurst. I answered some questions and got signed up. Each post was from a person within 10 or 15 blocks of our house and had a description and a photo of the item being asked for or offered.
“Offer: Five brand new baby onesies, size 6 months.” Or “Ask: Rototiller to borrow for this weekend.”
I realized this wasn’t so much a marketplace as a group of friends who hadn’t met yet. There are a lot of positive, helpful folks out there, and this lets them get together. I gave it a shot.
“ Offer: Tire chains to fit VW Golf. Near SE 33rd and Alder.” Within a few hours, I heard from a lady who needed them, and after a few false starts, she stopped by to pick them up. Since we weren’t vaccinated yet, I put them down by the gate and said “HI” from the balcony. Since then I have lightened our load by two big coats, a few puzzles, a giant box of Mardi Gras beads, and a hat.
The only snag I have run into us the hand-off stage. One lady forgot, twice, that she was supposed to come pick up a puzzle. That’s when I realized I am a better ‘deliverer’ than ‘waiter’. When I have something to give away, I ask for their address and just walk it over, since everyone is so close. I knock, smile, and get one more thing out of my closet, all while meeting someone in my neighborhood.
And I realized it can work both ways. Just the other day, I decided I really needed an old ladder to help support my every growing pumpkin. I put an “ask” on BuyNothing, and got an offer I couldn’t refuse. Free, ten blocks away, and delightfully old. Auntie Bridgett helped me carry and set it up. I am so pleased!
This is a really cool way of getting your stuff out to folks who can use it, knowing you are helping someone out while helping yourself. And it lets you help clear out other folks’ stuff!
Check it out!