It happens every single PCS: you’ve purged but have nowhere to put all the things you want to have leave your house.
Some of it is awesome quality, but you don’t want to go through the hassle of selling it. Other things are useable but well-loved. And then you have the random odds and ends from your pantry.
Where to bring all of this, well, stuff?
Enter Buy Nothing, a community-building movement that invites you to “gift” the things you’ve KonMaried from your house to your neighbors – for free! It’s literally the answer to everything.
Fall in Love with Your Buy Nothing Community
I’m a recent Buy Nothing group convert. And now I preach it’s gospel to anyone who will listen – Hello, Military Shoppers News friends!
Yes, it seems crazy. Give a whole bunch of your stuff away for free to your neighbors? Nuts!
There is a method to the madness, I promise.
The basic philosophy is pretty much “one person’s no longer needed item is another person’s treasure.” All those random spices and sauces you collected in your PCS prep purge? Someone might really enjoy cooking with them!
Support Your Neighbors with Buy Nothing
Buy Nothing also keeps those gifts hyper-local, too. As in within a few streets or blocks of your house.
Every Buy Nothing group is neighborhood-based, often times by established subdivisions, city districts or zip codes.
Each time you gift items from your home, one of your neighbors picks it up to use in their home. When they’re done, they might opt to post it in the Buy Nothing group again to find another new home. In this way, each item can get used by many families before it’s worn out!
Connect to Your Neighbors’ Gifts via Facebook
Sounds great! I get to off-load all the things I no longer want to people who can currently use them. Where do I sign up?
Actually, it’s all right on Facebook! Every group operates a private Facebook group. New members join by identifying two streets nearby (not revealing their actual address).
Everyone in the group can post “gifts,” or things they’re getting rid of, or “asks,” items they could use.
On gift posts, you can “bid” on the items you might want to claim. There can be clauses, like share a recipe you’ll make with this gift, in order to be considered. Other times, things are offered first-come, first-served.
If you are “gifted” the item(s) of your choice, you’ll connect with the donor to arrange a swap.
For asks, members will explain why or how they need the requested material(s). Sometimes, it might be needed for a short time – like air mattresses for overnight guests or a cocktail dress for a wedding. Other times it is items to keep – like missing ingredients for dinner that night or boots for a child.
Here’s Why I’m Obsessed with Buy Nothing
When we arrived back stateside in summer 2019, I received all of our HHG that had been in storage for three years. In other words, items I had learned to live without and mostly did not miss.
As each box was opened, I kept muttering the phrases: “Why did we keep this?” and “Where are we going to put this?”
The answer to both questions was a resounding “No clue.”
Enter Buy Nothing.
As I unwrapped those “no clue” items, I snapped a picture and posted it to my Buy Nothing group. That let people know it was available for gifting. Sometimes within minutes, I would have comments and replies asking to be considered for the item. And then each thing exited my house, into the grateful hands of a new owner!
With very few exceptions, I was able to “gift” several moving boxes worth of items I no longer wanted or needed. No trip to the GoodWill. No selling or, let’s be real, attempting to sell.
Sample list of things I’ve gifted:
- Outgrown children’s clothes
- Jane Austen action figure (yes, that’s a real thing)
I posted. It was claimed. And then it was just gone from my porch!
At first, I was just a gifter. As we’ve settled in and winter has arrived, I’ve turned into a giftee as well.
Three years in the sub-tropics didn’t really prepare us too well for, you know, cold and snow. My kids had approximately zero winter clothes or shoes.
Until I was gifted some via Buy Nothing.
I’ve also gratefully received:
- Home decor
- Potatoes, tomatoes, carrots and other veggies
- School uniforms
- Work clothes
- An entire wardrobe of barely-worn Lularoe (some new with tags!)
Will You Commit to Buy Nothing with Me?
My USMC husband was super skeptical at first.
“People just, like, give these things away? What’s the catch?”
There is no catch, except the extra cash in your wallet!
After realizing that Buy Nothing is a community based on saving money, he was hooked. Not having to spend on pricey school uniforms completely sold him on the concept.
In total, I would guess we’ve gifted several hundred dollars worth of things we’ll no longer need but that still had life left. On the other hand, we’ve also received about that much back in gifts. It really evens out!
Plus, we’re no longer storing all the things in our (very tiny) house. Once we’re done, the item moves to a new home.
Everyone likes saving money! And it’s a good way to make sure that things get all the way used up, too.
It’s also kind of made for military communities! We rely so much on each other generally. This just makes sure you’re being more economical in the process.