Author Topic: Buy Nothing Project/Group  (Read 938 times)

jpdx

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Buy Nothing Project/Group
« on: May 21, 2019, 12:18:11 AM »
Have you discovered your local Buy Nothing group? It's pretty great. The BN Project has Facebook groups for locations all over; where I live there are actually groups for each cluster of neighborhoods. It's a place to pass on things that no longer "spark joy" and to receive free items from others. You can also use it to borrow and lend. It's especially great for kids items like toys and clothes which otherwise have a short life.

For my family, Buy Nothing has been a great way to save some money, and more important, a nice way to build community and meet new people.

https://buynothingproject.org

MonkeyJenga

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Re: Buy Nothing Project/Group
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2019, 01:10:10 AM »
I recently moved to a new city with only what I could carry, and Buy Nothing has been amazing! Towels, toiletries, clothing, shoes, food storage, food, games... So many things that otherwise would have gone in the trash while I spent money buying them somewhere else.

Step37

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Re: Buy Nothing Project/Group
« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2019, 09:38:51 PM »
I think I first heard of the Buy Nothing Project on this forum. I read about it, LOVED the idea, and looked to see if there was a group in my area. There wasnít, and about six months after my inquiry, they reached out and told me I could start one. It started in July 2018 and has been awesome. Anyone I meet whoís a member is so positive about it and grateful for the group. Nothing makes me happier than seeing an unused item go somewhere itís needed and appreciated, and itís also almost as wonderful to receive something that is needed for free! ♥️

Fresh Bread

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Re: Buy Nothing Project/Group
« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2019, 10:01:02 PM »
I think I first heard of the Buy Nothing Project on this forum. I read about it, LOVED the idea, and looked to see if there was a group in my area. There wasnít, and about six months after my inquiry, they reached out and told me I could start one. It started in July 2018 and has been awesome. Anyone I meet whoís a member is so positive about it and grateful for the group. Nothing makes me happier than seeing an unused item go somewhere itís needed and appreciated, and itís also almost as wonderful to receive something that is needed for free! ♥️

Step37, what was required of you to start one up? We don't have one in my neighbourhood and I'd really like one. We have something similar but it doesn't allow for wanted posts or lending.

Step37

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Re: Buy Nothing Project/Group
« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2019, 10:45:17 PM »
FreshBread, here is part of the message I received prior to the group being set up. Iíve removed all identifying details... I believe they have slightly changed the process (due to the huge growth theyíve been experiencing), but it should give you a good idea what needs to be figured out. As the local admin, I am responsible for approving and welcoming new members, making sure the rules and guidelines of the group are being followed, and stirring up some activity if things seem quiet. I canít say Iím great at all of it, but Iím doing my best and have intentions to get a lot better. Check out the links within the message for more details. Keep in mind that everything is 100% volunteer run, so you may not hear anything right away (like I said, mine was about six months!) - itís worth the wait. I canít believe the level of detail and organization that has gone into setting up these groups. Major dedication and a truly incredible initiative.

ďThank you for contacting the Buy Nothing Project about starting a group for your area!

I will be working with you to:

☑️ Determine and define the boundaries of your new group

☑️ Name your new group

☑️ Set up the group on Facebook, with all of the necessary documents and graphics

As we are looking at maps and population charts, there are some things to keep in mind:

☑️ Our mission is to foster hyper-local gift-economies. In order to do this, we
like to start out with a population base of 10,000 - 25,000 residents.

☑️ Groups are only open to neighbours living within the boundaries that we determine while setting up this group.

☑️ Each group name allows it to be easily recognized to people living in the neighbourhood, and not be confused with another area.

☑️ Each of our groups are subject to all the same rules and procedures, which can be found on our website here: https://buynothingproject.org.

☑️ Each of our groups needs a Local Admin. In this case, that would be you! If you can find a friend and neighbour to help you out with this adventure, it would be even better! Here is some information about the responsibilities of the Local Admin:https://buynothingproject.org/join-our-team/.Ē

Fresh Bread

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Re: Buy Nothing Project/Group
« Reply #5 on: June 04, 2019, 10:49:57 PM »
Fabulous thanks. Waste/ consumption reduction is something I want to do in semi-retirement and this might be a good way.

jpdx

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Re: Buy Nothing Project/Group
« Reply #6 on: June 09, 2019, 03:34:26 PM »
It's great to hear about your experience of starting a BN group!

Our fam has a constant flow of gifting things for people to grab on our porch, and picking up gifts via bike. Love it.

lhamo

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Re: Buy Nothing Project/Group
« Reply #7 on: June 09, 2019, 03:43:07 PM »
I love mine, too!  Especially because it includes "gifts" of things other than stuff -- a couple of requests I've responded to this weekend include:

A neighbor who is looking for ideas about how to develop her yard/garden -- I am very much an amateur myself but offered to walk around her garden with other neighbors to brainstorm and also to show her my work in progress.  I am trying to spend minimal cash on my own landscaping so am hopeful we can share plants, seeds, ideas and maybe labor on bigger projects.  I'm also looking forward to meeting more neighborhood gardeners!

Another neighbor who has a project of photographing birds nests -- I offered to show her the two I know of in my backyard.


Dicey

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Re: Buy Nothing Project/Group
« Reply #8 on: June 11, 2019, 01:55:53 AM »
I would do this in a heartbeat, except it's Facebook and I just can't make myself do FB. If there's any kind of workaround, I'm all ears.

Step37

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Re: Buy Nothing Project/Group
« Reply #9 on: June 11, 2019, 07:57:25 AM »
I would do this in a heartbeat, except it's Facebook and I just can't make myself do FB. If there's any kind of workaround, I'm all ears.

There isnít... BUT, it might be worth creating an account. Itís that good! Thereís a woman in my group who maintains her FB profile only for this purpose. Thereís more to this story but Iím out of time for now. Iíll come back to it tonight or tomorrow.

Dicey

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Re: Buy Nothing Project/Group
« Reply #10 on: June 11, 2019, 01:59:12 PM »
I would do this in a heartbeat, except it's Facebook and I just can't make myself do FB. If there's any kind of workaround, I'm all ears.

There isnít... BUT, it might be worth creating an account. Itís that good! Thereís a woman in my group who maintains her FB profile only for this purpose. Thereís more to this story but Iím out of time for now. Iíll come back to it tonight or tomorrow.
Thank you!

Step37

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Re: Buy Nothing Project/Group
« Reply #11 on: June 11, 2019, 11:35:07 PM »
To expand on the person in my group who keeps FB only for the purpose of Buy Nothing... she is someone who joined right when the group started and has offered up lots of good stuff over that last several months. Letís call her Pat. I think I mentioned above that Iíd been a bit too hands-off with the group for a while, naively assuming that everyone would just automatically read the guidelines and follow them. Newsflash: hardly anybody does this. Drives me a bit bonkers, to be honest.

Anyway, sometime in March I decided I should start giving more guidance about how things should best be done to align with the Project rules and guidelines, both by making polite comments and modelling the desired behaviour. One of the biggest things is that people are strongly encouraged to not use ďfirst come first servedĒ as the standard way to give items. Itís best to allow some time for more than just the people who have ready access to their phones and notifications at all times to express interest in an item, and then choose a recipient based on whatever method the giver chooses (random draw, whoever asks the most politely, best haiku, etc.). Itís as much about building community as keeping things out of landfills.

So, right around this time, Pat posts an item to give away, and tells the first person who said they wanted it that she could have it. Several more people comment ďinterestedĒ or ďnext pleaseĒ and someone else commented ďhey, there are rules here, itís not first come first serve, right Step37!?Ē The comment came off a bit snippy (although I donít think that was the intention) so I was pretty worried it was about to get ugly. I politely explained that it was a guideline that was encouraged, not a rule, and that each person can gift items as they see fit. Pat replied ďthatís good, because itís a lot more convenient to just take everything to Goodwill if selecting someone becomes a pain.Ē Again, not the most positive exchange.

I moved to private messaging with her and apologized for the post hijack, but explained that I was just trying to provide the feedback in the place it came up. I further explained the rationale behind allowing some time, offered suggestions on how to decide (sheíd replied that she wasnít comfortable about how to choose), thanked her for being a part of the group, and she thanked me for being the admin and was totally gracious about receiving the feedback. She said she only keeps FB for the group and was thinking of ditching it, and that Iíd made her see things differently and reconsider. She made a big gratitude post the next day about something she had received in the group/the group itself. It was SUCH A POSITIVE interaction, and Iíd felt so nervous writing to her in the first place. I was all warm and fuzzy and teary-eyed at how it turned out.

Much to my surprise, I have had very positive experiences when giving feedback in the group. This is good, because Iím not overly at all comfortable doing it. I think it says a lot about the types of people who join the groups: mostly kind, open-minded and community-minded.

So, @Dicey, this is my VERY long way of saying that youíd fit in so well in such a group. :)


MonkeyJenga

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Re: Buy Nothing Project/Group
« Reply #12 on: June 11, 2019, 11:48:31 PM »
Iiiinteresting, I didn't even realize first come first serve wasn't recommended. I'll keep that in mind and give people a few days to respond when I post things.

Fresh Bread

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Re: Buy Nothing Project/Group
« Reply #13 on: June 12, 2019, 01:44:44 AM »
I've applied to set one up now, so let's see what happens. I can't imagine I'd be any good at encouraging people to stick to the rules - 'the first to respond gets it' idea is pretty ingrained on other groups, even though it's not actually the rule on at least one of them. From experience, the first to say "sold!" can often be flaky as they haven't thought it through.

lhamo

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Re: Buy Nothing Project/Group
« Reply #14 on: June 12, 2019, 08:58:17 AM »
Our group is pretty good about giving people time to request items (except when someone is moving out and has a hard deadline.  The three most common methods used to spread out distribution of items in our group are:

1)  Random number generators -- each requester is assigned a number, and then the giver uses an online number generator to pick the recipient

2) The "simmer" -- giver gives a deadline for when they will choose a recipient, allowing more people to express interest

3)  The request for a story or description of how the item will be used -- giver can choose the person with the story that resonates most for them

For post-Kondo-ish llarge clothing lots, a common strategy is to give the whole batch of clothes to one person in the responder list, with the understanding that they will pass on anything that doesn't suit them to other people on the list. 

Dicey

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Re: Buy Nothing Project/Group
« Reply #15 on: June 12, 2019, 10:01:07 AM »
Just some thoughts...
I never go after anything that someone has put on the curb. Nope. Not taking a chance on driving somewhere and having it be gone. I think people who take this route tend to be lazy-ish and I tend to equate this with "people who don't take good care of their stuff".

I volunteer at the library. For a few years, I used to offer up interesting titles that were duplicates as a way of promoting our book sales on freecycle. "You can pick up your free books at the library book sale on Saturday from 10-5 or from my front porch, whichever is more convenient." <--See how I got a plug for the book sale in there? Diabolically clever, I know.

However, it led to a LOT of responses, which kinda stressed me out. Some people were super nice, some people were entitled jerks. I didn't really like having to sort through the answers to choose the best one. Fortunately, NextDoor came into existence in my area and pretty much killed freecycle. I don't give away books for free any more, just post the book sale on ND.

I am a longtime reader of The Non Consumer Advocate, and she swears by her Buy Nothing Group, so I am mightily tempted.