I have discovered a few things during this experiment. One discovery is that I have spent way too much time on our community site! My laundry and family has been neglected! So I had to cut back and in an effort to preserve time, I will give you a synopsis of the past 7 days instead of a day-by-day report.
We have been participating in the 365 days of giving project and have given away kitchen items, household items, kids clothes and office supplies. It feels good to give away things that have been a part of your life and know who they are going to. Somehow that connection makes it seem like you still have the memories of your stuff close by.
I have found a few things are difficult to give away and you have a moment where you wonder why no one wants your treasured item! I tried to give away an adorable chunky remote control car that, despite being handed down through several kids, still was in good shape and I know, deep in my heart, how loved this little car was. It’s slow and the youngest has lost interest in it. It sat on the Buy Nothing page all day. I kept bumping it up and there it sat. Several people suggested others that might be interested but no one took it. I began to think about this deep, weird attachment we get to our stuff. Really. I still have the car. I can’t even bring myself to donate it because and I think it’s because there is no connection beyond that point. I have finally decided to take a picture of it so I can preserve the memory and release the toy.
I really have to say that giving away food items brings the greatest joy, though. Brandon had made too much Spanish rice one day for dinner and so we gave one away and then Kaitlyn made our favorite chocolate syrup and decided right off the bat to make extra so we could give one away. It’s just so satisfying to make something and know that someone will enjoy it.
We have received quite a few things in the past few days. Most of the items were offered up and we were the lucky recipients and there was so much fresh, lovely goodness from others’ gardens! These gifts were perfect supplements to our menu. The kids got a few toys, I got a couple of vases, some curtains, pot holders, an ice-cream maker, homeschool books and craft supplies. Hubby got some oil so he could change the oil in Brandon & Taylor’s car and the biggest gift we received was a free home inspection. THAT was amazing! There is someone in our community who is getting his license and he needs to inspect a few homes as part of his training and we were blessed to be the recipients of one of the inspections. We aren’t planning to sell anytime soon but we have lived in our home for 14 years and it’s always nice to know where you stand. There are a few things here and there that need to be attended to but one discovery was a water leak that was fairly recent and flowing down into the crawl space. I immediately listed the need for a plumber on our Buy Nothing page but our inspector was so kind and helped the hubby pin point what the cause of the leak was. A true gift of caring and time.
I think that perhaps the most surprising thing has been those items that we did not ask for and were not offered up, that have been given to us. We have received bags of clothes for the kids! Amazing! Several people have given us extra food above and beyond what they originally offered up on the Buy Nothing page. These are the most thoughtful gifts of all!
We didn’t ask for much these past few days. I really needed page fasteners for a homeschool project that I was doing with the kids and one friend dropped a few by right away and another brought me a whole box full, which should last me the school year! I did ask for someone with jewelry experience to help me recreate the rings that were made for my girls when we lived in Prince Edward Island (they are too small now) and I did ask for some doll stands for my mothers doll collection and I didn’t get any feedback on either of those but I knew that those requests were a stretch. I have definitely noticed that when Buy Nothing members ask for things they really need, like camping equipment, party supplies to borrow, shoes for growing feet and beds for growing families, there seems to be an abundance of support and provisions and those are beautiful exchanges that warm the heart!
As far as the cost of living for our family goes. We have spent $500 in the past 6 days. Since it was the beginning of the month, it’s usually when we stock up on things like toilet paper, butter, cheeses and personal hygiene items. We also filled our big cars with gas and that is really painful!
In this next week I will be posting more requests for things that I need as we get closer to birthdays, fall and the school year. I will be interested to see if my community can fulfill these requests! If you are part of my community and can’t be a FB lurker like some of us but you want to see what we are needing, please just type in #walkers in the search and you should be able to see what we are looking for!
Perhaps the greatest discovery that I’ve made in these past few days is this: I feel that our Buy Nothing community is thriving not because of a sense of need over stuff but because of a sense of need for… community. The greatest joy that our family has had this past week is the comings and goings of humans. Those friends we haven’t kept up with and new friends we didn’t know before. I think that we hunger for the need to reach out to one another and this is simply an avenue in which to fill that need. My children have had their days filled with new and old friends, my driveway looks like there is a non-stop party going on and I love that I can venture out onto my porch and visit with all the wonderful people coming and going to retrieve things from my giving bench. I have been blessed by people who are willing to bring me things when I can’t pick them up and I have found that when things disappear from my bench unnoticed because I am gone or in the uproars of life inside my house, I am sad. Our lives have become so busy that we are thirsty for the community that I feel has been lost because of our lifestyles. It makes my heart so happy to see all the gatherings people are having and the conversations that are occurring because of our beautiful Buy Nothing community!
Until next time!