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About

Buy Nothing. Give Freely. Share Creatively.

The Buy Nothing Project began when two friends, Rebecca Rockefeller and Liesl Clark, created an experimental hyper-local gift economy on Bainbridge Island, WA. In just two and a half years, it has become a worldwide social movement, growing to over 280,000 members in 18 nations with 1300 groups and over 1700 volunteers. Our local groups form gift economies that are complementary and parallel to local cash economies; whether people join because they’d like to quickly get rid of things that are cluttering their lives, or simply to save money by getting things for free, they quickly discover that our groups are not just another free recycling platform. A gift economy’s real wealth is the people involved and the web of connections that forms to support them. Time and again, members of our groups find themselves spending more and more time interacting in our groups, finding new ways to give back to the community that has brought humor, entertainment, and yes, free stuff into their lives. The Buy Nothing Project is about setting the scarcity model of our cash economy aside in favor of creatively and collaboratively sharing the abundance around us.

The gift of flowers. © Liesl Clark

The gift of flowers. © Liesl Clark

How does the Buy Nothing Project work? Using the free platform provided by Facebook Groups, Buy Nothing Project members can easily participate with their local group. Many people ask, “Why use Facebook?” To reach the masses and have greatest impact, We need to use the master’s tools to dismantle the castle. Our rules are simple: “Post anything you’d like to give away, lend, or share amongst neighbors. Ask for anything you’d like to receive for free or borrow. Keep it legal. Keep it civil. No buying or selling, no trades or bartering, we’re strictly a gift economy.” The transparency of Facebook groups’ design allows our members to see mutual friends they share with relative strangers, and to build trust based on real-life connections visible through personal profile information. This trust allows groups to grow quickly and encourages people to both give freely and ask for what they need; everything from toilet paper roll springs to rides home from the doctor; burial sites for beloved pets to freshly-baked bread and casseroles have been given freely; our members share things mundane and meaningful in equal measure, and throughout it all connect with each other by means of the shared personal stories and chatting encouraged by the platform. We rely on our co-founders’ daily guidance and direction for the development of our nascent culture, assisted by a team of volunteer local, regional, and global administrators who have on-the-ground knowledge of their communities and broader regions.

The Buy Nothing Project Connects Us With Our Neighbors. © Liesl Clark

The Buy Nothing Project Connects Us With Our Neighbors. © Liesl Clark

Why the Buy Nothing Project? The Buy Nothing Project is brought to you by two friends who have worked hard to address the first of the three infamous “Rs,” Reducing, Reusing, and Recycling. Rebecca and Liesl want to address the “Reduce” part of the equation, as well as the lesser-known Rs, “Refuse” and “Rethink.” Participating in a local Buy Nothing Project group allows individuals and communities to reduce their own dependence on single-use and virgin materials by extending the life of existing items through gifting and sharing between group members. Rethinking consumption and refusing to buy new in favor of asking for an item from a neighbor may make an impact on the amount of goods manufactured in the first place, which in turn may put a dent in the overproduction of unnecessary goods that end up in our landfills, watersheds, and our seas. It most certainly creates connections between people who see each other in real life, not just online, leading to more robust communities that are better prepared to tackle both hard times and good by giving freely. The Buy Nothing Project groups are diverting more materials from our landfills and oceans than we can possibly quantify as hundreds of items are re-homed each day.

Bounty.RebeccaRockefeller

Gifts Take Many Forms © Rebecca Rockefeller

Our Statistics:

With over 200,000 members and growing every day, we have a captive audience in each of our groups. Most members visit the group pages several times a day and many literally spend hours there, commenting, reading posts, while posting their own gifts and wants.

The Buy Nothing Project website, and our nearly 30,000 “likes” on our Facebook Page, along with the person-to-person communities we have in 1300 Facebook groups means we have enough sway to bring about significant social change.

Structure:

We are a completely grass-roots volunteer-driven project with no funding to run this movement. Our reach relies entirely on the goodwill and generosity of our members, their time, their expertise, and talents. We thank all of you for making this collaborative project what it is.

 

93 comments on “About

  1. I would love to start this group in my little town of Tooele Utah! Let me know what I need to do too get started. Thanks!

  2. Hello!! I love this strategy. It rocks with all I am becoming, as well as many, many of my beautiful neighbors. Please let me know how to get started!!! Thank-you very much! KatieB

  3. I can’t wait to start my local buy nothing group! My little community is so ready for this!!

  4. I would like to start a group. LaVeta, Cuchara, Walsenburg CO. Let me know what I need to do. Thanks

  5. Thanks peeps!

  6. I live in olympia wa and want to be a part of this! I have lots to give, and not just stuff…

  7. Wow this is awesome where do I sign up?

    • Hi Kim:-) thanks for your enthusiasm for the Buy Nothing Project! The mission of the BNP is to foster hyper-local gift economies, so a network of community groups is growing around the world. If you check this list, perhaps there already is a group in your community : https://buynothingproject.org/find-a-group/ If it isn’t listed, and you’re interested in starting a group for your neighborhood, let us know! We would be happy to review the details with you.

  8. I would really like to see this happening in Bloomington, Indiana sometime in the future.

    • Hi Leigha ! we’d love to see the Buy Nothing Project take root in Bloomington, IN too … We just need a local volunteer to join us as an admin (our entire network is run by volunteers). Let us know if you’re interested!
      ~ Shelley

  9. Any in the Tucson area?

  10. Would love to join a group in Salt Lake City! I have a lot of things to give away to someone who would really use and appreciate them.

    • Hi Michelle ! Thank you for your interest in joining a local group in the Buy Nothing Project network. There isn’t a group yet for Salt Lake City, and we’d love to see one started in your community … We just need a local volunteer to join us as an admin (our entire network is run by volunteers). Let us know if you’re interested!
      ~ Shelley

  11. I learned about this project from a Fox News story that was ran this morning. Since then I reached out right away and have already spoken with Shelley about starting a group in my area. I am so excited by this. I have been going through my house all day thinking of things I can give away! I cannot wait to get started!— Tonya

  12. I’m downsizing and have a couple nice things to pass on. I already quit facebook almost two years ago and do not plan on going back. Am I out of luck?

    • Hi Jordan, People often ask us why we chose Facebook as our platform for The Buy Nothing Project. 1) It’s free; 2) Most of our friends and neighbors are on Facebook; and 3) It’s transparent. Transparency is the key ingredient to keeping a gift economy sustainable over time. Though there are some limitations to Facebook, the BNP is a network of groups completely run by Volunteers, without a budget (or time) to put the effort required into developing and maintaining a stand-alone site at this time. Thanks for your interest in the Project!
      ~ Shelley

  13. I would be willing to be an Admin for a Buy Nothing FB for Whidbey Island South. I see there is a FB page for Whidbey Island North.

    What do I need to do to get started?

    Thank You

  14. This is one of the most fantastic ideas I have ever heard. I will be trying it starting today. I’m tired of the capitalistic society that we live in. I will use all of my social interaction and connection to the Nth degree to bring this movement closer for the greater good of everything with best intention, motivation and action.

    • Hi Ericka, thanks for your enthusiastic response to the mission of the Buy Nothing Project. If you’re interested in starting a group for your community, do let us know. We just need a local volunteer to join us as admin (our entire network is run by volunteers). Send an email to thebuynothingproject@gmail.com with your city, suburb or township name, and we’ll get started!
      ~ Shelley

  15. Is there a group in Nutley NJ or Montclair NJ that I could join?

    • Hi Munira:-) there isn’t a Buy Nothing group yet in Nutley or Monclair, and we’d love to see a gift economy started for your community … We just need a local volunteer to join us as admin (our entire network is run by volunteers). Let us know if you’re interested!
      ~ Shelley

  16. I would love to be a part of this group. I think it’s great!

  17. Is there already one in downtown Seattle? I’ve available to help and have things and talents to offer.

    • Hi Belinda, did you find your hyper-local Buy Nothing community group? Below is the link for the Washington State groups, if you scroll down you will see there are at least 25 groups covering the greater Seattle area. Just copy/paste the link for your neighborhood into your browser, which will then give you an option to ‘request to join.’ Thanks for your interest in our social experiment!

      https://buynothingproject.org/find-a-group/#WA

  18. Love to join a group. The groups in my area say closed. So what are my options?

    • Hi Kathy, Thank you for your interest in joining a local group in the Buy Nothing Project network. Facebook Groups have different levels that can be set, and the BNProject uses the ‘closed’ setting for all groups, which means that member’s posts are only visible to those who are a member of the group. When you find the group for your community, all you have to do is click on ‘request to join’ and you should soon then be receiving a message from the local admin, who is confirming that you are a real person (not a spambot profile) and that you reside within the boundaries for the group. Let us know if you have any further questions!
      Warm regards,
      Shelley

  19. I am very blessed to live in the Houghton neighborhood and my back fence neighbors shared this with me
    They were I thought having a garage sale since they were sadly planning a move
    I stopped by to take a look and found a set of stunning gorgeous dishes that are pieces of art I asked what they were asking for one plate knowing there was no way I could afford even one
    She said everything was free with a big smile
    I’m happy to share that I’m on a very fixed income waiting for social security disability
    I can’t wait to pay it forward
    I love to give of my time and can watch people’s dogs at my house if anyone needs help
    Feel free to email me
    Thanks you for spreading this
    It has blessed me and many others
    I LOVE IT PAY IT FORWARD

  20. I would like to know if there is a group in my area. I live in Little Elm, TX 75068.

    • Hi Pamila, The list of active Buy Nothing Project gift economies is available online here: https://buynothingproject.org/find-a-group/ It’s updated frequently, so please check back if there’s not one near you. And if you’d like to learn more about what it takes to start one, and you might be willing to serve as a volunteer admin, send us an email and we can get you more info. Thanks for your interest!

  21. I belong to one if these groups, it is the best!!

  22. Looking for site in Folsom, Ca

    • Hi Delores, The list of active Buy Nothing Project gift economies is available online here: https://buynothingproject.org/find-a-group/ It’s updated frequently, so please check back if there’s not one near you. And if you’d like to learn more about what it takes to start one, and you might be willing to serve as a volunteer admin, send us an email and we can get you more info. Thanks for your interest!

  23. How do you find this locally. I’m in Magnolia Texas. Just outside of Houston

    • Hi Tammy, The list of active Buy Nothing Project gift economies is available online here: https://buynothingproject.org/find-a-group/ It’s updated frequently, so please check back if there’s not one near you. And if you’d like to learn more about what it takes to start one, and you might be willing to serve as a volunteer admin, send us an email and we can get you more info. Thanks for your interest!

  24. I love this group. We are part of The Key Peninsula group of Gig Harbor, WA. It really does help you get to know your neighbors. Never before have I felt more connected to an area than I do now, all because of this group. We also have weekly meet ups to gift items easier. This project has been a great blessing to us and has enabled us to be a blessing to others, as well . Thank you for that.:)

  25. Looking for group in Sequim, WA. 98382

    • Hi Sue, The list of active Buy Nothing Project gift economies is available online here: https://buynothingproject.org/find-a-group/ It’s updated frequently, so please check back if there’s not one near you. And if you’d like to learn more about what it takes to start one, and you might be willing to serve as a volunteer admin, send us an email and we can get you more info. Thanks for your interest!

  26. I’d like to know if a group exists here in Granada Hills CA

    • Hi Susana, The list of active Buy Nothing Project gift economies is available online here: https://buynothingproject.org/find-a-group/ It’s updated frequently, so please check back if there’s not one near you. And if you’d like to learn more about what it takes to start one, and you might be willing to serve as a volunteer admin, send us an email and we can get you more info. Thanks for your interest!

  27. I would love one here in Texas..

    • Hi Tiffany, The list of active Buy Nothing Project gift economies is available online here: https://buynothingproject.org/find-a-group/ It’s updated frequently, so please check back if there’s not one near you. And if you’d like to learn more about what it takes to start one, and you might be willing to serve as a volunteer admin, send us an email and we can get you more info. Thanks for your interest!

  28. How do I get this started where I live

  29. I am looking for a group to join. I live in Lake Forest Park, WA

    • Hi, Cathy! Did you find the hyper-local Buy Nothing community group for your area? Below is the link for Buy Nothing Mountlake Terrace/Lake Forest Park. Just copy/paste the link for your neighborhood into your browser, which will then give you an option to ‘request to join.’ Thanks for your interest in our social experiment!

      https://www.facebook.com/groups/BuyNothingLFPMLT/

  30. After reading a recent post about messaging “admin” instead of leaving admin type comments, I realized I don’t know how to message admin either. I don’t need to now but should I have a need in the future, how does one do that?

    • Hi, Sallee! Thank you for contacting us. If you need or want to message an admin in your group, you can simply send them a message as you would any other member. We are members, after all! Each group has their own local volunteer admins who keep the group flowing along. You can post a request to find out who your local admins are, if you don’t already know, or click on the Members link at the top of your page – there is a link below that will say “Admins.” Simply send a private message to one of the admins with any questions, concerns, or happy thoughts you may have. Hope that helps! If you have questions about sending private messages, please let me know.:)

  31. I’ve never heard of this. I think it sounds amazeballs! I must find a chapter of this group where I live near Denver!

  32. Awesome! How do I find one in my area?

  33. I am so thankful for the Buy Nothing Project! We have not only de-cluttered and found some pretty interesting things but I have formed many friendships and have learned a different way to give and think! I have been a volunteer admin for over a year now and love our local group, being a part of BNP has expanded my mind & heart and that of my families! We enjoy being part of such a great thing!

  34. This looks amazing! Just learned about this project & groups after reading a “Frugalwoods” blog post, so I’m late to the party. Found the nearest group, 1 town over from me, hope they let me join. I’m disabled and not up to starting a group – that would be way beyond my abilities. We’ll see how it goes and Thank you to whomever or whomevers first thought this up! :)

  35. Is there a tx deduction for giving through BN? I would guess not, since it is a gifting model, but am curious.

    • Hi, Deana! Thanks for your interest in our social experiment! Short and sweet, the Buy Nothing Project is not a 501(c)3, nor are we a charity, so gifting is not tax deductible through us. Nothing is ever gifted to or by the organization itself – we are just simply the means in which it happens. Giftings are always between friends and neighbors, person-to-person. If you know of a way to claim that and your accountant or tax professional can confirm that you can deduct something you have given as a personal gift from neighbor-to-neighbor, then as long as it’s legal, you are good to go. Hope that helps!

  36. I don’t have a Facebook can I still participate.

    • Hi, Hellaina! All of the Buy Nothing Project groups use Facebook and people often ask us why we chose Facebook as our platform for The Buy Nothing Project. 1) It’s free; 2) Most of our friends and neighbors are on Facebook; and 3) It’s transparent. Transparency is the key ingredient to keeping a gift economy sustainable over time. Though there are some limitations to Facebook, the BNP is a network of groups completely run by volunteers, without a budget (or time) to put the effort required into developing and maintaining a stand-alone site at this time. Many people who don’t typically use Facebook will join just to participate in the Buy Nothing Project. If you want to do that, we would love to have you join a group in your area. Thanks for your interest in the Project!

  37. I live in west Seattle 98116. How can I join?

  38. I would like to join

  39. I just heard about Buy Nothing from an acquaintance. I live in Ballard, Seattle. I noticed that there are many groups in Seattle (4 just in Ballard). My question is: Can I join more than one group?

    • Hi, Bob! Our mission is to create hyper-local gift economies in which the true wealth is the web of connections formed between people who are real-life neighbors. Because of this, we have a “Give Where You Live” rule. Our groups are about connecting people more than about free stuff, and we’ve found that these connections need trust and familiarity to flourish. So our rule is one hyper-local group per person, the one where you live. Thanks for your interest in our social experiment!

  40. Wow, sounds like at last someone has found a way in our fast paced citfied world to at last get to know your neighbors
    BRAVO LADIES!!!

  41. How do i joined this site i need things.

  42. Any thing in Nappanee, Indiana
    Goshen Indiana

    • Hi, Karen! Did you find your hyper-local Buy Nothing community group? Please have a look at the list, and copy/paste the link for your neighborhood into your browser, which will then give you an option to ‘request to join.’ https://buynothingproject.org/find-a-group/ If you don’t see a group in your area, we’d love it if you would consider starting one. Let us know if you’re interested – send a message to thebuynothingproject@gmail.com with your location details, and we’ll start from there! Thanks for your interest in our social experiment!

  43. I desperately need help with clothes and shoes for 5 boys and one little girl. My friend recently gained temporary custody of these kids after their parents gave them up. The little girl in in kindergarten, 2 of the boys are in 6th grade, one is on 8th grade, one in 9th and one I’m 10th. They need shoes and clothes. The are not larger kids. Tall and slender. They are so sweet and just super cute and smart. The oldest is wearing pink shoes that he found. The lady taking care of them is a new friend of mine. She has a heart of gold and works at the local camp for kids. She doesn’t make a lot and needs help. If I can get the sizes will you all help them please? These kids can make it out of the life those parents gave them. I get so angry at people that do this to their children. If this organization can help I will be forever grateful.

    • Hi, Jennifer! We are not a charity; we are group of hyperlocal gift communities that give to one another within those communities. I removed your address for privacy, but saw that you live in Gig Harbor. I’m sure the members who live near you would be happy to help in whatever way they can. Below is the link for Buy Nothing Gig Harbor. Just copy/paste the link for your neighborhood into your browser, which will then give you an option to ‘request to join.’ Thanks for your interest in our social experiment!

      https://www.facebook.com/groups/595295933900182/

  44. I am interested in your ideals on pets. I feel strongly about pet rescue but wonder about pets being past along with minimal info and care to others.

    • Hi, Kate! This is some great information about that from our FAQs: “Yes, we let people offer their pets and livestock to their fellow group members. We’re well aware of all of the horrible things that happen to animals when they’re carelessly re-homed or, worse, abandoned. When someone offers their beloved animals to a new home via their BNP group, they’re able to choose the new home, ask as many questions as they’d like, see where the animal will be living, and stay in touch with the people adopting it.

      We trust the transparency in our groups and the fact that our groups are populated by real life neighbors to provide a layer of protection not present in anonymous re-homing situations. When you find a new home for an animal in a BNP group, you’re doing that in full view of your neighbors, who will most definitely be keeping an eye on what’s happening.”

  45. I don’t see any pages set up in Gilbert AZ and wanted to share with my daughter. Is there one or can she start it up???

  46. Hi there! I have met so many of my neighbors since joining this group, some who live only a few houses away! We have a handful of folks that regularly gift and I’m noticing that we’re all starting to get very prescriptive with our posts; something along the lines of ‘please don’t express interest unless you truly plan to pick up’. I understand life happens but I think we’re starting to get frustrated with the lack of communication from recipients and lack of follow-through on retrieving gifted items. Is there anything written within the buy nothing rules or is it up to the Admin to send out a public service announcement once enough complaints are logged? We can’t be the only group this happens to, appreciate any guidance you can provide! Again, most experiences are fabulous and the good always outweighs the challenges!

    • Hey, Maggie! Thanks for your feedback. Each group finds the best way to work with situations like what you have described. Our ultimate goal is that when writing a post, members write them as though they are talking directly to their neighbor right next door. Sometimes, people get frustrated with slow pickups, no-shows, etc. and at this point, the admins can post a friendly reminder to all members. However, each member can post as they would like, as long as it meets the rules and guidelines. Feel free to reach out to your local admin and see if they are willing to post a friendly reminder to all members. We don’t consider this a rule, but it does help a group to foster community and connection. Feel free to reach out to me if you have more questions!

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