What’s one thing that you recommend to any parent you see?
For us, it is the Buy Nothing Project aka the best thing to happen to parents since the swaddle. Buy Nothing Groups are hyper-local Facebook groups that encourage neighbors to reduce waste by gifting items in good condition to community members.
Since I joined three years ago, I’ve picked up hundreds of dollars worth of baby shoes, books, toys, clothes, a fitness tracker for me, and so much more, all for free! From crib to college, this group has your kids covered from head to toe!
How does A Buy Nothing Group Work?
The official 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. No hate speech. No buying or selling, no trades or bartering, we’re strictly a gift economy.”
Members will post a photo and description of an item that they are giving away to their neighbors. Others will comment on the items they’d like, make pick-up arrangements, and boom, the item gets a second home instead of ending up in a landfill.
Why the Buy Nothing Project is a Parent’s Best Friend
- Kids are expensive AF. PJs. Tiny shoes. Books. Toys, so many toys. Bouncers. When it comes to budgeting, kids’ items add up fast. A toddler wardrobe costs an average of $150 a season. In 2019, families spent an average of $300 per child on toys worldwide. Our local group has grown to 800 members, and toddler parents are constantly gifting clothing, toys, books, food, and more! Need Something? Just Ask! This week, we’ve seen parents ask for party decorations, clothing, and more.
- More Room, Less Waste. Children grow out of their clothes every six months. The average American consumer produces just under five pounds of trash daily, while a family creates about 18 pounds. That equals 1,642 pounds per person and 6,570 pounds per family a year! Not only does the Buy Nothing Group extend the life of an item in great condition, but you know it will be used, unlike some donation drop-offs. Plus, wouldn’t it be nice to have one less toy to pick up over and over?
- Give Where You Live. One of the main tenets of the Buy Nothing Project is you can only be in one group. Their website states that “This builds resilient community connections that see people through all of life’s challenges.” Since the pandemic has started, our local group has become even more generous – gifting extra food, educational materials, toys, puzzles, and books. Plus, this group gives away plenty of parenting advice as well as potential playdates (post-quarantine). You can find your group here.
- One Item, Endless Lessons. When you browse through the Buy Nothing website, the same words keep popping up – gratitude, sharing, lending, gifting, building local connections, trust, inclusivity, honesty, integrity, and generosity. Those all sound like great qualities to teach our children.
In 2013, two friends, Rebecca Rockefeller and Liesl Clark, asked, ‘Could we conserve resources by asking our community to share more, rather than buying new?’ Within a few hours of forming the first Buy Nothing Group in Bainbridge Island, WA, they got their answer!
This little social experiment has grown into a global phenomenon. While Facebook groups were some of the only options when the project first started, they plan to release an app next month. Currently, there are over 5,500 groups led by more than 11,300 volunteers. Since then, membership has grown to at least four million participants in at least 44 countries. Will you be number four million and one?