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The Buy Nothing Project

Home > Perth > Community Events | Environment | Free
by Cate W (subscribe)
Iím a freelance writer who loves travelling. Check out my travel blog at www.localtraveltips.wordpress.com - and if you enjoy my articles please subscribe so you don't miss any!
Published January 13th 2023
How to get something for nothing
Let me tell you a secret, there is a way to get something for nothing. How? Join your local Buy Nothing group. These are often found on Facebook but some groups use the Buy Nothing app.

First of all, what is the Buy Nothing Project? Their mission statement is:
We offer people a way to give and receive, share, lend, and express gratitude through a worldwide network of hyper-local gift economies in which the true wealth is the web of connections formed between people who are real-life neighbours."

The Buy Nothing Project started as an effort to encourage people to buy less and share more to reduce plastic waste. It has grown into a global movement with 6.5 million members worldwide. You cannot buy or trade things that builds a gifting economy. People put all kinds of things up for grabs, for example, plants, excess food, electrical equipment, books, bedding, children's toys, etc. Your trash may be someone else's treasure.

battery charger, Buy Nothing Project, gifting, recycling, decluttering,receiving,
Your trash maybe someone else's treasure!


I joined my local Buy Nothing group just before I started to clear out a shed that was full of years of accumulated stuff. Some items were too good to be tipped but were things that op shops wouldn't take.

watering can, buy nothing project, gifting, recycling, declutt
This old battered watering can found it's forever home on Buy Nothing


When I joined the group I was asked a few questions about my location to make sure that I was in the catchment area of the group and then I was off and posting.

One of the things I found a new home for was an old case I'd had for over thirty years. I was just using it to store cushions, which I also gave away. The lady who took the case was going to keep her sewing projects in it.

case, Buy Nothing Project, gifting, recycling, decluttering,receiving,
This old case I'd had for over 30 years found a new lease of life with a new owner


Examples of other items I rehomed and saved from landfill, are: TV ariel cables, curtain hooks, cans of insect repellent, a wooden plant stand, a beach umbrella (with part of the pole missing), two low camping chairs (one without a back), tap timer, a part roll of electrical cable, a slightly warped artist's canvas, shopping trolley, hammock, paint gun, outdoor candle holder, battery charger, old metal watering can, vase, picture frames and table cloths.

canvas, Buy Nothing Project, gifting, recycling, decluttering,receiving,
This slightly warped canvas was gifted to someone just starting their art journey



Along the way, I saw things advertised that I needed and saved money by receiving them as a gift. Some of the items I acquired are mugs, side plates and glasses, a picnic blanket, an air fryer, a printer, an apron, a vase, some chilli plants, and a recipe book holder!

These chilli plants were gifted to us on Buy Nothing and are growing well in their new home


People can also ask for things if they need something that hasn't been advertised. I asked for some coat hangers and got 20 offered to me the same day. A more unusual request came from a lady in our Buy Nothing group who recently found a passion for embroidery and asked if anyone had any unfinished embroidery projects she could have. You can also post requests to borrow items and gratitude messages for things received.

It is recommended that gifters and receivers meet when the item is exchanged as this fosters local friendships, but it's sometimes difficult to find a convenient time for both parties. I generally leave stuff on the front verandah but tell recipients to knock if someone is home when they call round for it.

Some of the principles on the official Buy Nothing Project website reinforce that relationships are at the core of this movement. For example:

'We measure wealth by the personal connections made and trust between people.

We value people and their stories and narratives above the 'stuff'.

We view all gifts as equal; the human connection is the value.'

trolley, Buy Nothing Project, gifting, recycling, decluttering,receiving,
This trolley had never been used and was just gathering dust in the shed.


Some of the advantages I found to joining a Buy Nothing group are:

It helps you to declutter as it is easier to get rid of stuff knowing that something you no longer use can benefit someone else.

It's a good way to meet local people, which helps to create a sense of community.

It feels good to give things away

It helps to save money

It recycles items and keeps them out of the landfill.

hammock, Buy Nothing Project, gifting, recycling, decluttering,receiving,
We'd never used this hammock and it felt good to let it go to a new home where it would be used and enjoyed


One of my concerns was that these groups would reduce the donations given to op shops. But decluttering seems to be a trend and many op shops are full. I still tend to donate clothes to op shops, but when I recently took a box full to my local Vinnies they were reluctant to take it. Also, a lot of the stuff gifted in Buy Nothing groups would not be accepted by many charity shops, for example, electrical items, plants, or items that need fixing.

chairs, Buy Nothing Project, gifting, recycling, decluttering,receiving,
Even things that are broken can find a home where someone has the skills to fix them


To find out more about Buy Nothing groups go to buynothingproject.org. If you don't have a local group, why not start one yourself? There are also other ways to give and receive free stuff, such as joining your local Freecycle mailing list.
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Why? To give and receive
When: Whenever you see something you could use in the group or find something at home you don't use
Where: Your local Buy Nothing Group
Cost: Free
Your Comment
What a great initiative particularly doing tough economic times.
by Gillian Ching (score: 3|6139) 12 days ago
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