Buy Nothing The Glebe – what’s up with the banana?

That’s a nice pot someone’s giving away, but I don’t really need the banana… Photo: Buy Nothing The Glebe

By Vivian Croll

I am new to this Buy Nothing group on social media and so thankful I found it. It has opened up a whole new world of discovery, especially during this pandemic quiet time. I’m trying to figure why I am so slow to claim an item by clicking on “Yes I am interested in this item” – I’ve missed a few things by being too late to respond. But Buy Nothing works the other way too, as I can offer things that others might want.

Let me explain a little more about Buy Nothing for those who are unaware of it. It is a community group with about 450 members in the Glebe that facilitates free exchanges of items. What’s with the pot and the banana in the accompanying photo? The pot was one of my first acquisitions. The banana is a common tool used by members to illustrate the size of an offering. The banana puts everything into perspective.

When a Buy Nothing group grows to between 1,000 and 2,000 members, it is divided into two or more smaller groups. The goal is to connect people with others close by. For instance, Buy Nothing in Centretown is divided into four groups: East with 1,000 members, West with 828, North with 385 and South with 480.  There are a total of 25,000 members in more than 150 groups in four countries – Canada, the United States, Britain and Australia. Wikipedia says the Buy Nothing project is a global network of community-based groups, founded in the U.S. in 2013, that encourages giving of consumer goods and services as an alternative to conventional commerce. Purpose: recycling. Motto: Give, share, build community.

I can really embrace the recycling concept. I often see still-useful items put out as garbage. Why throw it out when someone else can use it? If less goes into our landfill, if unwanted items find a new home, it is a win-win situation. I am at the point in my life when my children are adults and I have most of what I need. But I still find it fun to give and take. Buy Nothing is especially useful for young families and for young people setting up their first apartment. It really helps people who are struggling with the loss of employment during the pandemic. The group is so generous in sharing food, warm clothing, household items and so much more.

The last full moon of 2020, one of the rewards of a Glebe walkabout for a Buy Nothing porch pickup. Photo: Vivian Croll

I almost feel guilty getting something for free and finding value in it, knowing someone else could have used it. I tell myself it’s okay as long as I do not claim too much! Even though I have everything I need, I still find it fun to scan posts and find that special something. I balance it by offering household items and clothes I no longer need. I have family to “shop” for and can be on the lookout for them too – perhaps they can use a pair of skates or a desk for home schooling. Before discovering Buy Nothing, I was always a fan of thrift shops, bazaars and garage sales. I have a soft spot for vintage dishes. The pandemic is the perfect time for Buy Nothing. After finding something you need or want, you send a message to the donor. They give you an address, and you have a new route to walk to collect your new treasure. Because of health restrictions, the item is simply left on the porch to be collected. I look forward to the end of the pandemic when I can meet my generous neighbours in person.

Walking home one day after collecting a beautiful dish, I spotted the last full moon of 2020. It was a breath-taking sight – the moon hung low and big on the horizon and the sky was a beautiful shade of light purple. I would never have seen the sky had it not been for the dish I found on the Buy Nothing site. Nor would I have met the young parents proudly holding their little girl. She was wearing a beautiful red hat with pompoms on each side. When I remarked how adorable she was, the couple proudly told me it was her first birthday. “Happy birthday,” I told her, “it is mine in a couple of days.” I hope many of you get the chance to meet others as you recycle, give and share. Happy shopping for free, neighbours, and stay safe!

Vivian Croll is retired from The Ottawa Hospital and loves uncovering the joys of the Glebe.

Twitter Digg Delicious Stumbleupon Technorati Facebook Email

Comments are closed.