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Safe ways to get free stuff in your neighborhood

If you want to save money while connecting to your community, you’ve got to join a buy nothing group. It’s exactly what it says on the tin: a group of neighbors with their own gift economy. You can join a Facebook group or even a community on NextDoor or other apps. Tap or click here to find out how Nextdoor and other apps help you sell your old, used or even battered tech.

In a buy nothing group, neighbors pass around items they no longer use. Say you bought a device you no longer use and you don’t want to go to the trouble of selling it yourself. You can head to a buy nothing group and ask, “Would anyone like to pick this up?”

That way, someone can swing by and take it off your hands. You can also grab some fantastic freebies for any project you need. Buy nothing groups are convenient, money-saving and help declutter your home.

How to join a buy nothing group

Luckily, you can join the Buy Nothing Project no matter where you are. The official organization has spread throughout the globe.

There are a few ways to get started. First, you can download the app on iOS or Android and join with a Gmail account. You can react to posts, send private messages, and upload photos and videos to show what you have to give away through the app. It’s free to use, though it comes with ads.

If you don’t want to download the app, you can head to Facebook, Nextdoor or another social media platform. Sometimes they’re on Reddit, Discord or Slack, but you’ll have the most luck on Facebook or Nextdoor. Here’s how to find and join your local buy nothing group.

Follow these steps

First, open whichever app or website you’re searching on. Then, head to the search box and type buy nothing along with your town or city. Find whichever one is closest to you.

If there aren’t any buy nothing groups in your specific area, look for nearby groups. You can also start your own group, but that requires a bit of moderation work. You’ll have to make sure other users follow the rules and stay up-to-date on the forum. If you don’t want to worry about moderation, join the closest group near you.

When you apply to join a group, you may have to answer a few questions before the group leaders can approve your membership. You may have to enter your age to confirm you’re an adult or enter your location.

Now that you’re in the group, you’ll see three different types of posts:

  1. Gifting posts: This is when someone posts items they want to give away. This can be any item, from furniture and books to food or kitchen gadgets. If you’re interested, just leave a comment.
  2. Asking posts: This is when someone needs something. So if you’re looking for some baby clothes, you can make an ask post and find someone in your community looking to give away what you want.
  3. Gratitude posts: These are photos posted by people who received gifts. They’re meant to boost community morale and show the gifts being put to good use. For example, if someone gives you baby clothes, you could post your little one wearing their new outfit with the caption, “Thanks!”

Sometimes, people giving away items will be on a first-come, first-serve basis. Others prefer to pick a person randomly. If someone is having trouble picking a recipient, they may ask a few questions about why you want the item they’re giving away.

Once you’re all set up, you can start getting free stuff, giving your unused stuff away and connecting with folks near you. Circular gift economies are a great way to cut down on waste and Covid-induced isolation. Share your success stories on Twitter, Facebook or the Komando Community!

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