Do you participate in your local Buy Nothing group? If not, you should definitely consider it. Read on for a countdown of my top 10 favorite gifts I shared in our Buy Nothing group.
Are you a member of your local Buy Nothing group? If not, I highly recommend you give it a shot. I’ve been part of our local group for a couple of years now. Our local group grew so fast, it ended up getting split into several groups to maintain the sense of community the Buy Nothing group helps to establish.
Since joining the group, we’ve done some serious closet cleanouts. We pass along things that no longer serve us as our kids get older. As a result, I’ve gifted many things that we no longer used but were still in great condition. Instead of dumping numerous boxes at a local thrift shop, I loved connecting with neighbors to gift these items to those who were ready to put them to good use for their families.
Top 10 Favorite Buy Nothing Gifts I’ve Shared
Just for fun, I’ve compiled a Top 10 list of my favorite items I’ve gifted or received in my local Buy Nothing group. There are so many amazing gifts that people offer, and hopefully, I can continue to bring a dollop of joy to those in my community from our abundance.
10. 5-Point Harness Car Seat
Due to regulatory requirements, it can be hard to donate car seats even when they are in great condition. Understandably, recipients want car seats that haven’t been in accidents or passed their expiration dates.
My boys outgrew our 5-point harness car seat that was in great shape and had plenty of life left in it long before its expiration date. I posted several photos with a detailed description of the car seat, including photos of the expiration date printed on the seat, and confirmed it had been in no accidents.
I was thrilled to pass it along to a neighbor and not have to throw it in the trash or scour for a donation location and review donation requirements. No complaints that my neighbor came right to my house to pick it up.
9. Kids Game Collection
We love playing board games with our kids, but recently they outgrew some of the games in our original collection. Shortly after buying a few new games, we no longer needed Monopoly Junior, Sorry, Candyland, and a couple of other games. I even realized we had two UNO games!
I posted them on the Buy Nothing group, and they headed off to a few different families who I’m sure would use them more than we did (which was nearly never).
I will drink alcohol once in a while, but it’s really not my thing. For some time, we had a small collection of bitters sitting on a shelf in our basement that a friend purchased and left with us after a party. I don’t even know how to use bitters.
Despite one of the five flavors missing from the package, the other four flavors remained unopened so I posted it to the Buy Nothing group. I wasn’t sure if anyone would be interested, but lo and behold, a few people expressed interest. I was happy to pass along these little treats that I wouldn’t use but someone else would put to good use.
7. Mini Charcoal Grill
The previous owners of our house left a small charcoal grill in the shed. We have a gas grill already, and we don’t camp or tailgate much so we didn’t have a need for this mini charcoal grill.
For the longest time, it sat in our shed taking up space and, quite frankly, getting in the way. A couple of months ago, I finally got motivated enough to clean out the shed and posted this grill to our Buy Nothing group. It found a new home in just a few hours!
When we first moved into our home, we remodeled the master bathroom. A set of cabinets came out of the bathroom, and we repurposed those cabinets in our laundry room.
Last December, we upgraded our laundry room and installed a California Closets organization system. The installer carefully removed the pre-existing cabinet and left it in our garage so we could consider reusing it. We thought for a few weeks about how to repurpose it in our own home, but we ultimately decided we no longer needed it.
I posted the cabinet on the Buy Nothing group and received several requests in just a few hours. Within 24 hours, a neighbor picked up the like-new cabinet, and it was a breeze for me to pass along. She even left a small bag of chocolates as a token of appreciation for the gift. I love that this group gave the cabinet a third chance at a new life and saved it from the landfill.
5. Bouquet of Flowers
A few days before heading to California last week, I received a gorgeous bouquet of flowers for participating in a youth development program. I knew the flowers would last for many days after we left, and I hated to see them go to waste.
I offered them up in our Buy Nothing group, and another member requested them for a relative that recently entered the hospital. I packaged the vase and bouquet in a cardboard box filled with newspaper (so the flowers wouldn’t spill in the car) and was more than happy they found a new home when we couldn’t enjoy them.
4. Slip ‘n’ Slide
Once in a while, we make a fun and impulsive purchase like a slip ‘n’ slide. I had a slip ‘n’ slide as a kid and loved it. I’m not sure to what lengths my parents went to set up, care for, and store that slip and slide, but I found our slip and slide to be a bear to maintain.
Our yard is not flat enough for it to work properly. Our grass is not soft enough for our kids to lay out their bodies and slide across the ground. And I labored for days over how to store the slip ‘n’ slide without folding it up while wet and thereby encouraging the growth of mildew and mold.
I don’t recall these ever being issues for my parents, but maybe they were and I just didn’t notice. Either way, the slip n’ slide wasn’t working for our family, so I was thrilled to pass it along to another family who could make better use of it.
When I posted it on the Buy Nothing page, there was so much interest. I think 30 or 40 people expressed interest in just the first few hours after I offered it up. What’s not to like about passing along something so fun that we can no longer enjoy.
3. Bed and Mattress with Sheet Set
Beds and mattresses can be so hard to rehome. I understand the hesitation to take a mattress or bed from someone else’s home due to the risks of bed bugs and other pests. But it also saddens me that so many kids sleep on the floor and share small beds with multiple family members, yet I can’t pass along a perfectly good bed to make their life easier. I get it, but I don’t love it.
Finding homes for these types of “difficult to donate” items are another reason why Buy Nothing groups are so amazing. It might be hard to accept a bed and mattress when you don’t know from where it came, especially for an organization accepting the bed on behalf of someone else.
In this case, however, the Buy Nothing forum gave me a way to provide enough information about the bed to give the direct recipient confidence that it would be a good fit in her home. She also had a chance to see it before taking it home. Buy Nothing groups often make it easier to share mattresses, car seats, and other items that many organizations don’t always accept.
2. Chicken of the Woods Mushrooms for Foragers
I don’t eat mushrooms. I don’t like the texture, and I’m not sure I’ll ever come to appreciate their delicacy. Living in the woods, however, we occasionally find interesting mushrooms growing on our property.
A while back, I shared about the chicken of the woods mushrooms that popped up on a dead tree in our yard in mid-October. It took an unannounced visitor stopping by our home and inquiring about the mushrooms to realize they were a hot commodity.
Understanding their value and unwilling to eat them myself, I offered the chicken of the woods mushrooms to members of our Buy Nothing group. While one of the administrators of the group expressed understandable caution about sharing a food product that could be poisonous, several frequent foragers in the group jumped at the chance to procure this popular fungus food.
I was delighted to share with neighbors the abundance of nature on our property, and also possibly win the award for the most unique gift offered up in the group.
1. Bounce House
When I offered up a bounce house at the end of 2020, the Buy Nothing group went bananas. I wasn’t all that surprised. For families with kids of the right age, an indoor bounce house in the middle of a pandemic winter is magical.
Our boys outgrew the bounce house and turned it into a wrestling ring. Uninterested in their WWF shenanigans, it was time to pass the bounce house to another family whose little ones could enjoy it safely.
After just a couple of hours, I received almost 70 requests for the bounce house. Following best practices of the Buy Nothing guiding principles, I let the gift simmer for two days and then selected a recipient from all those who expressed interest.
I ended up choosing a family with three children and a parent who worked in a high-risk medical field. Because of the parent’s job, the children had significant restrictions on their activities outside of the home. The indoor bounce house was a perfect gift for these children.
The best part about passing along the bounce house might be that we also received it as a gift from a friend who no longer had space for it in their own home. Kids’ toys have so much life in them, and nearly always last longer than they are suitable for a specific child at a given point in life. Hopefully, the bounce house sees even more homes as it continues its journey through many families.
Big and Small Buy Nothing Gifts
Buy Nothing group members gift all sorts of things. From a bed and a bounce house to an unused jar of pickles, you never know what will pop up on the feed that might be just perfect for you. It’s simple to scan the group activity every couple of days (or however often you’d like) to see what gems await you.
And before you toss something in the trash, or drag it to a local thrift shop, consider posting it to your local Buy Nothing group. One person’s trash is another person’s treasure, so let your neighbors decide if they love what you no longer need.
Thanks to my local Buy Nothing group for helping us strengthen the fabric of our community, reduce waste, and be a source of free joy to the hundreds of members it includes.