In 2019, Ana Linneman aka Ana Lynn on social media, discovered the Buy Nothing movement. Realizing that there was not yet a local Facebook (fb) group, where locals can post items they want to give away or are in need of — for free, she started one. Since the movement encourages a small geographic area, initially it was just New Paltz. In 2020 it was determined that Gardiner should also be added. At first the fb group grew slowly, but then via word of mouth, it grew rapidly in popularity. Now there are over 2,100 members and four admins! Our residents can participate in the giving and receiving there. In this group, there can be posts of Gifts, Asks, AND Appreciation. Gifts need not be of a material nature. There can be gifts of time, skills, or advice. It is a place to find a world of fascinating items waiting just for you. Friends yet to be made and clutter to be cleared. The whole premise though, is not just about the exchange of items, but more the exchange between people. During COVID, no contact pickups limited the ability to physically connect, but still the group offered many valuable interactions, online and in person.
The Buy Nothing movement trains those opening new groups and encourages not giving items only to the first interested person. “Gifters” are encouraged to let posts sit for a few hours or a day to allow members to express an interest in items before choosing or randomly selecting the recipient. Many use the “Wheel of Names” random generator app to choose the “winner” or recipient of the Gifts.
The exchanges have been varied and voluminous: Tons of furniture, outdoor gear, antiques, plants, a loom, spinning wheel, spice racks, bunk beds, 1930’s drafting desk, a tiny ox for the year of the golden ox, a painting on an old bone, snail babies, sourdough starter and a bread machine, ivy, brussel sprouts, an Oh No Mr. Bill cat toy for the feline SNL aficionados, pet portrait services. A personal favorite of mine was the “24-hour Gift/Loan of a Wacky Waving Inflatable Arm Flailing Tube Man” that my kids humorously call a “wind-dude”.
So…if you are a fan of the hunt, or an adherent of Feng Shui, Buy Nothing New Paltz can add a treasured item, or the opportunity to clear out some of the clutter in your life. Stuff, fun, friends, community, reuse, recycling, and free cycling. Learn more at www.facebook.com/groups/BuyNothingNewPaltz or buynothingproject.org.