Buy Nothing

Posted by on Mar 9, 2015 in Amy's Blog | 3 comments



“You need to declutter”.  This is a phrase I say over and over in my profession as a Realtor®.  Not necessarily because my clients are pack rats or hoarders, but simply because we have a very unrealistic view of what a home should look like when being offered for sale.  If you have ever walked through a model home, you know what I’m talking about!  Everything is bright, airy, perfectly decorated and clutter free!  We all know that for many, the perfectly staged home is unrealistic for day to day life, but when selling your home, it is necessary to help you get the most money for your home in the least amount of time.

When I’m meeting with clients and helping them prepare their homes for sale, we talk about staging and how the home should be presented.   The conversation always turns to purging the excess “stuff” which we all seem to accumulate.  So when I caught wind of a new Facebook group in Stittsville called “Buy Nothing Stittsville,” I was intrigued.  My initial thought was this would be a great resource for my clients to get rid of their clutter and make the job of getting their home ready to list that much easier.   I also thought that maybe I could do a little purging myself, as my own basement has become overrun with unused items!  I joined the group and what I have witnessed over the last few months is nothing short of unbelievable.

First, a little background on the group.  The Buy Nothing Project began as an experimental hyper-local gift economy on Bainbridge Island, WA.  A direct quote from the Buy Nothing website states: “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.”  Within 18 months of this project starting, there were local groups formed all over the world.  The Stittsville group was started on July 4th, 2014.  By February 2015 the membership had grown to over 1000 people!

But the rapid growth of the group is not what is so impressive.  Remember that my initial thought was that this was just a great place to get rid of junk…and it is…sort of!  But it’s actually much more than that.   What I have experienced is a community of people willing to help each other when needed, generous giving, and people actually getting to know some of their neighbours!  Imagine, in a world where we are consumed with our devices and electronics, people are actually getting to know each other!

What I have found most impressive is the generosity of people. What started out as a place to give away unwanted items has turned into a community of giving.  I have seen posts where people are offering baked goods, meals, even prayers for people going through tough times.  I am not surprised anymore when a member posts that they need help with something and within a matter of minutes, the thread has exploded with 20 offers to help!  People using their skills, talents and time to help others instead of just a monetary donation.  It really is heart warming.

The benefit of getting rid of unused items can’t be overlooked. Items that you wouldn’t think anyone would want, can usually find a home on Buy Nothing and therefore stay out of our landfills.  It’s amazing how the very thing you don’t need, someone else can use!  I have given away all kinds of things that range from a high chair, baby items and a coat with a broken zipper!  All of which someone gladly came to pick up from me.  It’s a nice feeling to know that a neighbour can benefit from what you don’t need.

I asked some of the group members to share their experiences and their responses show that these people have gained much more than some new “items”.  Below are just some of the responses I received, as not surprisingly, the offers to help me with this blog post were overwhelming!

Heather:  “I have not been in the group long. I lived in Stittsville all my life and did not know that there are great people out there.”

Debra: “I sprained my ankle badly & within 5 minutes of posting the request, had 7 offers of the loan of crutches – in 30 minutes they were in my possession! How wonderful is that!”

Cathy: “My favourite posts often start with ‘Odd give’ because it’s usually something that would have been tossed into the local landfill before “Buy Nothing” but now it pretty much gets snapped up right away. I feel a stronger sense of community because of this group.”

Melissa: “This group is amazing. It is filled with people with enormous hearts and has made me realize that I don’t need stuff to be happy. In fact, the more I give away the better I feel about it.”

Cathy: “I really don’t ‘know’ very many people in the BN group (or Stittsville even) and perhaps that is true for many of us on here but the generosity…gifting items that we could probably get compensated for; the compassion…the immediate offers to help those who are in need, even with prayers, and the friendships that have and will surely be developed because of this group is such a blessing. It is heart-warming to see neighbours looking out for the best interest of each other.”

Roxanne: “I’m a mother of 5 kids and 2 grandkids and never felt so part of a community in my life. Since staring this group with Sonia I have met so many amazing neighbours that are like another family to me now. Strangers who have helped my family and I in a million ways. To things for ourselves, for our house, even to collect over 85 pairs of jeans for a jean drive for the homeless that my daughter was doing at school.  To top it off so many go out of their way to deliver and even do pick ups for me and drop off since we don’t have a car.  BNS to me is a second family that I love!”

I hope that you’ll take a minute to check out this group.  It may help you declutter your home but be prepared to receive far more than you give away!  If you’re interested in joining this group, it can be found by searching “Buy Nothing Stittsville” on Facebook.  I will definitely continue to recommend this group to my clients.  But I feel it will be only fair to warn clients that are moving out of this community, that it may just make them change their mind!


  1. Love the article and the group. You have indeed captured the essence and in fact the heart of the group. Great job and keep writting 🙂

  2. This is a beautifully written piece that wholeheartedly captures the essence of the Buy Nothing Stittsville group. Well done Amy!!!

  3. It’s nice to see Stittsville coming together in such a unique way. 🙂

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