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Friday, February 5, 2016

The Gift Economy

Remember this post, when I said we really need a new couch?

Well, we got one. And we didn't have to pay thousands of dollars at Bothell Furniture, or even hundreds at Ikea (plus all the swearing involved in assembling such things).

Instead, we got this lovely four-butt, one-chaise sofa, complete with rolling storage ottoman and a few pillows thrown in for good measure.

For the price of the gas it took us to pick it up.

At today's gas prices, that's a real steal.


This is all something that came to us via the Buy Nothing Project. It's like freecycle, but more... specifically neighborhood based, rather than Free Craigslist, which is what freecycle always seemed like to me. Basically, if you have something to give/lend, you post it in your neighborhood's group. If you have something you need, you post ditto.

I live in an area that could be any one of three neighborhood groups, one of which I also work in, so I chose that one. The rules say you only belong to one, and you also don't share your sob stories in an effort to get picked as the recipient of a given item (most givers, if there are multiple potential recipients, have a child choose, or a random choice via names drawn from a hat or suchlike).

This is an alternative to selling on craigslist or ebay, or  giving to Goodwill or something. This way you know it gets used by your neighbors. And you get neat posts like this one, where the youngest child in the house says things like, "This couch is the Best Couch Ever and I don't know why anyone would give it away. And so many bonuses, like the dragonfly pillow and this HUGE FOOTSTOOL."

It doesn't get a lot better than that.