Creating white space in my life has taught me some big lessons already and one has come directly from my Buy Nothing community. I have referenced it, but not explained it much further and after a Buy Nothing friend posted these comments…. I had to share with you….
“Our family has taken up the challenge to give a gift every day this month. The fire has caught in each one of us from a husband that was skeptical at first to a 8 year old that suddenly ‘loved’ everything that was being gifted.”
“Now we find ourselves looking around and considering things in a new light. We have always like to see the corners of the floor cause chaos leads to more chaos right. This is different than just dumping ‘stuff’. There is a new excitement as we think of our regular old things as gifts instead of giveaways. We are thankfull to you Miss Alex. Your example has inspired us.”
So…. as you can read Rebecca’s family is learning about this thing called “white space” too. I loved the incredible word picture of needing to “see the corners of the floor” because “chaos leads to more chaos.” I was also struck by her insight when it comes to “giving things away.” When I first joined a Buy Nothing Community – which is easy to do and I’ll let you know how to do it – I did see the giving away as the freeing part. I also received many things our family really needed – right in our time of need – like laundry soap in a really tight month, k-cups for our keurig to tide us over to pay day, or special gifts for our son on his birthday that we wouldn’t have been able to give him otherwise.
My first stretch of giving – big giving – was in August and in a Buy Nothing community just a little outside of where I live. I was on a kick and getting Cashel’s room transitioned from an office and guest room to his bedroom. We had a lot we needed to get rid of and having people come pick it up was a great additional perk to this kind of giving. I gave away an outdoor swing (that I would have taken to the dump) and two large wine barrel planters (also things I would have had to pay to dump.) All went to excited new homes. Not to mention journals to a family who does only “Buy Nothing” birthdays (something I am considering as a theme for some of our birthday years,) pillows to a lady who really needed them, fish tanks to a teacher, and so much more. I also got to take a large load to a Buy Nothing booth at the local farmer’s market and watched my items become treasured gifts to many people.
Then a group for my more local community was created. I was disappointed to be asked to leave the community I had been developing and new friends I had made. They really had blessed our family and become wonderful friends. The list of things we gave and receive is countless. However, it really was out of my hands. I’m still not sure what the best way is for this challenge to be faced, especially in situations where connections have been made in a larger community because a Buy Nothing group for the smaller/closer community didn’t yet exist. I saw my Buy Nothing experience as one about relationships and did loose sight of the founders goal of Buy Nothing is to be hyper local and to build community. I had to bow out to them on this one…
I decided to take on that challenge and to give where I live.
I got more active in the Buy Nothing North Kitsap group and have been amazed to be a part of watching it become a thriving giving community almost as active as the one I had first joined. We have our own lending library of entertaining and serving ware, and awesome baking pans for making fun cakes. We help each other with needs, wants, ideas, and so much more. We will even have our first event later this month – a Holiday gift swap!
I genuinely have changed my view on “giving away” and see it as “gifting” as Rebecca mentioned above. All my “giveaways” are “gifts” and I look forward to finding the perfect home for things I no longer use or need. I see things in a new light. Both the things I give and the things I receive. I love watching the creative ways people come up with to give. Sometimes they do a random drawing, ask for a story to be shared, give on a first come first serve basis, and so many other creative ways.
I was also pleased to see things go to my neighbors instead of organizations (like Goodwill) that are for the most part just money makers for the owners. I do often take leftover “gifts” to our local “Second Chance” second hand store that benefits Fishline – our local community resource center.
I love seeing group members recall a need that had been posted and watching them help a giver and receiver connect. I love looking around my home and seeing space and new treasures that have all come from our Buy Nothing community.
I challenge you to try. Give and give freely. Ask and receive freely. Connect and be ready for new relationships with your neighbors. For me it has become an integral part of creating white space in my life and for my family.
To connect with a Buy Nothing Community near you check out this list or I can put you in touch with a founder if you’d like to be part of starting one in your “hyper local” spot.
1 John 3:16-18
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.