We’re back with part two of our Minimalism series! Before we jump in, we want to know… did any of y’all get rid of some stuff since last time? Have you reached nirvana in your home? I’d love to know what your special tips might be!
In this next part, we’re continuing to tackle the mountain of stuff we surround ourselves with and the effect it seems to have. Whether that’s in the form of gifts for others, a little retail therapy for ourselves, or filling our homes with things we want but may not need, we’re all guilty of buying too much. Now don’t get me wrong, I love a special gift or new outfit as much as the next person! But I find that when I aim to simplify, I’m also granted the opportunity to get more creative in what I give, receive, and ask for. I love the idea of thoughtful consumption, and I’ve found it really takes some practice.
Enter: the BuyNothing Project– a movement led entirely by volunteers around the world that are creating local gift economy communities. We have them right here in the Triangle too! The basic idea is that instead of getting something new, you can reach out to your local BuyNothing group on Facebook to give and receive, share, lend, and express gratitude. They say “the true wealth is the web of connections formed between people.”
The basic BuyNothing gift economy actions are:
- Offer any item or service you’d like to share, loan, or give away
- Request any service or item you’d like to borrow or keep
- Express your gratitude! “Sharing gratitude is what fuels the magic.”
Within this gift economy, you can offer or request any item that is freely-given, including used items or even things that are not fully operational. Some freely-given services you can offer or request are the gifts of self, talent, or time. These services give you the opportunity to be creative in how you give and receive gifts. We always love a chance to think outside the box!
A gift of self could be babysitting, giving someone a ride, or anything else you might do for a neighbor. A gift of talent would include anything you can teach someone else – like a new computer skill, piano lessons, or cooking classes. A gift of time is as simple as it sounds – offering your time or asking for someone to spend time with you. This could take the form of a new workout buddy, a playdate for your kids or pets, or even organizing activities for your local BuyNothing group.
The opportunities are endless! And it gives you the chance to operate from a place of abundance – not in terms of what you can buy, but what you can give and receive. You get the chance to share your secret cooking talent, or enjoy the company or a new friend, or give away that extra piece of furniture no one ever uses. By giving and receiving from this place of abundance, you minimize the stuff and open up your heart. That’s a pretty enticing combo in my book.
We also love how these communities help create connections with people you might not have ever met otherwise. As the BuyNothing Project said, the true wealth (and joy!) comes from connecting with others, no matter what you’re offering or receiving.