Find a "Buy Nothing" Facebook Group to Score Free Secondhand Stuff

These local gifting groups provide an easy way to offload unwanted stuff or score items like patio furniture, sofas, artwork, and more at no cost.

Facebook Marketplace is a go-to spot to purchase secondhand furniture, clothing, and more at a range of price points. But there's another corner of Facebook where you can find all of that for free—and usually right around the corner from where you live. "Buy Nothing" groups are popping up everywhere as a way for neighbors to give, lend, or receive items at absolutely no cost.

These local Facebook groups allow members to post about stuff they want to get rid of or ask for items they'd like to receive or borrow. The fundamental rule is that each item must be freely given with no expectation of repayment, which means no buying, selling, trading, or bartering. For anyone with excess clutter, Buy Nothing groups are a great alternative to dumping stuff off at overwhelmed donation centers or trying to sell items for a slim profit that's hardly worth the effort. And for those looking to shop more sustainably or on a budget, you can't beat the $0 price tag.

living room with floral sofa and burl wood coffee table
Laurey Glenn

The Buy Nothing Project started in 2013 with Rebecca Rockefeller and Liesl Clark, two friends from Bainbridge Island, Washington, who created a local gift economy in order to live more sustainably and connect with their community. The idea has since taken off across the globe, and the project now has at least 4 million participants across 44 countries, with more than 6,000 independent, locally-led groups. Most of these groups are hosted on Facebook, but the organization also recently launched a BuyNothing app, which is currently only available for a select group of communities before it rolls out globally.

In addition to its free-giving philosophy, the other key criteria of Buy Nothing groups are that you must live in the area to enlist in a specific group and you can only join one. (You typically must confirm your location, as well as answer a few other questions, when you request to join the group.) This facilitates gifting and connection between members of the same community, whether that's within a certain neighborhood or a whole town or city.

pale pink painted piano stairway art deco bird wallpaper
John Bessler

With no shipping involved, keeping it local makes retrieving your free goodies quick and easy, not to mention cuts down on the emissions associated with an out-of-town pickup. In my local group, for example, members have offered up free moving boxes, patio furniture, wall art, an antique school desk, and even a piano. Anyone who's interested can simply comment on the post, then message the poster separately to arrange a time for pickup.

To find a gifting group in your area, check out the list on the Buy Nothing Project's website. Each link will take you to the individual community's Facebook group, where you can request to join. Once you're approved, you can start gifting or requesting items within your neighborhood.

Take advantage of your hometown's Buy Nothing group to help you declutter before a move, offer up unwanted items that others might need, or furnish your space on a budget. You might even get to know some of your neighbors along the way!

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