I thought I would share a little something about a group I became a part of about 6 months ago. It's a facebook group called 'Stuff sharers - Bendigo' which is exactly as the name suggests, a group of people who give away, loan and share 'stuff'. It's a little bit different from a site like freecycle or buy/swap/sell, as I'll discuss below.
It began as a group of friends, expanded to friends of friends and has now grown to have around 700 members. Members are free to ask for items, or to post up items they are willing to give away. First to comment with a 'yes please' or similar, gets the item. There is no 'NIL' or next in line, but if the item doesn't suit, whoever received it can re share. Stories about the item being given away are encouraged, and photos of the recipient enjoying the item, or comments of thanks are sometimes posted on the group page.
So what is shared? During my time as a stuff sharer I have seen several families with urgent needs inundated with offers of household items and clothing, pets re-homed, chicken sheds built from scraps, ski gear lent out, 80's and Harry Potter party costumes gathered, surplus fruit, concert tickets, and advice shared. Recently a car was even borrowed for a weekend. Sharers seem more willing to let go of items of sentimental value knowing that they will be enjoyed by someone else, even if they are not personally known to them. Many items that would have otherwise continued to languish in sheds gathering dust have been given a new lease on life for this reason.
It has evolved into a community of like-minded and caring individuals, who largely do not know one another, but are willing to share rather than throw away or buy new. Sometimes friendships can form over shares, such as a much coveted haul of fabric, but sharers largely move about unnoticed, collecting items from pick up locations.
Here are a few photos of my recent stuff sharer experiences.
The boys in their 'new' sleeping bags. I posted this as an appreciation photo.
Some wool for my granny squares.
And cute note that came with it.
A vintage suitcase the Mr D now uses on nights away. Well it used to belong to a Nun!
Miss J Parted with her beloved pink wardrobe (photo cannot be found now), in favour of a dusty (but more grown up) old desk as featured in this post here, where I repainted it and added the cotton reel handles. We've also shared our toys, baby items, and clothing, and have loved the joy others have taken in recieving it.
Just this week this pile of magazines, much loved and read by me, destined for the recycle bin, were eagerly recieved by a stuff sharer, who vowed to reshare them after reading.
Perhaps you have a group of friends with stuff to share. Would you consider starting your own stuff sharer community? Or are you in Bendigo and feel this community could be for you? Come and find us on facebook.