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Reimagining Your Space: How to get & give reusable items during COVID

Living rooms are becoming boardrooms, closets are now offices, and the dining table is pulling double duty for homeschooling. As you look to rearrange your space for the new reality of work and school from home, are you looking around your place and thinking, “I’ve got to get rid of this stuff!”?   At the same time, are you looking for a bigger kitchen table? We’ve got ways for you to do both; locally and for free.   

That’s right, free!  The system of giving and receiving everything from kitchen tables, to kid art supplies, to extra fence posts, sometimes called the “Gift Economy”, is thriving.  The need to connect with community, travel less, save money, and make the most of what we have has created more ways to share stuff during the time of COVID.   

With online tools, there are many resources for getting reusable items to those in need.

The Virtual Free Pile – Ways to Share Online 

The pile of stuff on the corner with the “FREE” sign has gotten an upgrade thanks to the internet.  There are a lot of online tools to help you get rid or find new stuff you’re looking for from the comfort of your couch. 

  • Buy Nothing Project groups on Facebook 
    These neighborhood-based groups are run by volunteers in your area.  They are kept small, to encourage sharing hyper locally.   
  • Good old trusty Craigslist 
    This tried and true site offers a FREE section where you can list items you’re giving away. 
  • Freecycle
    City-based groups on this site are run by volunteers to help people give and receive stuff for free. 
  • Third party apps like Offer Up and LetGo
    These sites and many others allow you to list items for free.  
  • Post on Your Social Media Platforms 
    Don’t underestimate the power of posting what you’re gifting or looking for on your social feeds.  You’d be amazed what you’ll find out there! 
  • Call (email or text) Friends and Neighbors 
    Take a pic of your stuff and send it to friends to see if they’re interested.  

Giving for the Greater Good 

  • Gift to Local Community Organizations
    Many community organizations are taking donations of reusable goods to support folks during these hard times.  Make sure to check what they are accepting, their hours, and COVID drop off procedures.  Big Brothers Big Sisters of Puget Sound,  and Seattle Goodwill  are a few places taking donations now. 

Remember to give only things that are in good usable condition (or able to be fixed – make sure you mention this), maintain physical distancing when picking up, and clean items thoroughly to keep everyone safe.  To conduct a contactless exchange, you can put items outside your front door just before the person is scheduled to pick them up.  

We’re all in this together. When you borrow, shop, or give in your community, it is even clearer that we’re all connected and often have what we need to support each other.  It makes life feel a little less distant, your living room less crowded, and upgrades your home office from the floor of your closet.