This Feel-Good Facebook Group Will Solve All of Your Decluttering Problems

updated Nov 9, 2020
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Credit: Sylvie Li

As anyone who’s done it is well aware, deciding what to get rid of and what to keep when decluttering might be the most emotionally taxing part of the decluttering process, but it isn’t the only part of the endeavor. Once you’re done deciding what sparks joy and what’s useful or beautiful, you still have to deal with the actual stuff you’ve decided to get rid of.

If you’ve used the three-box method, in which you label each of three boxes “donate,” “keep,” and “toss,” or something similar, your items are sorted for you. “Keep” you put away, “toss” can go straight to the garbage or recycling, but “donate” tends to linger. Things you’ve designated as donations are basically items that are no longer useful or beautiful to you, but could very well work for other people.

Some items you may decide to spend a bit of time on to sell and others can be placed directly in the trunk of your car for drop-off at a donation center. But there’s one more way: Buy Nothing Facebook groups.

These hyper-localized groups, which make it easy to offload unwanted items to others in your neighborhood, were started by two friends in Washington state in 2013 and quickly grew into a worldwide social movement. The group is dedicated to keeping unwanted goods out of landfills and fostering the spirit of helping one another.

Joining your local Buy Nothing group and offering up your unwanted items is mutually beneficial to both you and any potential recipient, as you’re not only decluttering, but also “gifting” something useful to someone else.

Another big benefit? You don’t have to deal with hauling away your own stuff. Simply coordinate an easy porch pickup with your neighbor, and they’ll willingly come take everything from mattresses and desks to excess beauty products and kids’ toys off of your hands.

Through their own experiences, our editors have been on both the giving and receiving ends of the Buy Nothing Project. “My local Buy Nothing group is extremely active,” says Brigitt Earley, an Apartment Therapy contributor. “I give away a lot—everything from beauty products I don’t need or want to furniture and lamps we no longer have a place for—but I’ve also been the lucky recipient of some very nice gifts—like boxes of baby clothes and even a double stroller!”

You’d be so surprised what some people are willing to give away—and even more surprised what some people want from others. “For example, one woman had a whole box of takeout sauces and multiple people put their hand up,” says Earley. “I’ve also seen some really generous offers to help… like in the middle of the hand sanitizer shortage at the beginning of the pandemic, there were so many community members willing to split up their small stashes to people who didn’t have any.”

The community aspect is very real, too, as one of the major tenets is fostering relationships and togetherness. “I’ve seen many friendships bud through the communication between group members,” says Earley. “It’s a very nice community that goes beyond way beyond ‘stuff.'”

To find your own local Buy Nothing group, search using this page or you can start your own.