For me, the most difficult task when faced with a move or tackling a spring cleaning is deciding what to get rid of — I hate throwing perfectly good items in the trash. But let's face it, during those hectic days, who can find the extra time for a yard sale? And while other avenues like Craigslist or Freecycle have come in handy to unload an item or two, they can prove to be just as time consuming. That's where Baltimore's Free Store comes into play.
The Free Store's mission is simple; they collect unwanted goods and redistribute them to people that want them. By doing this small act, they hope to empower individuals to help create sustainable and cooperative communities, while also keeping waste from landfills. Unlike Goodwill or the Salvation Army that sell their donations (which means if they don't sell, your donated items often still end up in the trash), the Free Store is not a business that relies on making a profit to survive. Instead, they focus their energy on gathering donations and then holding free markets around the city. While they do tend to target low-income neighborhoods to distribute the goods to, anyone is welcome to shop at the Free Markets. Currently they operate from a warehouse, but are in the process of finding a permanent storefront to move into.
So go ahead, collect your clutter and downsize; the Free Store is there to help you do so responsibly. For directions to their warehouse, or to find donation days or free market events, click here.
If any readers know of similar organizations in their city, feel free to share them in the comments section.
(Images: Kimberly Watson)