This weekend, neighbors around Logan Square will fill their stoops, porches and front yards with free stuff. I repeat: free stuff.
“It’s really like a community garage sale day where anyone can put out stuff in their front yard or in their alley and everything’s free,” she said. The admins of the Buy Nothing Logan Square group want “to build community ties, especially since our group has around 6,000 members. We’re hoping that people will get out and meet each other and get to know their neighbors a little bit more,” she said.
Strengthening a community’s fabric is a core principle of Buy Nothing, a project started by two friends in 2013. Now, people participate in Buy Nothing groups across the globe. The project is not a charity and is rooted in the principle of abundance. Groups don’t differentiate between wants and needs.
“The whole point of Buy Nothing is that they want to establish a gift economy, which I think is really important because it’s so easy to just tie a monetary value to everything,” Omiecinski said.
Buy Nothing In Logan Square
In her year and a half as an admin with Buy Nothing Logan Square, Omiecinski said she has especially loved seeing items that she gifted to others get relisted. “There was a happy birthday banner or balloon set that someone gave me for my son’s birthday, and I’ve seen that thing listed six or seven times,” she said. “It makes me so happy … I love seeing those things circulated.”
The Logan Square Buy Nothing page was created in 2015. Now, members generate thousands of posts each month offering and searching for items.
“We saw a huge amount of growth in our group during the pandemic,” Omiecinski said. Because of this, long-time admin Parveen Rajper reached out in search of new admins. Now, Rajper, Omiecinski and Danielle Duzenman work together to manage the group.
Members of the Logan Square group exchange a wide range of stuff: Basic necessities. Hobby and craft supplies. Ingredients for the widespread return to bread baking since the pandemic started. Items that can be diverted from the landfill (alley snapshots are commonplace in the group).
Omiecinski likes to use the group for problem-solving, she said. “It’s nice to know that I can try things out and that people have stuff that I can problem-solve with, instead of just buying something that I may use once and then not get anymore use out of.”
Buy Nothing In Chicago
There are about a dozen Buy Nothing groups in Chicago, and even more in the surrounding areas. It’s common for these groups to host community days in the spring and fall. At these events, neighbors gather in a parking lot, park, church or other community site, with their free stuff in tow.
However, the pandemic currently poses health and safety concerns for those types of events. Plus, Omiecinski explained, many Buy Nothing Logan Square members don’t have cars, and the page covers a large geographic area. All these factors combined to make it hard to navigate the logistics of a Logan Square community day.
A more spread-out “free giveaway day” was a solution Omiecinski spotted in a nearby Buy Nothing group. Such an event would allow neighbors to exchange free stuff without the hassle of lugging their items to one central location and without the safety concerns of a mass gathering.
Buy Nothing Logan Square’s Free Giveaway Day will happen from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. this Saturday (Oct. 9) and Sunday (Oct. 10). Currently, about 20 neighbors are signed up. Omiecinski created an interactive Google map where neighbors can view nearby giveaway locations and the types of items offered at those sites.
If you’d like to add your own free stuff to the festivities, there is still time! You can contact Omiecinski through Facebook to have your own location added to the event map. Alternatively, you can just set your stuff up and let neighbors know about it by posting on Logan Square’s Buy Nothing page.
Whether or not you have stuff to give away, the event will be a great way to meet a neighbor or two.
Featured image: Artificial Photography