The glory of Buy Nothing groups, and finding the group that “fits”

I was a bit late to the game on social media, as I did not join a “Buy Nothing” group until about two years ago, when we had moved from our old unit into our new unit in the same building, and I was about halfway through my pregnancy. My friends suggested my local Buy Nothing group could be helpful for getting lightly used baby items and clothes, which would not only be good for the environment, but also my bank account given how short of a time most of these items are used for. Given that I live on the border of the Upper West Side and Hell’s Kitchen, it oddly wasn’t that straightforward which Buy Nothing group I belonged to given my street address. Every time I did a search for “Upper West Side” and looked up my street number, I couldn’t find any group. The Hell’s Kitchen group boundaries didn’t include my street. So somehow, I got accepted into the Midtown West group, which actually has a street cut-off slightly south of where I live. So in the end, I did get into a group, just not the one I really belonged to.

I didn’t really like this group very much because I realized that the types of things people were giving away didn’t really fit our needs. Plus, when I did see something that fit, I never, not even once, got lucky with the item. I gave away so, so much stuff through this group, and sometimes, I discovered via strange direct messages on Facebook that these people didn’t even NEED the items; they were just hoarding for a potential need in the future… which may never even come up. And that really bothered me. I am not an advocate of hoarding. So earlier this year, I finally decided to do a more thorough search for my actual group based on my address, and I found out why I couldn’t find it: my specific Upper West Side group does not go by “Upper West Side,” but abbreviates to “UWS.” And apparently, it’s the ONLY Upper West Side BN group that does this, so it really threw me off! But when I finally got accepted and switched groups, I never looked back. Just based on the types of things people were posting, I knew I belonged here.

In just over a month of being in this group, I’ve already gotten lucky and scored a number of useful things: board and puppet books, learning and developmental toys for Kaia, like hot wheels, trucks, a doctor kit, cones/rings, and a fun building gears play set. And though Chris thinks I’ve gone crazy, I even picked up 5 bottles of Bundaberg ginger beer that he likes through the group. And when I posted that my daughter would be starting daycare soon and we’d need an extra silicone bib for school, several generous moms replied and gave me three, two of them brand new (in retrospect, I regret giving away the four extras we were gifted that were brand new, naively thinking we didn’t have need for them, as we already had two in active rotation. I definitely won’t be that quick to give anything else away in the future that is similar!). I’ve also given away similar items in this group: a baby “aquarium” for tummy time, a duplicate baby doctor’s play set, clothes, a baby log book, and herbal tea. It’s nice to feel a semblance of community and belonging via this group.

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