Everyone thinks about gift giving around holiday time, but did you know that the spirit of gifting is alive and well in our community all year long?
The benefits of using gifting sites and apps to give items away are many: Givers get rid of things they don’t need; recipients get things they want or need. And it’s sustainable, too. Many, many items are kept out of landfills and given a new life.
In addition to the practical benefits, giving and receiving gifts makes you happier, and is said to build community and social bonds. Gifting sites are local to our city and even to our neighborhoods, so you are building relationships with your neighbors.
Why do people gift? Your motivation doesn’t have to be altruistic, but you’ll still feel good about giving stuff away. Maybe you just want to clear out your attic. Or maybe you want to give to people you know need things, like school supplies to teachers so they don’t have to spend their own money on classroom supplies. Or maybe you want to keep stuff out of the landfill, or just make sure useful items get a second chance.
Why do people take items being given away? Gifting sites and apps are a great resource for people who can’t afford to buy things, but that’s only one reason to use them. You might find an out-of-stock part to keep your old vacuum cleaner going (and keep that out of the landfill too), or books to stock your Little Free Library, or plants freshly dug out of someone’s garden. Or you want to live a sustainable lifestyle and buy less.
What condition should items be in? Any condition. You never know whether your stuff is going to someone who wants to use it as-is, or someone who likes to fix things, or someone who will take it apart and reinvent it. Just be sure to describe the condition accurately in your post.
Is it safe? You will be safe if you follow safe practices. You can request (or offer) no-contact pickup, where the item is left out and the recipient just comes and takes it. If you’re not comfortable sharing your home address or going to someone’s home, ask to meet in a public place, like the library parking lot or a park. Just like with anything else online, be wary of scams. Don’t pay for something that’s supposed to be free; don’t give your personal information to anyone except the one person you’re arranging your pickup with.
Is anything off limits? Each site or app has its own rules and guidelines, which you agree to when you sign up. You can check with the group moderator if you have questions. Freecycle puts it this way: everything must be free, legal, and family friendly.
Ready to give it a try? Sites and apps for the Saratoga Springs area:
Buy Nothing Saratoga County is a moderated Facebook group and mobile app where everything is given away for free. You provide information about where you live when you join. Members post items to give away and other members reply to the post. Pickup arrangements are made by private message. Their motto: Buy nothing. Share everything.
Freecycle.org is a website with moderated town groups. You sign up for a Freecycle account, then join one or more towns, where members post items to give away for free. Messaging between members is completely private. Saratoga Springs: https://www.freecycle.org/town/SaratogaSpringsNY; Clifton Park: https://www.freecycle.org/town/CliftonParkNY; Schenectady: https://www.freecycle.org/town/SchenectadyNY; Glens Falls: https://www.freecycle.org/town/GlensFallsNY
Not exclusively a gifting site, Nextdoor is a moderated social media platform and mobile app where you join a local group and share posts of all kinds, including local information, advice, services, and items to sell or give away for free. Pickup arrangements are be made by private message.