Sharing stuff and working together

On the themes of interconnectedness and sustainability, I’m going to write a series of posts about how to simplify your lifestyle, and reach out to your neighbours and local community.

Maybe you want to learn a new skill, or your drill has broken and you don’t want to splash out on a new one, or you have a drill gathering dust in the cupboard. Or you want to do something new, but it’s hard work to make things happen by yourself, and you would like the assurance that others share your vision or have the skills and willingness to help.

More and more websites are being developed that are enabling people to connect with each other. And the best are bringing people together in real life too.

“I’ve got all this stuff I want to get rid of, but I don’t want it just to go into landfill”

The first website I want to mention is Freecycle, which many people already know about, but it’s nearly the weekend and it’s time for a bit of a spring clean and a clear-out. Freecycle groups match people who have things they want to get rid of with people who can use them. You can either offer something, or post a ‘wanted’ message. They say: “Our goal is to keep usable items out of landfills… Another benefit of using Freecycle is that it encourages us to get rid of junk that we no longer need and promote community involvement in the process.”

I’m turning my back garden over to veg, but it would have been sad to compost some of the healthy ornamental plants. So I offered them on Freecycle. Over the next few days, several people got in contact, and did the work digging the plants out for me!

Freecycle groups in the South West

There are websites which offer online swapping, such as Swapshop or a section of Gumtree. But there are also lots of swapshops happening in real life. There’s often no actual swapping involved. Just bring along stuff you don’t want and/or take away someone else’s stuff you do.