Monday, 14 January 2013

Getting stuff for free

This weekend we had the pleasure of attending a Stuff for Free event in West London, run by Healthy Planet.  The purpose of the events being to reduce the amount of stuff going to landfill by offering it up for free to whoever wants it.

Healthy Planet secured use of an empty warehouse (as they are a charity this reduces the rates the landlord pays to the council; win-win) and then they invited people to come and donate anything they no longer used.  I took a few of our unwanted bits from the "e-bay box" which we never seem to get round to putting on e-bay and selling.   A few days later anyone could come and take anything they liked, for free, with no restrictions, rules or limits.  What an amazing idea, eh?

So, H and I got up early on Sunday and joined the little queue outside the warehouse, excitedly anticipating what we might find.  I worried that when the doors opened, we would be part of a stampede and compulsively filling our bags with stuff and fighting with other people for the best things.  But interestingly, this didn't happen.  As I walked around, instead of feeling grasping, I carefully considered whether I really needed/wanted the item or whether someone else there might want it more than me, and I think to a certain extent, other people were doing this too.    

There was a large selection of baby items and toys, some homewares, lots of furniture, 3 rails of clothes, lots and lots of books and a selection of electrical goods.

I spotted a couple of vintage furniture pieces- an antique mirror from a 40s dressing table, a 60s coffee table and an old suitcase.  All three would have interested me if I saw them in a bootsale for £1 each, but for some reason, the spirit of this event made me feel like I didn't really need them in my life enough to deprive someone else of them.  Just taking them for the sake of it felt wrong.  

We weren't complete virtuous though- these are the things we did take:   

Lovely books- 
Delia's Complete Cookery Course, 
Jamie at Home, 
The Complete Guide to Home Remedies and 
The Complete Book of Creative Needlecrafts

Some energy saving light bulbs, 
Huge unused Tresemme shampoo and conditioner
Pink gap t-shirt (for H who is going to spray-paint and stencil something cool onto it) 

So, a nice little collection of bits and a very interesting, inspiring morning.  I would definitely go again and donate more to this event; it is a very good idea.  I guess, it could be argued that charity shops could have benefitted from the revenue gained from the items people were taking for nothing, but Healthy Planet itself is a charity and was able to fulfil it's mission to reduce waste without needing money to change hands, which feels great.  I am more warm to them as a charity and their cause now, as a result.  I guess it doesn't have to always be about the money, eh?

Keep warm Dear Reader,

Love Alice x


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