There’s a great new store that recently opened in our area. When you come to shop here, however, you can leave your wallet at home. It’s called the Free Store, and everything in it is up for grabs, no cash or credit needed!
When you enter the Free Store, it basically looks like a thrift shop. It’s just one room with different sections for items like toys, sporting equipment, housewares, books, electronics, etc. There’s an “employee” or two going around and straightening things up (they’re actually volunteers). The shelves are stocked with donated items, and anyone can bring in things that they no longer want or need and put them on the shelves. “Shoppers” are welcome to take up to 10 items per week, on the unspoken promise that they won’t take items for the purpose of reselling them, but rather to actually use them.
We took our first trip to the Free Store this week, and I came home with a few goodies. I got a little planter that will be perfect for a succulent, a decorative glass jar, a pretty pineapple sun catcher that I gave to my sister, and a little shelf. I absolutely love thrift shopping, not only because I like a bargain, but I also love the fact that I am able to reuse and repurpose something old and give it a home again.
Here’s the best part, though. I brought my daughter along, and told her that she could pick out a few things. She was immediately drawn to a Barbie doll, and I found her a Wizard of Oz book (we’re big into Dorothy and tornadoes at the moment). She was absolutely thrilled with these 2 items. As we walked out of the store, she stopped us- “Wait! Don’t they have to beep our stuff?” She was amazed that we could simply take these things home from this special store without exchanging any money for them.
The Free Store really represents community at it’s best. People within the community are encouraged to bring their unwanted items in, as well as to take those unwanted items home if they need or want them. It’s like Craigslist or Freecycle without the hassle. The store stays open through monetary donations and the work of volunteers. Their philosophy is that we don’t have to be dependent on money for everything if we come together, collaborate, and share. Nobody is here to make a profit, nobody has to spend money, and perfectly good items can find a new home, rather than ending up in a landfill. I can’t wait to go “shopping” again next week!
What do you think about the Free Store? Would you “shop” there if you had one in your community?