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Bainbridge founders of 'Buy Nothing' encourage giving during pandemic

A new book by two Bainbridge authors offers a timely guide to shopping less and sharing more.

BAINBRIDGE ISLAND, Wash. — These days many of us are going to the store less often, and buying less stuff.  

Two women on Bainbridge Island have been doing this for years, and they have over one-million followers in 30 different countries doing the same through 'Buy Nothing' groups.

Liesl Clark and Rebecca Rockefeller started the Buy Nothing Project in 2013. Now they've written a new book: The Buy Nothing, Get Everything Plan: Discover the Joy of Spending Less, Sharing More, and Living Generously.

The two women had no idea that the COVID 19 pandemic and stay-at-home orders would coincide with the book's release. Suddenly, there’s a whole new reason to avoid shopping.

"Literally to go to a store, and buy things, it’s so challenging for all of us, and in fact, it can put you in harm’s way,” said Clark.

RELATED: Why you should consider not wearing gloves to the grocery store

The timing is perfect for a guide to making do with less, shopping your cupboards, repairing items and sharing more. Who hasn't been given a loaf of homemade bread in the last month?

"So we're finding that as people are reading the book now, in the middle of the pandemic, they're finding that it is kind of easier to connect with neighbors instead and find other ways of addressing certain wants or needs,” said Clark.

"What we're talking about are not new ideas, and they really do work. Especially during times like this,” Rockefeller added.

Starting a Buy Nothing group has always been an online process, but the giving and sharing part of this equation is trickier now.

"You're right, the situation that we're in right now is impacting the mechanics of how we can share with each other safely. But there are still so many things we can do to help take care of each other and to be taken care of,” said Rockefeller.

RELATED: Seattle resident starts 'Little Free Pantry' to help neighbors in need

For example – she has been collecting fabric from neighbors, making masks, then giving them away. She shares how to do it online

Rockefeller added that by doing porch pickups and drop offs, she’s been able to do it with no physical contact with other people. But plenty of emotional contact is generated with this type of getting – and gifting.

The two authors hope this kind of currency continues to be passed around – long after the pandemic is behind us.

"There's so much more that we can gain by sharing what we already have,” said Clark.

And in that spirit, they both encourage readers to reserve "The Buy Nothing, Get Everything Plan" at their local library if they want to jump right into the movement and read the book for free.

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