Give-away shop

Give away shop in Utrecht, 2004. PIcture taken by Bikepunk

Are you looking for clothes, books, toys, pans or just something new to use? You could give it a try at a give-away shop, sometimes also simply called free shop. That's not a store in the traditional meaning, but a place to find free stuff.

All second hand stuff you can find there, clothing, books, toys, a computer or a ladle, it's all for free! There are quite some useful things at times, give-away shops aspire to be an alternative to the throw-away economy.

In the Netherlands you can find a long overview of give-away shops at weggeefwinkels.nl.

There's also a very incomplete list at wiki.gifteconomy.org.

Tips

These freeshops are run by volunteers. Don't expect professional service. Be grateful they're doing this.

Don't be shy but don't take stuff you are not going to use.

Give-away shops can be a great place to find gifts for anniversaries and such. Presents are often discarded by the receiver, but if the present was already discarded before there is no real extra pollution in this case.

Starting your own give-away shop

It's easier than you think. You mainly need a space to put stuff and a somewhat regular presence.

  • It's useful to have regular hours but if it's a location where people are generally hanging out anyway, you can be open anytime someone you know and trust is around.
  • Once your store is full you have to put a limit on what you're accepting.
  • Only good books are taken. Put books that have been around for a long time with the paper trash.
  • Advertise your give-away shop in local and global places. Check the links on this page. Also feel free to let us know about it and we'll mention it on Moneyless.org.
  • Have some used plastic bags around for people who want to take more than they can carry in their hands.

If you don't have a lot of space available you could also set up a smaller scale gift box. This is great if you're involved in hospitality exchange networks such as BeWelcome.

Really really free markets

Temporary free markets are called Really really free markets. These are usually one evening or afternoon in a public space.