Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Making a Free Store

One of the things we did this year is to create a "Free Store." It's just what the name implies - a store of free stuff. Students bring in unwanted stuff, and other students take it. It's just like the "Have a penny...." jars.

This is what our "store" looks like more or less (avert your eyes to the flash mark shining at us - I'm new with the digital camera). It started as about half a table full and has grown to include a rack to hang shirts and dresses.

It took me over a year to agree to this after a student suggested it. I pictured either nothing coming in, or everything being vandalized or tossed about creating a huge mess to supervise and clean up every day. I couldn't have been more wrong. I did nothing more than to set up the place in a well-travelled hallway. People bring stuff and set it up themselves, then it mostly disappears. A few sad items that have been on display for more than long enough get tossed in a Salvation Army bag in my office. I'll donate that at the end of the year.

The added bonus of the store is that students who don't have much can take stuff, and it's not charity. Everybody's taking stuff, so they're just like everybody else. And it's not just clothes - there's lunch boxes and water bottles, and someone brought an old stereo in even. Really, you might get a few bucks for it on Kijiji, but if it's not worth the hassle, it's nice to know someone can get use of your junk.

ETA - Over a year later, I keep trying to take a picture of how much stuff we have brought in regularly, but it's all gone by the time I have a camera in hand!

No comments: