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About the PDX Free Store

We've been holding regular free stores since December 2012; about 300 people come to each free store. We have no formal organization, and we are not affiliated with any group. We are committed to two principles: 1) There is plenty of clothing and other things to go around, and so there's no need to charge money for them, work for them, or limit how much anyone can take; 2) We do not coerce or pressure anyone into working for the free store. We love the free store, we love giving people things, and we love working to make it happen, but we only do what we want to do. If the free store gives away less stuff, or is messier, because you rested or worked for another cause, that's okay.

left arrowwood block collages laid out on a table: making art to give away at the free storeright arrow

Nine free store principles:

What I'm working towards when I arrange a free store is to help people understand that there's plenty of good stuff in the world to go around, and we don't need to hoard it or fight over it or work for it.
This idea leads me to several other ideas:
1) I like to give things that are nice, that people can be happy to have, that I would give as a gift. Nice jackets, pretty dresses, cute shoes, stuffed animals, good books, beautiful art, good CDs, microwaves, televisions, x-boxes, rollerblades, skis, warm blankets and coats, etc.
2) I'd rather throw away stuff I wouldn't want myself: ripped jeans, stained t-shirts, toy cars with the wheels off, scratched CDs.
3) I'm happy when people take things, and take as much as they want, whether they really need them or not.
4) I keep my free store work fun. If I'm too tired to go pick stuff up, I'll stay home. If I'm tired of sorting clothes, it's okay if they're not sorted. This isn't a job.
5) Maybe nobody will come to the free store. That's okay. A lot of people will have gotten rid of stuff they don't want, and the ARC can always use the stuff if we can't.
6) I think free store stuff should be free. Maybe someone will give us a van! I don't want to buy or rent anything.
7) I'm here to help people get rid of stuff they're happy to be rid of; if you still want stuff, keep it!
8) You're free to do what you want, no matter how much of a crisis it seems like. Do what you want to do. Stop when you want to stop.
9) I'm just the person who called someone and talked them into letting me reserve a room. You can reserve rooms too.