Established 1874.

The Oberlin Review

Established 1874.

The Oberlin Review

Established 1874.

The Oberlin Review

Free Store’s Bins Day Provided Extra Secondhand Clothes

Layla Wallerstein
Students, parents, and community members browse through bins in the Free Store.

This past Sunday at 2 p.m., students, parents, and community members headed to Asia House’s basement for the Free Store’s Bins Day. The event took place in a small room lined with overflowing red bins. Within minutes, the room was filled with people. 

The Free Store at Oberlin offers goods including clothes, kitchenware, and school supplies at no cost. It is open to both students and community members. Founded in 2007, it operates in the basement of Asia House and is run by the Resource Conservation Team, a student group focused on decreasing Oberlin’s ecological footprint through various initiatives.

“The mission of the Free Store is promoting a circular economy,” College fourth-year and RCT member Lanie Cheatham said. “It’s a nice way to support the community and serve as a resource for people who might not be able to buy clothes or kitchen supplies, or whatever else we have with the Free Store, and also taking things that would be discarded and providing them a new home.”

Although predominantly frequented by students, the Free Store is open to community members as well. However, because the building requires tap-in access, those without an Oberlin ID have to call to be let in. According to Cheatham, the RCT is trying to address this barrier by seeking to move the Free Store to a more accessible location.

While the Free Store is a popular place to get free things, it is also an ideal place to drop off unwanted ones. Bins Day was prompted by an overabundance of clothes and other items.

“We had so many extra clothes from Big Swap last year, we were just actually swamped with clothes,” Double-degree second-year and RCT member Reyah Doshi said. “Our storage room [didn’t have] a clear pathway that we could walk through, so we had to organize the clothes and get rid of them the quickest way we could.” 

Bins Day drew a large crowd. Although there was no record of how many people attended, the previously overflowing bins were half empty by the end of the event.

College second-year Reed Wang arrived early with friends to find an already packed room.

“There were a lot of really cool finds,” Wang said. “I got some new sweaters and shirts that I love a lot, but it was hard to navigate around all the people and dig through the bins.” 

College third-year Sola Stacey, who also went to Bins Day, agreed. 

“This event was an awesome opportunity to go through items that other people aren’t loving anymore, take them home and try them on, and either keep them or bring them back without having to spend a ton of money or effort on returns,” Stacey said. “The event itself was hectic, with a ton of people crowded into a small, hot room, but after I got in the groove of it, I didn’t mind as much.”

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