What started in Berlin as a neat idea has now spread to cities across Europe, from Vienna to Hamburg to Copenhagen: It’s the Givebox, a closet-like installation where anybody can drop off things that he or she doesn’t use, but still make for an unexpected gift to someone else in the community. Based on the idea that “sharing is caring” a guest book keeps track of all the thank you notes and serves as a testimony to the happiness spread by surprise gifts.
Only two rules have been put in place to sustain a constant flow of new items. Firstly, everybody can give or take. Reselling the items from the Givebox on platforms like Ebay is discouraged since that defeats the purpose behind the concept. Secondly, things which stay in the Givebox for over two weeks should be taken back by the original owner due to space limitations.
Initiated by two young Berliners who are only known by their first names, Andreas and Lena, the simple concept of giving presents and in return receiving them seems to work in spite of the anonymity. As the project expands, it also becomes increasingly clear that it’s not just about giving and receiving gifts. Rather, it’s about bringing the community closer together and fostering the values of responsibility, respect and good communication around a shared space, the Givebox.
Be Inspired And…
- Tell others about the Givebox. Share this article via facebook or twitter, or bring it up in a conversation.
- Consider building your own in your community. To get in touch, like their facebook page and leave a wall post indicating your interest.
- Make an effort to keep your neighborhood a clean and friendly environment.