An idea that came to life in the summer of 2011 in Berlin called the Givebox is now springing up in other cities and countries. The Givebox is much like a large, furnished closet: anyone can fill the space with unwanted items and anyone interested in those items can take something they like. Lovingly decorated in striped wallpaper, with shelves and a rail for clothes, it pays homage to the broken windows theory (i.e., maintained environments are less subject to vandalism) with spaces that are charmingly organized and graffiti-free.
The Givebox cuts out the middleman, hassle and arrangement requirements intrinsic to the better-known “freecycling.” The anonymity of the Givebox also supports the notion that it doesn’t matter who we are giving to as long as there is someone who is in need of goods that we no longer use.
The founders, who like to be known only as Lena and Andreas, let the Givebox stand on its own and shy away from the limelight in the hope that Giveboxes become adopted and cared for by their given communities. They simply want to encourage the idea of sustainability and anonymous care for your community. A dedicated Facebook page lets people follow the Givebox’s progress into Vienna, Hamburg, Dusseldorf and Copenhagen. Those who want to start their own Givebox are provided with construction plans and their own Facebook page to garner more interest.