Get Free Stuff At Buy Nothing Oahu 2.0 Crap In The Back Event

Two women setting up their items at an event.

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My cousin invited me to attend a Crap In The Back market in Pearl City and since I’ve never gone to one before, I said “let’s go!”. The idea is simple. You bring stuff you don’t need, put it out on display, and when Janey (the organizer for this particular event) bellows out to start, you’re free to grab and take home anyone else’s things that they’ve brought out.

Basically, someone else’s crap is another one’s treasure!

Aloha with love,

About Buy Nothing Oahu 2.0 Group

To join the Buy Nothing Oahu 2.0 Group: here’s the link. Note: this in-person event was held by the 2.0 group.

There’s also another Buy Nothing Oahu Group (no 2.0), which seems to have had some drama, thus sprouting the 2.0 version. This group also seems to be linked to a nationwide buy nothing project: here’s the link

From what I can tell, both groups are very active and “buy nothing” activities happen in the group all the time. You can post or browse items and comment when something interests you and set up a meeting date that fits the both of you. Now that I know these groups exist, I’m definitely going to check in every so often and keep an eye out for useful household items.

IMPORTANT: Like most FB groups, follow the rules and respect everyone. Janey Ooga is the organizer and she’s done a great job of making sure everyone is following the rules. Give her a big mahalo!

Before 10 AM

We both arrived at the Neal S. Blaisdell Beach Park at 9:30 AM, spoke with one of the regulars who told us that they take up the two middle parking rows (the organizer likes to leave the row closest to the park for the park visitors), and finished setting up by 9:45 AM.

My cousin had been preparing for this event since the day before and she brought most of the items. Things like old CDs, kitchenware, wallets, purses, picture frames, makeup bags, skincare items, and random knick-knacks that have been sitting in her house for years took up most of the space.

Since she told me about the Crap in the Back event the night before (and because I was lazy), I brought only a bow and arrow set that I had salvaged from my great grandparents’ house and 3 old cameras that had been gathering dust in my bedroom.

Household items on the ground.
5 minutes before start time, we had everything out on display.

My cousin brought a thin plastic sheet to put everything on, which was perfect for us and served its purpose. Others brought tables, tarps, or left the items in the back of their car. I did see that some of the tables had large signs that said “Please Do Not Take Table” so keep that in mind if you decide to leave your car unattended and have a look around. Everything is up for grabs and you’ll be surprised at how fast some of the items disappear.

Busy parking lot setting up for a market.
After we were done setting up, but before 10 AM, we walked around to see what was available. Most people were still setting up.

At 10 AM, the free for all begins!

From 9:45 AM, my cousin and I walked up and down the parking stalls to see what was on display. Things like clothes, toys, books, plants, music, and household items were common. But there were also some unique gems like fancy shoes, purses in good condition, cool collectibles, paintings, and even food like canned goods and crackers (I grabbed a box of unexpired Triscuits).

We were wondering how we’d know when we can start “shopping”, but promptly at 10 AM Janey gave an unmistakable loud and long bellow that signaled we could start picking up items. I have no idea what she said, but it was big and intimidating, which is a good thing! It made me think that no one wanted to mess with her – which is important in an event like this.

People shopping at a parking lot.
Janey the organizer is in the forefront of this photo in the blue dress. She’s the lady in charge of this event. We spoke to her a bit (she gave Daisy some extra loving) and she was really nice!

One concern I had before the event began was if there were fights over the items. Where there are free items, you’re going to have greedy fingers and people who have no qualms about grabbing rudely. According to our neighbor who was a regular and on a first-name basis with Janey the organizer, she said the occasional rudeness was to be expected. But she’s never seen a full blown flight and she mentioned that Janey is quick to shut down that kind of behavior immediately. My guess would be potential expulsion from the group and future events – but that’s just my guess.

While we were there, I didn’t really see anybody getting out of hand at any of the booths. Everyone seemed to be happy hunting for neat finds and a lot of people will stay at their booths for the first minute or so to monitor any bad behavior until the “good” goods are taken.

A small crowd in the parking lot.
The pre-10 AM crowd at our parking stall was one of the bigger ones.

In fact, right at 10 AM, our parking stall had one of the bigger crowds (my cousin’s skincare and makeup bags were a big crowd pleaser) – and I will say that two of the ladies there got a little greedy and grabbed as many as they could. But everyone else was nice enough and well behaved. I didn’t see any rude behavior at any of the other booths probably because everyone else had more “normal” items. If you bring (or see) high-end items, expect people to get a little aggressive.

The joy of this event though is not so much finding expensive items, but rather finding everyday items that you need or want for free. I found some excellent cleaning supplies, a new whisk (my old one was old and bent), a box of unexpired Triscuits (one of my favorites), and a pack of coffee filters – all generally inexpensive but normal everyday items that I use. I considered it a win!

One hour later

This event lasted from 10 AM to 11 AM and we returned to our parking stall at around 10:45 AM to find that most everything was gone, YAY! We had a few empty boxes, CD cases, wires, rollerblading pads, glass bottles, poker chips, a picture frame, and some small random items left behind (my bow and arrow set and cameras were gone, too!). I’d say about 90% was gone and it made us feel good that these items went to someone who could breathe new life into them. It was a great experience and now my cousin and I are planning to clean out hour homes for the next event!

Some items scattered on the ground.
We returned to our parking stall at around 10:45 AM and most things were gone.

What did other people have?

Some things that I saw on display were:

  • A box fan, radio, and pet ramp grabbed my attention and were taken quickly within 1 or 2 minutes.
  • There were plenty of clothes of all sizes available. Many parents were searching through clothes for their kids.
  • Lots of books and toys for kids.
  • One stall had several sexy pumps. I passed by several times but I’ve got size ten feet and had to pass.
  • Small plants seem to be very popular.

There were a lot of odds-and-ends type of items. Next time I’m going to bring my Mom because she loves free things and I think she’d have fun checking out each of the stalls to see what she could use.

Who should go to Crap in the Back events?

  • You’re cleaning out your room, house, or closet and have a bunch of “Goodwill” items that you’d like to “donate”.
  • People who are on a tight budget and need some everyday items.
  • Anyone looking for a budget-friendly activity. This is a fun and free activity to bring your kids to – they can choose an item for free and help you “shop”.
  • People who have recently moved and need some household items for free.
  • Note: I enjoyed bringing my dog, Daisy. She enjoyed sniffing around and while she’s already well-socialized and well-behaved, it was a great exercise for her as lots of people were walking around.
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7 thoughts on “Get Free Stuff At Buy Nothing Oahu 2.0 Crap In The Back Event

  1. Dennis Olkowski says:

    I happened to come across the recent “Buy Nothing” event in Kailua and was fascinated by the items that people brought and how friendly nearly everyone seemed to be. A lot of curious items and many disappeared very quickly. I came across two small, metal airplanes that I passed on to my grandson, along with three backpacks and a box of unopened #2 pencils that I’m passing on to the Ready-to-Read Program operated by Helping Hands Hawaii for kids whose parents may not be able to afford school supplies. Hope to learn about and attend additional events down the road. Everyone seemed to have a fun time.

    • Amy Fujimoto says:

      Aloha Dennis,
      Isn’t it a neat little event? I’d love to go to the different ones around the island to see if the “stuff” changes neighborhood to neighborhood. I went to the Pearl City one a few times in a row and I definitely recall seeing some of the items exchanging owners, lol. But it’s a cool thing to do because you’re sure to discover something you can use.
      Aloha with love,

  2. Courtney T. says:

    Amy! I was a temp at a company you worked at years ago! Omg! I came across your blog doing research on Buy Nothing O’ahu 2.0! I recognized your smiling face! Your website is amazing and I always knew you were destined for great things! Just wanted to say “aloha!” (^_^)

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