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The Blue & Gray Press | December 17, 2017

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Fredericksburg Freestore Returns

By Lauren Orsini

Power Ranger shower decals, a garlic press, and a purse shaped like a bunch of bananas: these items are just a small sample of what can be picked up at the Fredericksburg Free Store, which returns to 810 Caroline St. this Saturday.
This is exactly what the Free Store’s founders had in mind, according to their mission statement.
“It’s as simple as we want to give you our things and take the serviceable possessions you no longer has use for off your hands. 
No political agenda, no strings attached, everything is absolutely free,” said co-founder Sarah Bachman.
The Free Store made its debut in Fredericksburg last September, an idea sparked by co-founders and siblings Sarah and Daniel Bachman.
“A friend of ours, Addison Herron-Wheeler of VCU, attended a free store at JMU on her way to visit my brother and I when we were staying in Staunton, VA. The three of us started planning it that night and everything worked out pretty well.
The first free store was September of last year, and I’d say it was well received. There weren’t too many people and there wasn’t too much left over when the day was done. The second one was a different story. This will be our third,” said Bachman.
However, the three don’t work alone: there are eleven different coordinators of the Free Store in Virginia at present. They come from not only UMW, but also VCU, and several local high schools like Chancellor and James Monroe.
I paid my first visit to the Free Store last September, after I saw some flyers on campus. I recognized the location, the Third Floor at 810 Caroline St., from the art shows there on First Fridays.
When I got there around 11a.m., there was already a big group of people rummaging around and dropping their own stuff off. There were community members as well as students in the mix.
I came originally to drop off bolts of fabric I would never use, but ended up picking up a pair of salt and pepper shakers shaped like fruit.
Throughout the year, when I commented on a friend’s eclectic dorm décor or Halloween costume, I head, “Oh this? I picked it up at the Free Store.”
One important thing to remember this upcoming Saturday is Free Store etiquette. As the Facebook page for the event aptly quotes Karl Marx, saying “From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.”
Be polite and don’t grab more than you need. And by all means, contribute! Join the Facebook event before Saturday, and if you write on the wall and say you’d like to bring some of your junk to the store, a coordinator will gladly pick it up for you.
Remember the rules, and you’re set to have a great time at the Free Store.