This post is sponsored by Buengo, an app to sell your items for good. All thoughts my own.

Ever since Marie Kondo’s book hit the shelves and The Minimalists Documentary graced our collective Netflix screens, the global movement for living with less has become increasingly popular. If it doesn’t bring you joy, it doesn’t stick around. If you have a suburban space that’s large (perfect to fill with things), but doesn’t actually facilitate happiness in your life, the solution is smaller space, not more stuff. Even among those who aren’t particularly bothered about sustainability, clearing out our closets is bigger than ever before. And as the movement for minimalism, decluttering, and purchasing for quality and durability has grown, so have the ways in which we can use these ideas for good.

Now don’t get me wrong, these things already are good. Moving away from consumerism and creating waste will always be great goals in my book, but new app Buengo has made it even better.

Buengo allows you to sell the things you no longer need or want through a local marketplace, and donate the proceeds to any charity or cause that you care about. Setting out to revolutionise giving, it both helps you to declutter and reduce waste, and make sure that you’re putting your money where your mouth is, all in one fell swoop. It streamlines your sustainable lifestyle, helping you easily combine consumer choice and collective action into one actionable place. Essentially, they’re a three in one app for doing good, the easy way.

So how does it work?

Very, very easily! Firstly, sellers post things they want to sell in the app. Whether it be clothes, furniture or technology, you can sell anything you want, large or small. They then select the cause they want to support – there are many to choose from – and when the item is bought the buyer pays in the app, and the proceeds are directly transferred to the chosen cause. It’s a great way to keep things out of landfill and contribute to causes (especially if you’re on a tight budget); whilst buyers know that their money is going somewhere worthwhile and that they aren’t being exploited, as the sellers aren’t making money for themselves.

The app itself is incredibly easy to use. The design is clearly tailored to be as efficient, understandable and as user friendly as possible. It took under a minute to register my details and understand how everything was laid out, meaning that I could start selling or buying, and giving to charity simultaneously, almost immediately. No hassle, no unnecessary complications. Here’s a little video to explain how it works in more detail:

If you’re looking to raise funds for a specific cause yourself, then Buengo can also help you there. It can be exhausting to constantly ask for donations, both for you and the people you’re asking, but using Buengo means you don’t have to ask for cash (although that is an option too), you can ask people to get involved by decluttering their own homes and donating the proceeds to your movement. It’s basically like holding a virtual fundraiser, where anyone can get involved from home with minimal effort. It’s an introvert’s dream, and means that your friends and family can get behind your cause even when they’re strapped for cash, while you get the funding you need. You’re even able to send updates and thank you messages to everyone who gets involved.

Buengo is open to anyone working towards positive change, so you don’t need to be a registered charity to use it. Community groups and schools are welcome too, you just have to register your organisation and they’ll help you get started. If you are a charity however, you can check out their page for charities to see how they can help you.

Why Buengo is an all round better option

You may be thinking, ‘well I could donate my items to a charity shop’ or ‘I can simply donate my money to causes I care about’, but using Buengo actually works out better for everyone involved. Here’s why:

Donating our items: I always tell people that whilst giving our items on to charity shops is good, we should try and make it our last resort after rehoming or selling them ourselves. As it stands, the supply is much higher than the demand for charity shop goods, and it’s estimated that only 10-30% of what is donated to charity is sold over the counter in the UK, USA or Canada, with the rest being shipped overseas. While there’s definitely a nuanced debate to be had over whether this is good or bad, it’s still true that our local charity shops are inundated with donations. Having had a few friends volunteer in small town charity shops and experience this (including times where the shop was given so much that they actually did put some of it in the bin), I can’t even imagine the scale of larger stores in cities. I think any model that moves us away from simply casting everything off to charity shops without a second thought is a good one, especially one which still feels as easy as donating and has the extra bonus of helping good causes. In fact Buengo has worked out as easier for me, as it also saved me the faff of lugging a bag of stuff down to the nearest charity shop, which wasn’t that close to me.

Donating our money: The idea that we can completely change the world through our personal choices alone, while nice, simply isn’t true. Our lifestyle changes are important, but the only way to see real and effective change is to combine consumer choice with collective action and policy change, in order to tackle the problems properly and holistically. And collective action looks like supporting organisations that have been doing this for longer with more resources and expertise than us. There are many ways to give to causes we care about, whether it be through time, skills or resources, but I think, if we are able to, regularly giving financially to causes we care about should become part of a sustainable lifestyle too. Many causes know what needs to be done but lack funds, so enabling them to do work on a larger scale than we can do alone makes logical sense, as well as enabling an organisation to free up time that would be used for fundraising. However, there are a few things that make this easier to say than do.

The first is obvious, money. Many of us are financially stretched as it is, which is what makes Buengo perfect, as it takes away the financial strain of giving and provides an alternative way to raise funds for the causes we care about. The second is hassle. Donating to a variety of causes regularly requires a whole load of effort to set up and follow through with, even if we’re doing fundraising, as we have to go through our whole online banking system just to donate our dollar. Instead Buengo streamlines the whole system, and proceeds go directly to the causes without even touching our account. It even includes the option to add your Gift Aid details in the app itself, proving the team really has thought of everything to make the experience as seamless as possible.

Ultimately, what Buengo have created is a way to make life a little more streamlined, whilst also maximising the variety of ways that we can do good. It makes giving easier and decluttering worthwhile while simultaneously reducing waste, and all from the convenience of our pockets! I’m so glad to have found such a simple solution, and I hope you’ll give it a go too.

You can join me on Buengo here (it’s free!) & check out some of the preloved vintage clothes that I’m currently selling here, here and here.

The pieces I’ll be selling in the coming weeks will all be supporting Barnabus, a homelessness charity based in Manchester that have been operating for over 25 years. They offer help with accommodation, rehabilitation, practical suport, healthcare, skills training and employment opportunities.

(I’m also selling a vintage Christian Dior shirt that’s 100% silk so, you know, you might wanna get on that)