I’d like to take a moment today to tell you about one of my most favorite things in the whole entire world. Knowing about this could possibly change your life FOREVER.Probably not.
But you never know!
I’m talking about the web group, www.freecycle.org.
I adore freecycle. I use it all the time. Best. Idea. EVER.
www.freecycle.com is a different thing. I have no idea what it is, just that it’s not the same. Make sure you are going to the .org site.
So here’s what it is: a group of people in Tucson, AZ realized that they were throwing away things that could still be used or re-purposed because they simply didn’t know who to give it to. So they started this group and now those items go to a new home instead of going to the landfill. How wonderful is that?! You can post either, “Wanted: a blah blah in my city” OR “Offer: a blah blah in my city.” And then people respond. Usually the deal is that the person receiving the item picks it up, either at the other person’s home or at a neutral location. Everything has to be free.
I have gotten a beautiful set of bookshelves that were scratched on one side (that side goes against the wall so no one will ever know anyway), a piano, a couch, lots of clothes for the kids and me, water bottles for my big project, Christmas decorations, fabric scraps, books, left over paint, giant cardboard tubes that I needed for a VBS project, a big bag full of yarn and more! Free! I truly love free stuff.
I have given away tons of baby stuff (clothes, blankets, bathtub, potty seat, changing table, etc), most of our furniture from when we moved from AZ to MI, old computers, books, useless computer CDs (think the old free AOL CDs you used to see everywhere), baby food jars, toilet paper tubes, a broken VCR, flowers that were over-running my yard and needed to be pulled and more. Why do people want this junk? Who cares? They probably wonder why I want plastic water bottles. The point is, it didn’t go to the landfill, and that’s a very good thing. Extra bonus: you don’t have to take it anywhere. Just set your stuff out on your porch and some eager person comes to get it and carry it away into the sunset.
I have seen people give and receive huge items like refrigerators and gutted out RVs and mobile homes that needed to be removed from their lots as well as countless small things like starter flower pots, the plastic containers that berries come in, broken mirrors, and jars of miscellaneous nails and screws.
Now, I know that you are so excited right now that your little clicker finger is itching to go sign up. First, allow me to share a few bits of freecycling advice I’ve learned over the years…
* If you live in a bigger city with a well established group you may want to have an email account dedicated solely to freecycling. Each “offer” or “wanted” post comes to you as an email. In Tucson we could get as many as 300-400 emails EACH DAY. That is A LOT of email and you don’t want it cluttering your inbox. Where we are now it is significantly less, but still maybe 20 or 30 posts on a busy day.
* Don’t get discouraged by “no-shows.” Occasionally you will post an “offer” and someone will email you and say, “Oh! I really need that!” So you make arrangements and then they never show up to get it. Don’t freak out. Just offer it again. The next person will have better manners.
* The moderators can be rigid at times. It depends where you are and so forth, but there are times when the moderators will delete a post for, what seems like, the absolute most ridiculous reasons. I’ve been deleted because I forgot to put what part of town I’m in, because I posted two items in one post, because I asked for the same thing twice in a two-week period and I don’t know how many other reasons. Again, don’t freak out. They are just trying to keep the group productive. If they ask you to change something just change it. It’s all for a good cause in the end.
* Don’t ask for things that wouldn’t be headed to a landfill. “I need a brand new, attractive, low mileage late-model car,” is probably not a good request. “I am looking for a junker to rebuild,” is very reasonable. I’ve seen several of those over the years. Remember, it’s not a charity, it’s an effort to make recycling/repurposing easier.
* When you join the group there is a little blurb that they ask you to read. Read it. It will help you understand the rules for your individual area regarding the giving/receiving of recalled items, firearms and other regulated items and more. It’s good, important information you need to know to safely and successfully freecycle.
And it’s as easy as that! I hope you find it as useful as I do. It really is a wonderful service that helps make doing our part for the planet just a little easier. And you get free stuff. *happy sighs* Hippie heaven.