How to Get Rid of Many Items with Freecycle

The original idea of freecycle was to keep items out of landfills, but many items that you’d never think of putting in a landfill are freecycled. Most cities now have a freecycle group. Freecycle uses the yahoogroup network to link people who want to get rid of stuff with other people who might use it..

To find a freecycle group

Go to the yahoogroups homepage, type in the word freecycle and the name of your city. The yahoogroup search should list the nearest freecycle group to the city you have named. If you don’t find one, repeat the search with the name of a big city near you. Freecycle is not just a US phenomenom, there are many freecycle groups in other countries too.

To get started

You must post an OFFER post before you post a WANTED post. In fact, the idea of freecycle is to get rid of stuff, not to get stuff, so try and make it a general rule to OFFER more than you WANT. You may find to start with your posts are moderated, but if you know the rules, soon your posts shouldn’t be moderated.

Posting

The title of your email should contain the word OFFER or WANTED in upper case, and then afterwards a brief description of what you are offering or what you want. In the body you can give a little more detail, such as dimensions or a photograph. Sign off with your name and an approximate location, don’t put your address in the original email. You don’t need to give the reason why you are getting rid of something, just the basic facts of what you are offering.

When someone replies

The idea of freecycle is that you choose by email one person to come and get the stuff that you no longer want. So don’t post that you have something, add your address, and say the first person to arrive gets it. That way too many people will be disappointed and gas will be wasted. Don’t feel you have to offer your stuff to the first person who answers, wait for a few answers before choosing who you will offer it to. You don’t have to be in when they call, you can leave it outside of your front door for them to pick up and not disturb you. If you are freecycling multiple items make sure you mark them clearly with their names. If you don’t want people coming to your home you can arrange to meet them at a mutual meeting point, but that’s more tedious than leaving them outside your door.

When you reply

When you reply to an OFFER make sure you keep your promise and pick up what you asked for. It’s very frustrating to offer something to someone and then have them not collect it. Make sure you give your name as the freecycler may be offering multiple items and want to mark your item with your name.

Taken

After an item has been taken, send another email with TAKEN at the start of the subject line and then the item description as in the original email. This should reduce the emails you get, although you’ll still get a few people wanting something who haven’t read that it’s been taken.

Basic rules

There are some basic rules, such as, no alcohol, no drugs of any kind and no weapons. The local freecycle groups vary on other things such as food and pets. If you’re not sure if something is allowed, email your moderator or group leader.

Be honest

The most important thing when freecycling is to be honest about the condition. Don’t say something works if it doesn’t, if it’s dirty and needs cleaning before it’s useable, then say so. People will pick up broken or dirty items, but you need to tell them the condition before they use gas to drive to your house.

Can I get items to sell from freecycle?

The simple answer is no, that’s not the point of freecycle. The idea is to stop items going in a landfill, not to give ebay sellers a source of products. However, the freecycle rules say if you ask the person freecycling if you can sell it and they agree, then you are allowed to resell it. I’ve seen ads that say, “I know this is worth something, you can sell it if you like, I just want to get rid of it.” In that case you are allowed to resell it. You are allowed, for instance, to make 1 working computer out of 2 freecycled broken computers and sell those. What you are not allowed to do it take something, and immediately resell it on ebay or Craigslist without improving it in any way.

Be careful

Don’t say things like, “I need to get rid of all this stuff before we go on vacation next week.” Also don’t advertise if there are children in the house, “My 6 year old daughter has just grown out of all of this.” Many people read freecycle, don’t give more information than you need to.

My rule

My rule is try and get rid of more than you get. Other peoples stuff may be wonderful, but too much of it is not a blessing. It is, in my opinion, the easiest way to get rid of clutter.

For more details

For more detailed specifics go to www.freecycle.org

Final hint

If you are just using freecycle to get rid of stuff and you are swamped with emails, then you can go no mail on yahoo. You can still post, you just won’t receive other people’s postings.

 

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