Freecycle for Free Stuff
Though I don't use it as often as I should, I think the Freecycle idea is just brilliant. I have gotten so many helpful things for free, and also have found homes for a number of items that I didn't want or need anymore. I wanted to share the Freecycle concept, just in case you hadn't heard of it.
Freecycle is a way of connecting with people online, to find and/or give away stuff. Any kind of stuff. Books, clothing, cooking equipment, furniture and just about anything else you can think of. Chances are, there is someone out there who wants or needs what you are trying to get rid of.
And it's all free. These websites aren't for posting items for sale. Just items to be given away for free. How cool is that?
Where is the Site?
This is the main site for Freecycle. But Freecycle is really a network of sites, not just one. Use the main site to find a Freecycle board or site nearest you. There is no point finding someone who wants your old futon, and lives 600 miles away. You need to hook up with a Freecycling group in your area. According to their website, there are more than 4,000 groups around the world.
And if there is no group near you, you might even want to start one yourself.
How Does it Work?
Well, each Freecycle site is independent and is run by its own volunteers, so there is no single set of rules or instructions. Make sure you read the etiquette guide that your local Freecylce site has. I can describe the one in my area, to give you an idea.
In my case, the site is a Yahoo! groups message board that you have to sign up for in order to read and post. The format of the system is that everyone who has something to give away, creates a post that starts with **offered** and anyone who needs something, posts something starting with **wanted**. You describe what you have or what you need in the rest of the post.
Then interested people contact you by email. Personally, I think it would work better if they posted directly to the board, but that's not how it works. Once you find someone to take your stuff, or who has what you want, you go back to the Freecycle page and make another post. You post again, but this time the title starts with **taken** or **received**.
So if you see something that you want, you need to scroll farther down to see if it has been **taken**.
Well, getting stuff for free can't be a bad idea. By doing it this way, your unwanted stuff goes directly to someone who can use it. And it saves you the hassle of lugging large items to the local thrift store. Most Freecyclers arrange to come to your home and pick their items up. No work for you.
Thrift stores are great, but your stuff gets sold which means someone is making a profit. Freecycing is completely and utterly free, so people who are really in a bind can get what they need for nothing.
Another benefit is that it keeps all kinds of unwanted goods out of the garbage and landfill. So many things that we have are still usable, so why not find someone to use them?
Note: Not 10 minutes after posting this article, I got a response to one of my own Freecycle postings and have found a new home for my daughter's old booster seat. Yay.
And there are now even more networks offering you similar options for giving away your unwanted goods. Check out these alternatives to Freecycle if you want something different.
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