Freecycle.org - Give Stuff, Take Stuff, & It's All FREE
Really? It's Free?
In the past year or so, for free, I’ve gotten: flower pots, glass balls used as floats in fishing nets, 2 Murano glass vases, old wicker furniture, and stacking milk crates.
In the past year or so, for free, I’ve given: a large plastic dog crate, a television, an area rug, mattresses, my bowling ball, old eye glasses, and an exercise bike.
These exchanges all took place courtesy of Freecycle dot org. And there is only one rule: Everything has to be FREE.
www.freecycle.org is a nationwide organization comprised of 5 million members, in more than 4300 groups. Freecycle was founded in 2003 by Devon Beal with the hope of keeping as many useable items out of dumps as possible. The idea is a little green, it’s a little thrifty, and it’s more than a little handy. Keep in mind that the alternative here was the landfill. These aren’t brand new mountain bikes and flat screen TV’s. These are used, old, replaced items that people are trying to get rid of.
How Does It Work?
It’s simple to use. Go to the main website and find your state. Narrow down your search to your area, and then go to the groups. Many of them are hosted on yahoo groups. It’s easy to join and it's always free. I found 4 different groups in my area and surrounding areas.
People in the groups post messages on the message board. Messages beginning with “Offered” are items people are offering. Subsequently, “Wanted” items are things people are looking for. If you see an offered item you want, you just email the poster. If it's still available you make your own arrangements regarding the exchange. Listings are updated with “Promised” and “Taken”
It’s up to you to be careful about meeting a stranger, or inviting people you don’t know to your house. Meetings for swaps in public places are usually easy to arrange.
My involvement started when I got a new mattress set and wanted to get rid of the old ones. No one wants to send junk to the dump or landfills, but what else can you do? A friend suggested listing them on Freecycle. My first thought was, who on Earth would want my old mattresses?
You’d be surprised.
What Kinds of Stuff Gets Listed?
I got 4 emails in the first ten minutes. I promised them to some kind of summer camp, they put old mattresses underneath rubber tarps surrounding the trampalenes or something. I don’t know. I didn’t care. I was just happy they weren’t going to a landfill, and that I didn’t have to lug them anywhere.
My second experience was a “wanted” ad I saw. Someone was looking for bowling balls for a juggling act. I emailed him. I’ve had a bowling ball for years. I have no idea why. I haven’t used it since Flock of Seagulls were on the charts.
What kinds of items?
Everything from sports equipment, to furniture, to Holiday decorations are offered. This week I've seen offered: a wheelchair, fencing, tires, books, a hose, and 45 packets of various flower seeds. The two biggest categories I see in my areas are children’s clothes and major appliances. People are always posting Offered’s and Wanted’s for various kid’s sizes as their kids grow. And as people replace or upgrade their washers and dryers, they offer the old ones for free. Apparently this is a smart way to score parts for your vintage Frigidaire.
You see the occasional idiot posting a "wanted" message for a laptop with XP or better on there. Yeah, like that’s gonna happen. But you’ll discover quickly most of the posters are a little more realistic than that.
You have nothing to lose to give it a shot, except maybe your local landfill.
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All text is original content by Veronica.
All photos are used with permission.
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