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Updated on September 19, 2008

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. 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.

If you liked this HUB, please click the "Thumbs Up" below, just before the comment section. Thanks!

All text is original content by Veronica.

All photos are used with permission.

All videos are courtesy of


Submit a Comment

  • Kris Heeter profile image

    Kris Heeter 6 years ago from Indiana

    Wow,this is a really cool idea. I hadn't heard of the site until I ran across your hub. Thanks!

  • profile image

    carol 7 years ago

    I forgot my password & my email address for freecycle. How can I retrieve them? Thanks. My other email address is

  • profile image

    marcusleroybrown 9 years ago

    Excellante, this is all fantastico! Finally something worthy of conversation! Great news 10/10 for effort! Well done some might say, good job i say!

  • profile image

    Dinlow 9 years ago

    What a friendly bunch of hippies you all are!

  • Veronica profile image

    Veronica 9 years ago from NY

    Excellent. Thanks monitor and Rhym, I hope you enjoy Freecycle

  • Rhym O'Reison profile image

    Rhym O'Reison 9 years ago from Crowley, Tx

    This is a great idea, thanks for making it known. I will check it out now.

  • monitor profile image

    monitor 9 years ago from The world.

    This is a really interesting and unique concept, Veronica! I'd never heard of this site before reading your hub so it was most informative. I might just look for a couple of odds and ends to both donate and pick up for myself. Thanks for the great read!

    Your fan.


  • Veronica profile image

    Veronica 9 years ago from NY

    bright_sorcerer - Thanks for the comment. I'm glad Freecycle is thriving in Canada. Also I'm very glad you were able to find a bike you really needed. It is amazing the stuff you can give away on Freecycle that you don't even miss, not to mention the stuff you can find.

    I love Flock of Seagulls too, btw ;) I was glad a bowling ball i hadn't used in like 20 years was repurposed.

  • bright_sorcerer profile image

    bright_sorcerer 9 years ago from London, Canada

    A bowling ball you haven't used since A Flock of Seagulls was on the had me chuckling at that., because I happen to like them. This is an excellent organization up here in Canada as well. I was in desperate need of a bike and friend of mine - as a surprise to me - had checked out their site. She came to my building, buzzed and said she had something I needed to see. I went down and discovered a snazzy mountain bike, about 5 years old, resting on a kick stand. It was in great shape and it was something I really needed and I was very grateful. Very happy that you took the time to write this hub and inform others. It's always nice to know that the only option does not have to be going without a needed item because one doesn't have the money. Thanks again for this great hub!

  • stevemark122000 profile image

    stevemark122000 9 years ago from Southern California

    I'm always learning something new at Hub Pages. Thanks for the info. Great Job!

  • Veronica profile image

    Veronica 9 years ago from NY


    If you do come across anyother orgs like this, please feel free to post a link here in comments. Like minded goals are welcome.

  • Cailin Gallagher profile image

    Cailin Gallagher 9 years ago from New England

    Great information! I'm going to check them out. I give everything away to thriftstores, stay about from the big box stores, and buy as much as I can secondhand. Excellent info. We need more of this type of organization.

  • RFox profile image

    RFox 9 years ago

    This is a wonderful idea! Recycle, recycle ,recycle....great hub.

  • Veronica profile image

    Veronica 9 years ago from NY

    LdsNana - Thanks so much!

    I believe you will find people that think the way you do on Freecycle. Like I warned you have to wade through a few "Gimme gimme's" but for the most part the core people of the groups are great. And, they NETWORK. When you're looking around on your local site, pass the word. Let people know you saw a couch offered, or whatever goods you see. You'll also see, sometimes, people will tell you what they are looking for your old stuff for, and you can think outside the box. I saw a posting by a lady that said she was a girlscout leader, and would take anything she could use for crafts - i remember se was specifically looking that day for old plastic flowers, that they were going to snip up, dip in glue and glitter and extra paint, and make into christmas bows. I emailed her that I had (for some reason) a box of ribbon and other crafty things. She gladly took them.

    The ideas are endless. I hope you pass along your abundances and make new friends in the process.

  • LdsNana-AskMormon profile image

    Kathryn Skaggs 9 years ago from Southern California

    Great timing Veronica.

    I have finally decided to purge. One of my concerns was that I be responsible in doing so. Something inside me refuses to just throw out perfectly good "goods", when there are so many who could use these things.

    I believe, that once we acquire ownership of anything, we become responsible for that item. If we have not used it up ourselves - we need to pass it on, so that another might be blessed.

    I know, maybe that sounds strange to some? But stewardships of this earth and all things which we enjoy in abundance, must be held in gratitude.

    Thanks. Wonderful hub and fantastic resource!



    P.S. Congrats on your 100,000!

  • Veronica profile image

    Veronica 9 years ago from NY

    DonnaC - I'm so glad you're going to check it out. I hope you find your need and you cn give people the stuff you're looking to part with.

  • DonnaCSmith profile image

    Donna Campbell Smith 9 years ago from Central North Carolina

    I have heard of freecycle, and there are chapters near my home. I am glad you wrote this to remind me. I have some things to give and I have a need, so I am going to go check it out now. Thanks, again!

  • Veronica profile image

    Veronica 9 years ago from NY

    Thanks Donna. i hope you give it a try. Lots of stuff out there!

  • donnaleemason profile image

    donnaleemason 9 years ago from North Dakota, USA

    Great hub, thanks for the info.


  • Veronica profile image

    Veronica 9 years ago from NY

    I like that saying! Thanks, Zsuzsy!

  • Zsuzsy Bee profile image

    Zsuzsy Bee 9 years ago from Ontario/Canada

    Living green is my passion. This is an absolutly great idea. As I always say if each of us just does a little it will become an enormous...

    great hub regards Zsuzsy

  • Veronica profile image

    Veronica 9 years ago from NY

    Sam, I'm glad you're going to do this. You would be surprised how many people out there can use your old stuff.

    solarcaptain, I'm glad you've read about freecycle, the word needs to get out there. I'm writing another hub right now on ideas to re-use your old junk in new ways.

    Jason Stanley, thanks for visiting! I'm glad this reminded you about your local freecycle. It's so important. I'm constantly surprised when I read the WANTED postings, how many of those items I happen to have and never thought to list. Sometimes it takes someone else to remind us how much we have, and how much we can give.

    Hovalis - Sydney! That's great! The Freecycle site says it's worldwide, but I didn't actually feel that sentiment until your post. Thanks!

    You can help spread the Freecyle word: email this article to your friends, workmates and neighbors. If you see a posting on your local freecycle that reminds you of someone you know, send them the info. "Don't you have an old swing set you could give these people?" or "Hey, weren't you looking for cinder blocks?" We can make a difference.

  • profile image

    Sam 9 years ago

    I never heard of this! I'm checking this out for my area. I have so much stuff I'd love to give away. old ski equip, old baby pools, sheets and blankets queensized that dont fit my new kingsize bed. my old set of dishes. thanks for the tip

  • solarcaptain profile image

    mike king 9 years ago from california


    just reading about this somewhere else and I love the idea. Maybe we can stop buying so much trash and just start sending it around.

    good job. thumbs up

    mike solarcaptain

  • Jason Stanley profile image

    Jason Stanley 9 years ago

    It is excellent that wrote about Freecycle, as a reminder for people like myself who know about it but rarely use it and for those who haven't heard about it.

    You bet, a solid thumbs up!

  • Hovalis profile image

    Hovalis 9 years ago from Australia

    I have been on the list for FreeCycle here in Sydney for quite a while. It's amazing what people are giving away, and it's great if you are finally decluttering. Great idea for a hub. Thumbs up!