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Freecycle for Free Stuff

Updated on April 8, 2013

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**.

Why Freecycle?

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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    • profile image

      Adehokey Albert & Amedzrovi Francis 5 years ago

      We are students of Keta Senior High Technical School which is located in the Volta Region,Keta and we want you to kindly help us get a laptop computer for our studies.We would be very glad to receive such a wonderful gift from you.We are in an area where we scarcely get access to computers whilst it is needed for academic w0rks and for research purposes. We are counting on your co-operation and consideration and we hope to hear from you soon.Thanks.

    • watergeek profile image

      watergeek 6 years ago from Pasadena CA

      I love Freecycle too. I've gotten rid of lots of books, music, fabric, curtains, house decor, tools, etc. I've gotten software and other things I can't remember right now, and went on a photo tour of Christmas lights once with a Freecycler.

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 6 years ago from USA

      I love Freecycle, and have used it several times to give away unwanted items. Since it's local, I know that the people who get the items are from my town. It's good to be sharing with neighbors!

    • KMattox profile image

      KMattox 6 years ago from USA

      Terri Paaianen

      Thanks for sharing! I appreciate you putting this resource up on HubPages. It is a valuable service for anyone looking for something they cannot afford to buy on their own.

      I would encourage anyone viewing this hub to vote up on it so it get more views. There are a lot of deserving people out there who need help these days. I realize this hub is already 3 years old but I happened upon it by reading voted up and useful!

      Thanks KMattox

    • profile image

      Al 8 years ago

      Check out this site:

      It's in an early stage, but who knows...

    • profile image

      Amy 8 years ago

      Hi! I just sent a message on your other page about Freecycle! I am glad to see that you are using it! I personally love it and thankfully have been able to find it in both cities I have lived in. I wish everyone would freecycle!!

    • profile image

      Anna 9 years ago

      Is there any other sites I should know ? Free furniture sites.

    • profile image

      lisa 9 years ago

      Hi, I saw your post on Survivalblog and it was the first I heard about Freecycle. I found a group in my community and the site is booming! I already saw a potential person to donate my older set of pots and pans to. I'm looking for canning supplies among other things so I'm definitely going to keep my eye on posts here. Thanks for the tip, I have lots of stuff I usually give away to a local charity but would be more than happy to give to someone who can put a specific item to use. What a great site!

    • Terri Paajanen profile image

      Terri Wilson 9 years ago from someplace in Canada

      There is nothing wrong with thrift stores at all. But some things are well-used or too unusual to be of much value to a store. I know my last freecycle finds have been big pieces of dirty and used carpeting for my garden. You'll never find something like that at a store.

    • hot dorkage profile image

      hot dorkage 9 years ago from Oregon, USA

      what is wrong with thrift stores making money of selling stuff? for all the work it is I can't imagine they make very much

    • profile image

      cvaughn570 9 years ago

      I am a frequent reader on freecycle and have given some things away. I haven't yet found any items that I can use, but I still look as one day there might be something for me. It is nice to see an informative article about it.

      Great Job!


    • dutch84 profile image

      dutch84 9 years ago

      This article is very helpful during these hard times for many people.

      Thanks for sharing!

    • pjdscott profile image

      pjdscott 10 years ago from Durham, UK

      What a great find Terri! Not only was I completely ignorant of the concept but, to my great surprise, there is a group near me in the UK! I assumed it would be mainly north American or only Canadian.

      I'm delighted to see there are like-minded, sensible people still out there - many thanks for a really useful hub and you deserve a thumbs-up!

    • Maren Morgan M-T profile image

      Maren Elizabeth Morgan 10 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Great explanation. I wish it was mandatory for newspapers, and other media, to publish the local Freecycle URL on a daily basis. I have gotten some very valuable furniture and appliances through freecycling. Also, I have adopted out many books and items I no longer needed.

    • Veronica profile image

      Veronica 10 years ago from NY

      Great informative article! I use freecycle also through a yahoo based local group. I've only gotten two things - vases, and fishing net floats. But I got rid of TONS of things: used area rugs, old prescription eye glasses, old work-out equipment, books, clothes, old dog crate, old furniture and more. You never know who can use something. I was amazed when I posted that I had 4 area rugs that had been trampled to death and were really used up and in bad condition. A guy that had a garage used them to line the dolly things they slide in and out from under the vehicles with. A guy from a charity took all the prescription glasses. I remember a friend put on there a box of dolls that the dogs had chewed up. The person that got them said they were using them for "parts", removing the chewed up parts, and using the good parts to fix other dolls.

      Freecycle is an excellent idea. Describe the items accurately and always use common sense when you meet a stranger. Great hub, Terri!!