Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Free Fun

I'm always surprised when folks reveal that they are not freecycle addicts, so I thought I would explain here what the deal is. It's an online yahoogroup that allows you to give away stuff you don't need so you keep it out of landfills. Great idea, huh? As someone who used to work for an organization that got lots of well-intentioned donations (lots of which weren't completely appropriate or even helpful), I now freecycle almost everything I can. I give money to worthy nonprofits and give my junk to someone who has already decided it's treasure. That's the beauty of freecycle. It takes initiative to respond to a post so it's self-screening. My favorite item I've given away? Hands-down, a 4 foot spray-painted plaster bust of a Roman senator left in my attic by the former owner. Its destination? A backyard urban garden complete with ivy trails for his head. Sweet, huh? Other random stuff that will see worthwhile use? Hiking boots slightly too small for these post-pregnancy feet, aloe cuttings, wind chimes, an old film camera with a death squeak.

Makes decluttering extremely satisfying.

Don't say I didn't warn you, though. I have a couple tips. The traffic on the list is high. I recommend checking messages on the homepage and setting your message delivery to web only. Also, when people are getting something for nothing, they may or may not value it (or your time) appropriately. Be ruthless about pickup times and dates (the sooner and more specific the better, ie, priority given to respondents who can pick up tonight!) so you don't end up with another full time job: managing flaky freecyclers. Also, don't forget, you can post a "wanted" message once a month. I just scored a bread machine!

FreecycleDC serves an environmentally aware and responsive community. It helps reduce consumption and waste by connecting people who are throwing away items with others who are seeking the same. Computers, furniture, clothing, magazines, sports equipment, and stuff in your closet - keep it out of landfills by giving it a new home. (from our local site)


Susannah said...

Yes! My favorite items freecycled out of my house:

- half box of mismatched floor tiles with a half-full bag of grout, now installed in a tiny bathroom somewhere
- AC window unit left behind by a previous owner
- armful of bamboo of various thicknesses (leftover from a chuppah-making project for some friends, now being used by a serious lily gardener)
- box of baby-proofing stuff and Elmo vids (given to a totally grateful new father)

Only 1 of 4 pick-ups were flaky.

MamaBird said...

Um, love the armful of bamboo freecyclage. Why am I not surprised? You rock.

Melanie said...

I freaking love freecycle, though I mostly use it to get rid of stuff.

Every single thing I've posted, no matter how crappy, has been taken, though often by delightfully bizarre hill people. Hill people with Internet access, apparently.

Anonymous said...

I love it... I haven't done it much, but I've been able to turn some other people on to it, and they love it too!

Sarita said...

We have Freecycle here in Paris too! It is great. I admit that I haven't used it enough but I have big plans to use it more in the future. I love the whole concept. Have you checked out zwaggle? It's similar...but not exactly.