Wednesday, January 27, 2010

In Praise of Freecycle

Brian and I are doing a little reorganization in our kitchen--a subject I might discuss at more length in another entry, but for now I only mention it because part of the process is clearing out the cabinets and getting rid of unwanted items. Getting rid of stuff is always difficult for us, because we both just hate to throw away anything that's "still good," even if we know we'll never actually use it. But luckily for us, this is where Freecycle comes in.

In case there's anyone out there who doesn't already know, Freecycle is a worldwide network of online communities that help people reuse unwanted stuff. If you have something you want to get rid of, you post an entry like this:

Title: OFFER: left-handed golf clubs
From: Lobelia
Date: 13:39, 26 Oct 2009
Location: Hobbiton
Description: Set of left-handed golf clubs. I don't play golf and I'm not left-handed. Don't ask me what I'm doing with them. Quick pick-up preferred.

And within a day, usually, you will get at least one request for the unwanted item from another member. In fact, it's not unusual to get a deluge of requests within the first couple of hours. (You can choose to give it to anyone you wish, though I usually follow a first-come, first-served policy.) In the past five years, I have successfully used Freecycle to get rid of many items, including:
  • an eight-year-old Macintosh computer
  • several old textbooks
  • a reel-type lawn mower with a wheel that (as I stated quite openly) didn't stay on very well
  • a Weed Whacker with a motor that was (as I also stated quite openly) on the verge of burning itself out
  • an old CRT monitor
  • a surplus of rubber bands
We have also acquired a few items from Freecycle, including books, videotapes, and most notably, the "jungle adventure" tent that turned out to be the most successful gift we gave to any of our nieces and nephews last Christmas. And while we've never actually used Freecycle to request a specific item, I have seen people ask for and get all kinds of things, from computers to out-of-print books.

So, if there is anyone out there in cyberspace who does not yet belong to a Freecycle group: try it, you'll like it.
Post a Comment