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If you’re not using Freecycle you’re paying too much!

Freecycle:
Freecycle is an organization that believes all things can be recycled for free. Their motto: "Changing the world one gift at a time." The idea that keeps this organization running is the philosophy that one man's trash is another man's treasure. Hence, this is a site where people trade their unwanted things for absolutely FREE!

Getting started:
If you're interested simply go to Freecycle.org and type in your zip code to see if there is a group near you. Groups are localized due to the fact that picking up items personally is mandatory.

How it works:
Once you've been approved by the Moderator to join, it's easy to get involved.  To begin, new members are asked to "offer" an item to the group.  Easy enough! Simply find something in your house that you can do without and post an "OFFER" message on the board.  If someone is interested in the item (and believe me it's common to get numerous emails) they will contact you. Simply choose someone to receive the item and arrange a time for them to pick it up. Once the item has been picked up, go back to the board and post it as "TAKEN".

Likewise, if you spot an item you want simply email the person offering it to let them know you’d like it. Remember, you’re probably not the only person interested, so state why you want it, how you'd put it to good use, and when you can pick it up (usually the sooner the better.)  *Important note: The group tends to become close-knit, so manners go a long way.  To keep things running smoothly, you MUST follow through with picking up the item.  If you don’t, you can be reported to the Moderator. After three reports, you can be kicked out of the group! It sounds harsh, but it keeps things running smoothly.

Example:
I saw that someone had posted an offer for a vanity. I couldn't have been more thrilled! I’ve always wanted one.  But since it fell in the “want not need” category it just never seemed feasible. For the past few years I’ve searched flea markets, thrift stores, and Craigslist only to find vanities that were still too pricey. I emailed the person right away and told them of my relentless search for a nice, inexpensive vanity. I explained how badly I wanted it and that if they chose me it truly would be going to a great home.

The person emailed me back stating they had received over 20 emails from various people wanting the vanity.  Since mine stood out, and because they could tell how badly I wanted it, they chose me. I picked it up, brought it home, and set it up in my room in record speed!  I also made sure to send a thank you note to express my appreciation.

Wanted:
While the "OFFER" and "TAKEN" posts are seen the most on the board, there is a different post called "WANTED". If there is something you want/need you can post a "WANTED" message on the board.  However, you can ONLY do this after you've successfully offered an item. To prevent Freecycle from becoming a begging board, you're limited to one wanted post per week. Remember that nothing is too big or small to ask for! You never know what other people are trying to get rid of.

Example:
I was redoing my apartment and really wanted a kitchen hutch to use as extra storage space. I kept hoping someone would offer one on the board, but no one did, so I decided to post a wanted ad.

I wrote what I was looking for and when I would be available to pick it up. I soon heard back from someone on the board saying they had one in storage that I could have!  We arranged a pickup time the following weekend. I was more than excited. I was given a FREE solid wood kitchen hutch! The cost: only my time to post and pick up.

What you can find:
I've been a member in my local Freecycle group for almost seven years and have found some pretty great things.  Here’s my list:

  • Flat screen TV
  • Coffee table
  • Bookcases
  • Desk
  • Dressers
  • Night stands
  • Espresso maker
  • Pots & pans
  • Mini fridge
  • Baby items (high chair, clothing, toys, etc)
  • Ceramic flower pots
  • Paintings
  • Lamps
  • Cedar chest
  • Vintage kitchen hutch
  • Partylite candle items
  • Candles
  • Pampered Chef items
  • Solid wood kitchen hutch

This has been a guest post by Nicole from Northern, VA
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