Monday, November 17, 2008

Better Than A Garage Sale

Back in early August, I read a particularly intriguing post on Musement Park, one of the blogs I enjoy looking in on when I get a few minutes to browse the web. It was on freecycling, an updated form of passing on things you can't use to other people who can.

It took me a couple months, but I finally researched freecycling a little more and signed on to the local group. I'm hooked now.

The mission statement of the overarching organization is relatively simple and quite self-explanatory:

"Our mission is to build a worldwide gifting movement that reduces waste, saves precious resources & eases the burden on our landfills while enabling our members to benefit from the strength of a larger community."

Here in Wichita, it works like this: You sign up with the local group, which is simply a Yahoo group. Besides requesting your e-mail and so forth, they ask that you make a VERY short statement explaining why you are interested in joining the freecycle network. (Note: I had to rewrite my statement about 5 times to get it short enough. Brevity is obviously of great value here.) The moderator takes a look at what you've said and, assuming you haven't written that you intend to rip off everyone you contact, admits you to the group. There is a series of "rules of the road" to read through, and you are off and running.

So far I've used the site to pass along 3 rather large items (a desk in need of repair, a sink and a gun cabinet) that were way too good to throw away, but hardly enough to hold a garage sale for. In all 3 instances, I had multiple responses and the hardest part was choosing who to reply to. Each time the item was gone in short order, best of all to someone who really seemed to be able to use it.

No money is ever involved. This is simply a process of gifting someone else with something they can use which you, for one reason or another, no longer have a use for yourself. I have seen everything from kittens, puppies and animal supplies to used magazines to furniture to clothing to food to building supplies to garden plants listed, and I've been a member for less than a month. It's almost worth a "what's the oddest thing you've seen offered - and taken" sort of article. At the very least, it's addicting to watch the continual parade of stuff.

Give it a try! You might be surprised what you can pass along...or find.


Kitt said...

I considered it a while back, but was put off by all the hoops they wanted you to jump through. Maybe I'll reconsider, but I wish I could see some examples of what people had to offer before I committed to it.

Gaia gardener said...

What hoops did they want you to jump through? It's seemed fairly straightforward to me here.

I admit to some qualms about giving total strangers our address, but I'm careful never to hand out any personally identifying information until we've verified that they are taking our item. Then I make sure to schedule pickup when we're both home. So far (my grand universe of 3) it's worked out fine.

Gaia gardener said...

Also, just joining (at least here) doesn't obligate you to offer or to take anything. If you don't like what's being offered, you can always quit the site.

I waited about a week before offering our first item, trying to see how it was working and waiting until I felt reasonably comfortable with the process.

For some of the bigger items, they have a photo gallery, so you can see what you are replying to (or post a photo yourself).