Save with Freecycle
Do you have things sitting around that you’re not using? Most of us do. There are a few ways we can get rid of these items. We could have a garage sale, but pricing and organizing things takes up a lot of time. We could take it to the landfill, but that’s wasteful if someone else could use it. Or we could freecycle it.
Freecycling is a movement that encourages people to give the items they don’t need to those who can use them. It’s a great way to get rid of clutter, and for the recipient, it’s a great way to save money. But how can those with things to give away connect with people who need them? Through a local Freecycle group!
Freecycle is a non-profit organization that utilizes email groups to facilitate giving. Founded in 2003, Freecycle originally consisted of a few dozen team members who drove around the Tucson, Arizona area trying to find homes for unwanted items. Organizers realized that email would be a much more efficient means, so they set up the first mailing list. The concept spread like wildfire, and today there are Freecycle groups all over the United States and in over 85 other countries.
There are Freecycle groups in most cities, as well as many rural areas. If there is no group in your area, you can apply to start one. All group organizers work as volunteers, with the support of the organization.
How Freecycle Works
In order to use Freecycle, you must join your local group. Links to groups in your area may be found on the official Freecycle website (Freecycle.org). Most groups are run through Yahoo Groups, which makes it easy for any member to post messages to all other members. Some groups allow anyone to join, while others require moderator approval. Just follow the instructions provided to sign up.
Once you’ve joined, you can post offers. This is generally done by sending a message with the word “Offer” in the subject line, followed by the item name and location. Provide any pertinent details, and let members know if you wish to be contacted in any way other than email. Those who are interested can email you through the group. Once the item is given away, the giver is asked to post a message stating that the item has been taken.
Anyone in the group may respond to an offer, but it is up to the giver to decide who gets it. There is no rule stating that items must be given on a first-come, first-serve basis. The only requirement in most groups is that all items be completely free, and that nothing illegal or adult-themed is given away.
Members may also ask for items they need. If another member has the item, he can contact the requester and arrange for pickup or delivery. While there is no requirement to give items away, members are encouraged to both give and receive gifts.
Joining Freecycle provides opportunities to both get rid of our “junk” and receive things we need for free. Membership is also free, so there’s no risk in joining.