And you don’t even have to leave home

Those of us on a budget know there’s nothing better than freerecycled items. Some of us are more particular than others; some will take used household items but not furniture, some will take furniture but not clothes, some will take clothes but not shoes, etc. I’m not too particular myself, although I draw the line at recycled underwear… although not recycled lingerie, interestingly enough. You’d think the lingerie would have a certain ick factor (I mean, remember why you wear it…) but somehow my brain is able to completely ignore that factpossibility. I especially love vintage stuff… like negligees and pegnoir sets (which I apparently don’t know how to spell) from the 40s-60s. But I digress.

Anyway.

A great little thing to be a member of is the freecycle network. It is a mailing list-type thing, where people post items they no longer use or need, and the item (or items) are up for grabs on a first-come, first-serve basis. The notification of the item is sent to your email inbox, therefore, those that monitor their email frequently will do better with this than those who only check in once or twice a day. Some pretty amazing things pass through here sometimes and you have to be quick. There are always the junk posts, or if not junk, let’s just say things you aren’t interested in. Plenty of days have passed when I didn’t see anything on it I wanted, but then all of a sudden the most perfect little table with a cabinet would show up, or that camera we needed, or whatever, and I would be ecstatic! And grateful I had tolerated the mounds of email. Yes, folks, it’s a high volume list, and you’ll receive plenty of emails. If I recall correctly, the volume was in the neighborhood of 30-50 emails a day, possibly more. If spam-fests annoy you, you can still subscribe to the list, but check the postings from the site rather than from your email account. Just refresh often. People also post requests, or things they are seeking, so if you’ve got a room full of stuff or a garage (in NYC? Not very likely, although possible) or a storage unit (far more likely), this may be a solution for you, too.

This isn’t only for New Yorkers; it’s a nationwide thing. In fact, it’s in numerous countries around the world.

It’s fairly self explanatory. You pick your location from the countries listed. United States or wherever. Since I’m in the States and haven’t explored how it works for other countries, that’ll be my example. You then get a list of states. Click on yours. Then cities. Ditto. Read the description, pick email or site review only and you’re good to go. This is not only perfect for those of us on tight budgets, but also a great way to recycle items you no longer need or use. Think about offering that bag of clothes you were going to schlep down to the Goodwill store on the Freecycle list. The very best part of it, from the recycler’s point of view anyway (as a New Yorker without a car, it was never quite so high on my list of great things about Freecycle) it is usually the responsibility of the person taking the item to pick it up. That’s either a bonus or a drawback, depending. Bags of clothes are do-able on the subway; furniture not so much… but with a couple of friends, anything is possible.

Oh. Just a word about courtesy. If you contact a poster, like what you hear and make plans to pick the item up… do everyone a favor and please call if you’re not going to make it. Yes, I know. People can really suck. However, as the seed of opportunity in this situation, if you’ve contacted a poster and they tell you someone got to it before you, ask them if they’ll keep your email just in case the person doesn’t come through. Many a person has been happy they did so, trust me.

All that being said, happy hunting! It can be very well worth it. Check it out: http://www.freecycle.org

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