When you don’t want to haul the old sofa away . . .

15 04 2008

. . . Let someone who wants it pick it up from you, for free. You can do this through The Freecycle Network, a community-based goods exchange. Visit the site to find your local Freecycle Network, set up a Yahoo! account (if you don’t have one already), join the local Yahoo! Group, and you’re ready to swap. Freecycle rules are simple: post offers more than you post requests for goods; pick up goods in a timely manner; and try to give dogs and cats to loving homes through other means before posting them on the message board. Oh, and no posting your children or spouse.

While you may prefer to donate many goods–gently used clothing, toys, and appliances–to charities like Goodwill Industries International or the Salvation Army, Freecycle works well when goods are too large to haul away, or when charities are not nearby. Freecycle may also be a great choice for busy people who can leave goods for pickup on a porch safe from rain much more easily than they can remember to tote items to charity shops. While some may argue that donating is always the more socially conscious option, anything that keeps at bay the temptation to trash an item is worthwhile in my book. Also, the more you offer items on Freecycle, the more you have the built-up credit with your local Freecycle peers to request an item when you truly need it–as in, “my laptop died and I have to finish my thesis this weekend. Anyone have an old one with Word 1998 lying around?”

Of course, you could sell it all to a consignment shop or on Ebay. But sometimes, giving is its own reward. Like the nightstand you got from Joe Smith because he raved about the rototiller you gave him last month. I’m just saying, it could happen. Please share if you have a great Freecycle experience.

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