Freecycling is actually a network of connecting people with things to give away with a community of people wanting that exact thing. As of the date of this article, there were 9 million members around the world. It’s completely free to join, everything offered is completely free, it’s specific to your local community, and is a great way to recycle, up-cycle, freecycle whatever you can imagine. I have gotten everything from tomato plants, work clothes, to a complete antique dining room set in mint condition. Here’s how to get started:
- Create your own yahoo email: I recommend creating an email address specifically for your freecycle account. If you choose the daily alerts (which I highly recommend, as things are claimed very quickly), you could get hundreds of emails a day.
- Once you’ve created your own yahoo email, go to www.freecycle.org/group/US: Drill down the filters from state, county/region. Once you’ve found your region, select “Sign Up” and complete the following form
Once you’re signed up, you will begin to receive emails from the group. Emails from Freecycle will have [Freecycle*yourregion*] in the title and will usually sum up what is happening:
- Offer: Someone will something to give away
- Wanted: Someone wanting something for free
- Taken: Item has already been claimed and/or picked up
- PP/PPU: Pending PickUp, usually means it’s claimed, but if someone fails to pick it up it will fall to the next in line.
When you see an item you’d like, email the owner letting them know you are interested, what day and what times work best for you to go pick it up. The item will usually go to the first person to respond, or the person offering to pick it up the soonest. If you win and you arrange with the owner a time and place, show up. That person may have something extremely valuable to give away next week, but if you stood them up once they’re less likely to work with you. Usually the owner will place the item on a front porch or driveway so you can pick it up at your convenience.
A couple things to keep in mind while freecycling:
- Be smart. If you can, always go to pick up your items during the day. Always bring a friend if at all possible.
- Act fast! Keep an eye on your email throughout the day. Depending on how active your region is, 90% of what is being offered won’t suite you, but you don’t want to miss out on a gem!
- I don’t recommend picking up things like mattresses, underwear, anything that could be unsanitary or bring mold/insects, etc into your home.
- Have a back up plan. If what you pick up doesn’t turn out to work for you, or be what you were expecting, have a local thrift store, salvation army, or donation center you can drop it off at.
- Certain times of years will produce different offers. The holidays will usually put a lot of decorations on the freecycle boards. People get their decorations out of the attics and want to get rid of things they no longer use. Spring time lends a lot of seeds, seed starter kits and young plants.