I was going to write about something totally different today, but Russell sent me a mail which reminded me that I hadn’t actually mentioned Freecycle yet.
I am astounded at the number of people who don’t know about this fantastic piece of logic. It’s a win-win situation for everyone – except the manufacturers and purveyors of tat – and let’s face it – are we going to weep for them if they don’t sell an extra nasty cheap item at a vastly inflated price?
In case you don’t know what Freecycle is then make yourselves comfortable, children. All your storage/waste/eco-guilt problems are solved – not to mention that you might actually get something fab yourself.
Freecycle is a Yahoo group which aims to keep useable rubbish out of landfill. It starts with someone posting up something they want to get rid of. It can be an old TV, a bicycle tyre, a microwave, children’s toys, clothes – you name it, people post it.
Everyone who’s signed up to the list receives info about what’s on offer. Since there’s bound to be someone in London who wants it, the next thing is that someone arranges to come and collect the item as soon as possible. There is only one rule – no money can change hands.
Everyone gets a result. The person giving away their own particular “piece of old tut” is relieved of having to drag it to the dump, the person receiving their own particular “lovely treasure” gets something they want for the price of collecting it and the local tip has extra room.
I love Freecycle. I have personally got rid of an entire kitchen (someone came and collected it from Woolwich in installments in a Ford Fiesta) a microwave, a fridge, a stereo – plus many other items – all of which were perfectly good, but had just been upgraded and I no longer needed. Russell tells me he has got rid of some Lloyd Loom chairs, a pasta maker and various dodgy Christmas presents. What he has got, though, is amazing – but pretty typical – a double bed from someone who couldn’t be bothered to sell, a flat-screen monitor for his PC – you name it you can find it here. From the sublime – a bag of rubble – to the ridiculous – I’ve seen cars listed and, once, an AGA…
It’s not just big stuff. You can offer (or get) spare seedlings for your garden, the free DVDs that come with newspapers – anything (that isn’t alive.) It’s worth putting slightly broken stuff up there too because a lot of artists use it to get ‘unusual’ materials. I’ve seen things like “offered – TV – broken” – and then seen, a few days later “taken – TV- broken.”
I particularly love Freecycle because I’ve always had a problem with throwing things away if they’re still good. If they can go to a good home I can declutter without guilt. The one thing you must remember is that everything has to be free. If you want to sell something, take it to Greenwich Auctions or Ebay.
I have always used the London version of Freecycle – partially because I want my stuff to go and I can never be absolutely sure that anything smaller is a big enough catchment area.
Russell tells me there is now a local Greenwich one. I have no experience of it, but since the more local people are, the less chance of no-shows, I would probably now advertise my stuff on that one first. I have had a few problems finding it though – maybe you could post a URL, please, Russell?