I'm so proud of myself! I have finally utilized Freecycle, the online network where people give away or take things that are no longer useful to them but may be useful to someone else. It was easy. It was quick. Why haven't I done this before?
All you do is go to www.freecycle.org and search using your zip code. It will tell you what Freeycle groups there are in your area. Then you submit a request to join the group. Once you are officially added to the group, you will begin to receive e-mails about things people are offering to give away. Lately, I've seen a small bookcase, a box of books, a box of yarn and various other items offered. If you see something you are interested in, you just respond to the person who posted it before anyone else. (Sometimes, speed is important.)
Of course, if there is something you are looking for, you can also submit a post requesting an item. There's a good chance that someone has it stashed in a closet somewhere. I've seen requests for baby furniture, a baby monitor, a guitar, tools and pool supplies. Everything is free for the taking. All you have to do is claim it and pick it up.
There are lots of reasons this is a great resource and all of them have to do with reusing.
1) You save money getting used items for free instead of spending it buying something new.
2) You are reusing items which keeps them out of the landfill.
3) You may be helping someone in need by offering your items to them. And . . .
4) You are reducing your carbon footprint by saving the energy it takes to manufacture new items and that's good for all of us!
In addition to all of those positive qualities of Freecycle, I had my own personal reasons why I liked using it. Maybe it's from growing up in a large family. Or perhaps because I'm the offspring of two survivors of the Great Depression. Maybe it's my concern for the earth or even my Catholic guilt but I hate to throw out perfectly good items just because I'm never going to use them. The problem is, I also don't want to be surrounded by clutter or have to store things I'll never use.
Freecycle to the rescue! Not only did I get rid of some planting pots that I won't use, I don't have to store them, someone else will put them to good use, they won't end up in the landfill, and I can feel good that I reused something. I'm not sure how it could get much better.
So, the next time you're tempted to buy something new or throw away something old, check out Freecycle first. You may end up saving some money and the earth at the same time!