Monday, October 12, 2009

Have you heard about Freecycle???

Freecycle is a great way to declutter your home by giving your things a new life in someone else's arms. Money cannot be exchanged in the process of freecycling. The benefit is feeling good that you have cleared your clutter without contributing to the landfill and that you make someone else very happy. Plus, it's a lot of fun when you get cool stuff for free. I have met many really neat, generous people in my short two months of freecycling. I am amazed at what people are sharing and it seems to be contagious!

Here is how it works. Freecycle is a Yahoo! group with chapters all over the United States. From the main site, one can search for a group in a particular city/state. Once the group that you want to join is identified, simply follow the steps to join the group. You will need a Yahoo! id and password, and will have a chance to set one up at that time if you do not already have one. An e-mail will be sent to the group moderator, and once you are approved as a member you may participate. Then the moderator of the group will send you a great summary of all the rules and inner workings of the group and I recommend you read this carefully.

As a member, you may post your items right away, and you can also respond to the offers of others. If you want to post an item that you are wanting, you will need to wait 2 weeks.

The way it works is when a member posts an item, an e-mail is sent out to all the group members on the list serve. In Buffalo, there are approximately 14,000 members, according to Freecycle. Because of this massive audience there is a huge potential for someone to want just what you have to offer. Within a short while, someone (or several someone's) respond to your e-mail and express interest in your item. You have the power to decide who you ultimately share your address info with (for pick up of the item) and people use various criteria for this. You also decide if you want to continue to communicate by e-mail or by phone.

It is a very high volume e-mail list, with about 100 messages a day. There are some suggestions for dealing with this on the FAQ section of the Freecycle website. I have found it pretty easy to highlight and simply delete all of the e-mails that I don't want. Because of the standard format (described below) it is really easy to see what interests me by just looking at the subject of the message. I only open those that appeal to me.

When posting an item there is a general format to follow. In the Subject of the message it would read:
Offer: Williamsville; Large box of audiotapes for children and adults (about 50)
then in the body a little more detail/description:
Many titles for children, songs and story books, and also classical music
and piano music. some are taped, some are original cassettes. They are great
titles. I have switched to CDs and no longer need them.
I find it important to state "Please include name, phone number, date and time of pickup" in the body of the message, to simplify communication with people who reply to the post.

I was skeptical at first, but now I find myself a little addicted. I find it fascinating that such a culture is out there and again, I can't say enough about how people are sharing the most interesting things. Last month, I gave my entire crib/mattress set along with a bunch of miscelleaneous baby things to a young mother about to give birth who could not afford to buy her own things. I felt really great about that. I have since given away several things and it has given me great pleasure to do so. I find I am looking around the house for more to give. I know it is not for everyone, but it may be for you!! Try it out and let me know what treasures you share!

If you need help with this or any other organizing project, simply call Linda.

Linda Groat, MA
Simply Back to Basics
(716) 631-5619

1 comment:

  1. Linda, I have been a Freecycle member since Feb. 2009. I am amazed at what is offered and taken on the list! Myself, I have given away an abundance of new and unused art supplies, as well as a quesadilla maker. Everyone I've been in contact with is so very nice. The exchanges are easy and the rewards of decluttering my space is enormous!


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