I'm so glad that Joe and I are now living in a time in which everything we were so into ten/fifteen years ago is or is closer to becoming common practice, part of the shared vocabulary: taking our own bags to the market, composting, growing our own food, conserving energy. We would have been crazy for freecycle back in those wild enviro-vegan days of our youth, as we are now, except of course, let's not forget there really wasn't the internet we have now to facilitate it. It's one of the benefits of the recession, I suppose, that people are being creative in this way, looking for ways to save money, which ends up being so much more conservative of resources.
I've been jumping around about freecycle, about the constant stream of emails that come through, people looking for things, people giving away things. So of course I decided to track what found a new home in the North Bay in one 24-hour period this week, in no particular order (although you may imagine that I am longing to categorize and sort it - kids stuff, home stuff, office stuff...):
- fireplace implements (Novato)
- red children's rug from Ikea (Central Marin)
- melon scented lotion (Greenbrae)
- glass for frame (San Anselmo)
- kid/family board games
- several large bird toys (San Rafael)
- moving boxes/packing paper
- antique freestanding mirror
- 3-ring binders
- web camera and microphone
- marble slab
- italian language books
- men's XL shirts and one pair of shorts
- 2 book cases
- shipping boxes, packing peanuts
- wool berber rug
- headrest for auto
- candle gift sets
- 50 pendaflex folders
- Thomas roundhouse (toy)
- Fisher Price roll-arounds Drop & Roar Dinosaur
That is a whole lot of stuff that would otherwise just be sitting in someone's garage, or gone to Goodwill (where who knows what happens to it), or gone to landfill. And it's all free. There are rules about how it works of course, its own particular language. When you have something to give away, the subject line of your email reads, "OFFER [name of thing] (city where you are)." Some of the items on offer require "porch pick-up." When a poster of an item receives responses, they write back to the list that the item is PROMISED, sometimes including in the text of their message how many back-ups they have (i.e., how many other interested parties in case #1 falls through). I love the structure of it all.
I am also intrigued by the things that are posted as WANTED: cowboy boots, dehydrator, espresso machine, treadmill for walking dogs on in the winter when it's cold and dark out. I love that people in this e-group just ask for what they want. Why not? Someone might have one and be willing to give it to you.
We haven't yet posted anything. I did try to get some mason jars but was too late, but am looking around at what we might want to part with, what someone else might be able to use.
And it's all free. That's the best part of all. Free entertainment and free stuff, just running on the honor system and yahoo groups. Find a group in your area at www.freecycle.org. Super, super cool!