This Ain’t No Free for All

It may not be, but it sure feels like it. I almost don’t want to tell you about it because the more people who know, the less there is for me. Well, I’m not selfish (unless I have cupcakes) and my mommy taught me to share, so this is my “gift” to you.

The Freecycle™ Network is a non-profit organization founded in Arizona by Deron Beal. Since its 2003 inception, it has gone from a handful of 30 to 40 members to a current network of millions who participate from more than 75 countries. They simply want “to build a worldwide gifting movement that reduces waste, saves precious resources and eases the burden on our landfills while enabling our members to benefit from the strength of a larger community.”

Rather than disposing of no longer used items into the garbage that will more than likely end up in a landfill, they are “gifting” them to others who may find a use. I have been a member of the Freecycle™ Network for more than one year and have seen some quality items including full furniture sets, electronics (televisions, video games, etc.), and more being offered. I have also seen some, what I would consider outrageous, requests for items being made and later seeing the need get answered.

I don’t know if it is the sign of the financial times or a growing obsession, but you can now find me sitting at my computer and every few minutes clicking over to check my E-mail, which is how offered items are announced, to be sure not to miss something new becoming available. I have seen some great items (ones I really could have used) come through only to miss getting them because another quick keyboard-keying Freecycler responded before me. Sometimes I feel like a broker on Wall Street – you’ve got to respond quickly because a loss can occur in a matter of seconds.

I missed this wonderful rocking horse by minutes only to learn a few hours later that I was the “winner,” or at least I felt like one. My youngest son (along with his older siblings) has been enjoying the new rocker. This…

…became this. Not too bad for a freebie and a little time sprucing up!

Another thing about gifting your items through the network is that you get to actually give them to the people who are being helped by your generosity rather than it being delivered by a third party.

As I said, this isn’t a free for all, but rather a community of people who are helping each other (another’s “trash” or no longer needed can be someone’s treasure) while also promoting reuse and environmental sustainability. Learn more about Freecycle™ and also join a network near you. Hey, it’s FREE!

Mommy Note: Always be conscious of safety when meeting to exchange your items. If you prefer to not make an exchange at a home, then consider meeting up somewhere on a day when you’re running errands.

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