Freecycle is frequently mentioned as a great way to save. This is a quick tutorial on how Freecycle works and how you can help save money and reduce clutter in your home by joining Freecyle.
What is Freecycle?
Freecycle is a way to exchange items for free within a community. You can pick up items for free, give away things you are cleaning out, request something that you need, or help out a fellow Freecycle by giving away something they need that you are no longer using.
Started in 2005 with the basic idea of keeping good items out of the landfill, this Arizona non-profit started off with funding from Waste Management. Freecycle is a Think Global, Act Local organization. Their official tagline: Changing the world one gift at a time.
Members of the local Freecycle group send out an ad via email to the yahoo-group moderator. Items are typically left on a porch or near the home for easy pick-up. The new owner is responsible for driving to the location to get the item. Some members will meet people in a public parking lot to give distribute a bunch of their items at that appointed time & place.
How to Join Freecycle
Freecycle groups are local, based on a town or region since items are picked up personally. Go to www.freecycle.org and see the nearest group and number of members.
The Freecycle Ads
Once you join, you have the option of receiving member’s ads directly to your email or a Daily Digest where you can view the ads online. The number and frequency of ads will depend on your group’s activity level.
You will receive a welcome message from your local group’s moderator on how to place ads, but all groups basically follow the same rules.
In the subject line, place the word OFFER, WANTED, TAKEN, or RECEIVED and a short description of the item. The body of the ad will include more information about the item.
OFFER – the OFFER ad gives something away. The subject line of the email starts with OFFER – and then a short description of the item or items. Take a moment to describe the item in the body of the email.
WANTED – the WANTED ad requests something. The subject line of the email starts with WANTED – and then a description of the item. The more specific you are in describing what you want and why you want it, the more likely another member will realize they have the item to give away.
TAKEN – the TAKEN ad is an edit of your earlier OFFER ad. The subject line is changed to TAKEN with a description of the item once the item is claimed or picked-up.
RECEIVED – the RECEIVED ad is an edit of your earlier WANTED ad. The subject line is changed to RECEIVED with a description of the item. This lets the community know you are no longer need an item. Many Freecyclers will include a nice thank you note.
Responding to Freecycle Ad
When you see the ad or online post for an OFFER or WANTED item, you respond directly to the Giver’s email and only they see your message.
If you want to be selected to receive the item, you’ll have greater success if you mention how you will use the item and how quickly you can pick up the item.
If you are giving away an item on Freecycle, you get to pick the new owner! There’s no rule on how you select who gets your item. You might select the person that describes how they will use the item, the person who lives closest to you, the person that can pick up the quickest, the person that gives away frequently on Freecycle, or the person you might know personally beyond the Freecycle group.
Decluttering Made Easy
Freecycle makes it easy to declutter your home. If the local group is active, an unwanted item can be in its new home within 36 hours of you deciding to give it away! The only effort on your part will be writing & responding to the emails and putting a name tag on the item when placing on your porch.
What Can Be Freecycled?
Items being given away range from pipecleaners to large sofas. Some things will be new and most things still have some life left but need a new home. Food is actually very popular and in demand – a coffee you didn’t like, a gift of candy that will break the diet, etc.
Today’s ads on my Freecycle group include clothing, an mp3 player, plant cuttings, dryer sheets, craft supplies, a sofa & loveseat set, coupons, and costume jewelry.
Tips for Freecycling
Be considerate in your responses. A “Me, Pick Me!” request is a little rude.
Be safe! Go into neighborhoods you know and during daylight hours. If you have any concerns, pick up in pairs so someone is waiting for you in the car.
Be smart! Put items out for pick-up only during daylight hours to prevent falls on your sidewalk or slow driving cars on your street that might concern your neighbors.
Be kind and pick up your items on the day and time you promised.
Be specific. If you only need to borrow the item, mention that in the subject line. We have let Freecyclers borrow our crutches we didn’t want to give away. A fellow Freecycler let my daughter borrow a beautiful red leather jacket to use as a costume in a performance.
One of my fellow Freecyclers sent me this quote: Those who take, eat well. Those who give, sleep well. Sleep well by giving away the things you don’t need – and save money by using things from Freecycle.
How does your Freecycle group work in your community? What are your best Freecycle stories? Leave a comment below!