As I mentioned in my last post, I am on a house-clearing rampage spurred by the realization that we will (gulp!) have to move in less than 2 months (now that I say that, I need to go scream…. Ok, sorry, I’m back now). This means I’ve gotten more active in my local FreeCycle and Buy Nothing groups. Not familiar with the concept? Members of the group post whatever items they want to get rid of, and other people get to claim them. Pretty simple, right? The only rule is that the item must be free. You cannot ask for anything in trade, barter, payment, services, etc.
What has surprised me over the months is what stuff some people are willing to give away – rather than deal with the hassle of reselling, and more, what people will take! Half-empty bottles of toiletries and opened packets of food from strangers. Dirty clothes. Broken furniture. Plastic bags. Anything you’ve got, SOMEONE will take! It’s really quite admirable what people are managing to find new lives and new uses for. I’m very impressed by their efforts to wring every last drop of use from something before it goes to that Great Junkyard in the sky.
It has encouraged me to go through my stuff and be more aggressive in cleaning and paring down of STUFF. But I will say this…It is a pain to photograph, post, monitor, and schedule pickups for everything! This is definitely something you do because you believe, not because it’s faster or easier than a drive-by drop at the local thrift store. It can be very rewarding though. Yesterday I got a little end table from one lady, saw at once that it wasn’t what I was expecting and was much more damaged than I’d thought. Didn’t know what to do with it now, but my next stop – picking up some plants and art supplies, I noticed she had quite a little potting area set up. I offered her the table, and she thought it was great…so did her adorable little daughter, who promptly appropriated it for herself. But it was a win-win, and I was thrilled to play matchmaker. A bunch of plastic bags I’d saved up for a while now has a new home at a food bank. A ton of clothes and shoes that I’ve barely worn and just weren’t my style, along with some sanitary supplies, little shampoos and such, etc. will be going to a shelter for battered women.
What do you do with your old stuff? Do you have one of these groups in your area?