Do you have an attic full of items you'll never use? Are your chests and drawers filled with barely-worn children's clothing? What are you going to do with all those items you don't want, but are too nice to throw away? You could always host a garage sale, but that takes time and work, and many of us aren't as interested in making the money as we are in cleaning out our houses. So what other options are there? Well, you can always freecycle.
What is freecycle and how does it work? Free cycling is a way of getting rid of those items cluttering up your home, without having to toss them into the trash. It's giving items away to someone who can put them to good use. For instance, look at that old baby stroller that's taking up space in your basement. Except for needing a good cleaning, it's in excellent condition, but you'd rather not throw it in the trash. This is where free cycling comes in handy because you're offering it to the first person who can take it off your hands.
Here's how it works: the Internet yields several freecycle emailing groups. Find one that has a chapter in your neighborhood (an Internet search will list several groups), or general vicinity, and sign up. After that, periodic emails and updates will be sent to your account.
Maybe someone in your group has a box of mystery paper back books they'd like to offer. That person will send an email to everyone on the list with a description of the books, the condition of the books, and where he or she is located. Interested parties will email the owner of the books, who will usually give them away to the first person to respond.
Private emails between the two interested parties will make pick-up arrangements. Once the item is spoken for, the group will be alerted so no more emails will be sent. If you're interested in finding an item, you might also post an email among your group alerting them to this. If someone has this same item to offer, that person will let you know in a private email.
There are certain rules and etiquette to be followed when free cycling. For instance, with most freecycle groups, items should be appropriate for all age groups and should be legal. There's no free cycling of drugs, alcohol or firearms. There's also no spam allowed. If you spam your fellow freecyclers, you're out of the group. Rudeness and personal attacks are also not tolerated.
There are also things to consider when free cycling. The most important thing is safety. Unless you know and trust the person from whom you'll be picking up an item, you may want to arrange to meet to pick up goods rather than go to a stranger's house. Be careful what personal information you offer over emails and when meeting in person. When meeting someone you don't know, always make sure someone else knows whom you will be meeting, where the meeting will take place, the other party's name, email address and any other information you might have.
Something else that's important to note is that if you have a big group, you're going to receive a lot of emails. You may want to get a free email address just to handle only your free cycling emails. Another idea is this: When setting up options for your freecycle account, check off the digest option. This will send one email a day, with all the day's messages posted inside, which is more convenient than wading through about forty or fifty emails.
Free cycling is growing in popularity. At last count, there were over 600,000 freecyclers worldwide! People freecycle anything from small knick-knacks to major appliances, and the price is right. If you're interested in joining a freecycle group or starting your own, just do a search on the Internet and you'll get all of the information you need. Wouldn't you rather give items for which you no longer have any use to someone who can give them a good home?