Save Money with Freecycling

Want to get something for nothing at all? Take advantage of freecycling… and pass on unwanted items the same way

When it comes to saving money, nothing beats free — which is why freecycling is on the rise. Basically, this is a formalized system of what people have been doing forever: giving away things they don’t want to anyone who does want.

The Internet has made sharing free stuff easier than ever, and people have taken to it like ducks to water. Intrigued? Me too. Let’s check it out.

The Movement

You’d be surprised what people are willing to throw away when they don’t want or need it anymore. But as the saying goes, one person’s trash is another’s treasure, which is why the freecycling movement is growing with leaps and bounds, now that the technology’s there to support it.

You can always “curb crawl,” driving around looking for old furniture and such, and to be frank Your Humble Writer has scored some pretty good things that way. I’ve also had other things taken off my hands by others doing the same. But freecycling is easier, especially when you’re looking for something specific.

The Basics

As with most green initiatives, the reasoning behind the freecycling movement is high-minded: passing things on to others frees up landfill space (which is always in great demand) and decreases the need to manufacture new items. That’s fair enough.

So what can you freecycle? Anything that isn’t too worn out… and even some stuff that is. You can freecycle buildings, tools, lumber, appliances, furniture, clothing, toys, games, swing sets, collectibles, books… the list is endless.

Even some out-and-out junk can be freecycled. Some items may have artistic value for a sculptor, for example, and just about anything metal will be taken off your hands so the recipient can sell it to a recycling center.

How Do I Get Started?

Go online, find a group, and learn the etiquette. Popular groups include The Freecycle Network, Free Mesa, and the FreeUse Network, just for starters. You can even try Craigslist. Or, to find a freecycle group in your area, check the Recycling Group finder Site.

After that, sign up and get active. If you need to buy something, think of your freecycle group first; you may very well find an ideal (and free) item on offer.
Similarly, if you’ve got something that’s just got to go, put it up on your favorite freebie site, add a picture, and set it free.

A Little Old Fashioned Karma

As they say, what goes around comes around. It’s almost a crime to throw away something someone else can use, and hey, you can’t keep it in your garage forever. All in all, freecycling fits perfectly into the frugal lifestyle, and it’s good for your peace of mind, too.