If you’d like to share with people in your local community, consider groups like the Freecycle Network and BuyNothing (search Facebook Groups for one nearby). Freecycle, for instance, has more than 5,000 local groups worldwide, where members give and get free items.
“The window air conditioner you’re replacing with a new one is basically trash to you but could change someone else’s life,“ says Freecycle’s founder, Deron Beal. (These donations don’t qualify as charitable deductions.)
For giveaways only, Freecycle is a service that introduces local people who have stuff to other local people who want that stuff. Once you find your community Freecycle through the main site, you are instructed on how to advertise what you are giving away. Freecycle sends out your email to all of its subscribers and anyone who wants the object replies. Their email is pushed to your personal email, and after that, it’s up to you to contact the person and arrange for the giveaway. And you’ve made two people happy — you and the lucky recipient.
Alina Clark is about as tired of her pandemic wardrobe as her comfort clothes are stretched and torn.
“I have four sets of jeans, seven shirts and five sweaters that I wear every week,” said Clark, co-founder of a software development company in Los Angeles. “They’re everything I’ve worn in the last two years. Me and my wardrobe are suffering from COVID fatigue.”
These two have been around for decades, and both have a feast-or-famine reputation: You’re either lucky enough to live where there’s a great group offering great things, or you live in a place where people try to unload some pretty awful stuff. (Fun fact: A guy in Fairbanks, Alaska, advertised free dog poop — “You shovel, you haul.”)
Old photographs of immigrant ancestors or a city scene might interest historical or genealogical societies. Interesting or vintage photos could also find a new home through Freecycle. If the photos have the right appeal, a stock photo company, like Adobe Stock, might even pay for them.
When possible, reuse is even better than recycling. If the toys are still in good condition, passing them along to a younger child or offering them on Freecycle are good options. If they’re like-new or collectibles, selling them on Craig’s List or eBay is an option. Even items that aren’t in the best shape may attract a buyer; I saw a “Drowsy Doll” like I used to have on eBay — it sure brought back memories!
Those not tempted by a cracked bowling ball might consider the myriad other items offered for free on websites including Craigslist, Facebook and Freecycle. Recent offerings include bathing dust for chinchillas, 23 empty beer bottles, a barrel of used soybean oil, five single-serving packets of Arby’s sauce and a Mongolian-language version of the Book of Mormon.
Freecycle is an online recycling and reuse network that focuses on keeping useable home items out of landfills. By joining a local chapter in your area, you can list your stuff online for others in your community to take. All items listed on Freecycle are free with no strings attached. The network strives to reducewaste and saves precious resources.