The internet is awash in digital communities dedicated to the unconditional giving away of unwanted items —Craigslist and the Freecycle Network tops among them. But these folks found and stuck with a different space, one with growing traction in neighborhoods around the country and beloved for its sense of community, its members’ generosity and responsiveness.
A nonprofit organization, Freecycle has local groups all over the world where members can post items they want to give away or request items they need. Everything is free, with the goal of keeping usable items out of landfills.
It’s a feel-good site, in other words. And though items on offer can be hit or miss, if you live in a reasonably populated area, they’re often more hit than not.
Freecycle Network in 2003 when he couldn’t find a place to recycle a perfectly good bed. The website started as a small group of friends and has grown to over 10 million members in 5,000 online communities across 110 countries. Volunteers moderate the groups, and Beal estimates members kept more than 807 million pounds of used items out of landfills in the last year alone.
Summer is a popular time for yard and garage sales, and you can get rid of unwanted stuff you might not need at your new home. Alternatively, you can donate your housewares, books, clothes, and other items to local charity organizations.
The idea behind giveaway groups like Freecycle or Buy Nothing that started in neighborhoods has evolved to travel. It has created an ecosystem within these pay-it-forward movements where travelers pass on free stuff at the end of a trip by sharing the location of the loot on social media.