It may be the most wonderful time of the year, but there is a growing army of Cambridgeshire folk shunning the consumer frenzy that surrounds the festive season.
With UK advertisers spending an estimated £5.6 billion in the run-up to Christmas, Brits are whipped up into a buying bonanza – with many spending beyond their means.
Until you discover Freecycle. What a greatbrilliant initiative. I know some people have reason to want to realise some cash for their unwanted goods, but many of us just want to get rid of them and find the process less painful because they are going where they are really wanted.
I admit to owning close to 100 pairs of shoes and that I could go for a couple of months of not doing laundry before I’d run out of clean underwear. I live in an age of super abundance, and it is this super abundance that helps organization like The Freecycle Network thrive and keeps Goodwill stores stocked with merchandise. (If you’ve never heard of Freecycle, it is a free member-organization where people post items they have extra of or would like to donate and others post what they need to see if anyone can fulfill that need. The objective is to keep stuff out of landfills.)
A cheaper option may be Gumtree or Freecycle — a website where people give things away. Freecycle is inevitably random — new posts recently ranged from rose bushes and an upright piano to square crockery, 30 bags of plaster and costume jewellery. But while the rain pours down, I have time to wait.
For free second-hand goods: Freecycle
With more than nine million users worldwide currently Freecycle is more of a movement than a website. This non-profit organisation’s main aim is to avoid furniture, clothing and other items becoming landfill waste unnecessarily. Nearly six thousand groups (organised by location) can be found by searching the main Freecycle website’s database and users can list anything they no longer need but deem worthy of re-homing for anyone to claim. It’s recycling at its best and – as the name suggests – entirely free. https://www.freecycle.org
If you want to find a good deal browse online marketplaces such as eBay. Or, if you want to get hold of some stuff for free, check to see if there is a Freecycle (www.freecycle.org) group near you.
Freecycle groups are an easy way to find people near you that give (and receive) free stuff.
Someone in your area may be selling furniture, equipment or décor that you would like to have in your ‘pub shed’.
Ebay and Gumtree are packed full of used sofas, cabinets and coffee tables that you can snap up for as little as £20. Websites such as Free Cycle also have furniture for free – the only catch is that you often have to collect the items yourself.
Not convinced about used furniture? Most of the big furniture companies also sell ex-display models for a huge discount on the original price. These items are often in great condition and almost good-as-new.
I love a good barter. Or a swap. An exchange of services for goods, or goods for goods. Maybe it’s because a good swap almost feels like a freebie.
Recently, I picked up a roll-and-a-half of shed felt – very useful when you have numerous coops and sheds as we do in our wannabe shanty town – from the very lovely Robin, who happens to run a very lovely B&B with his very lovely family.
A few hundred years ago, I put out a plea on the wonderful local Freecycle website, appealing for shed felt. I love Freecycle. I think it’s the ‘free’ part of the word that makes it so appealing.
Moving house is always a long, tiring process with far too many things to think about. There’s not just the house to paint, possessions to pack and the travelling itself – but moving into a house sometimes requires new furniture.
Furniture is never cheap to buy with a brand new comfy sofa costing you upwards of £300 so what can you do? And since we are always been urged to recycle and recycle, we at the Echo challenged ourselves to furnish a house entirely of free second hand furniture.
Recyclers and environment lovers are likely to have heard of Freecycle before, but for those who haven’t it’s the site on which people can offer and request second hand items completely for free.
The Lincoln group had the following offers on Monday June, 29 with which to furnish your house completely for free: