3. SEEK SECONDHAND GOODS
When you choose previously owned items, you aren’t contributing to the labor and materials needed to make new goods. Check thrift shops, garage sales and community groups like the Freecycle Network for inexpensive — or free — finds. Another sustainable solution? Rent clothes through services like Tote and Rent the Runway.
• The Freecycle Network: This forum emphasizes keeping items out of landfills, so members give away unwanted items, rather than pitch them. Search Freecycle.org to find a group near you.
The city advises planning ahead. “Don’t wait until the last minute and then throw everything in the garbage or our streets,” it said in the advisory.
Items can also be taken directly to the city Transfer Station at 1201 Second St.
Recycle acceptable items and use sites such as Craigslist, Freecycle or Nextdoor to find takers for items that can legitimately be re-used.
I’ve been a part of the Freecycle group for over a decade. For seven years now we have been doing an “adopt-a-family” event at Christmas.
What we do is find families in need and “adopt” them. Then, with the help of others in the Freecycle group, friends, family and local businesses, we get donations of gently used and new clothing and toys.
Once everything is gathered we have a wrapping party. All the gifts are sorted and wrapped. A few days before Christmas we deliver to the families.
For some it is a little uncomfortable or embarrassing when we arrive. It isn’t easy asking for help. But they relax as we are there.
We usually have the kids open one present and they can save the rest for Christmas morning.
This year we did something different and picked two senior citizens, sometimes a forgotten part of or community, especially if they do not have living family.
The point of the Simi Valley Freecycle group is to keep things out of the landfill by recycling & repurposing.
—Freecycle Day Sept. 15: Freecycle helps reduce waste by connecting people who are throwing away unwanted items with others seeking the same items. There are freecycle groups in both Morgan Hill and Gilroy. Visit trashnothing.com and click “Join Now” to sign up.
Freecycle – Freecycle is a grassroots organization built on the idea of people in an area giving away stuff for free that they don’t need. The network has gotten extremely large and can be a great place to find stuff, including boxes for moving. You need to sign up first and then post what you are looking for.
5. The Freecycle Network
The Freecycle Network is made up of nearly 9 million members worldwide. It is dedicated to enabling members to get and give stuff for free in order to put goods to their most efficient use — and keep usable items out of landfills. This nonprofit describes itself as a “grassroots movement,” and local volunteer moderators help handle network activity to keep exchanges safe and posts accurate. Membership is free.
. Join the Freecycle Movement
The Freecycling movement has been around for more than a decade now, and it’s the act of giving away your stuff instead of throwing it away. It’s a huge money saver; the idea is that you’re not spending money on things you don’t need. Instead, you’re recycling (or freecycling) them.
To get started, you can check out one of the many freecycling organizations out there — The Freecycle Network, FreeSharing and FreeUse — and see if there are meetings in your area.
Your trash, someone’s treasure
Lisa Mark of the Time Butler (www.thetimebutler.com) cautions that selling slows down the purging process. She encourages clients to donate. Some favorite sites:
The Freecycle Network, as well as the free lists on Craigslist. Bonus: Items listed tend to go fairly quickly. www.freecycle.org, www.craigslist.com
Before the Internet, you had a few choices for offloading unwanted stuff, including garage sales, donating it to a charity or tossing it.
But Craigslist, Freecycle and similar websites have given us another option: offering up waste to complete strangers, which is at least better than adding to landfills and may help someone in need if that someone happens to need a bag full of used wine corks.