May 06, 2005

Goats Seek Sofas on Freecycle!

Freecycle - Changing the world, one gift at a time.

Keeping things in use and out of the landfill (or your shed!) is a good thing. When you have something you don't want, you can give it away easily on your local Freecycle list. I'm a member of several local Freecycle groups (they sometimes overlap, and I live near the city limit), and have given away, recieved, and requested things with varying degrees of success.

The kinds of things that change hands include animals, vegetables, and minerals in just about any imaginable condition. Broken appliances get claimed by metal recyclers or repair people. Fabric scraps by quilters. Baby clothes by new parents. Extra food by the unemployed. Knick knacks by people who don't mind dusting. Broken pottery and glass by artists. Bricks, rocks, and plants by gardeners. Upgraded computer gear by trailing-edge computer users. Books, tickets, parts, furniture, linens, building materials, cars, bikes, toys........

Giving away something is the easiest unless the item is truly worthless, described poorly, or has odd terms or attitudes attached. LOL After posting a message you wait for responses. Then contact your first choice of recipient and make arrangements for the transfer.

Getting things from Freecycle is a little more difficult, because when something is posted, many people reply quickly. It helps a lot to tell the giver generally where you are (closer is often better), when you can pick it up (faster is better, or when the giver specifies), your phone number, and even a brief (and truthful!) reason why you want the item. You can also ask the giver to contact you if the people ahead of you change their minds or don't pick up promptly.

Asking for things on Freecycle is, unfortunately, sometimes abused. A few people ask for multiple items (e.g. furnishing entire apartments), or make unrealistic requests (e.g. a new widescreen plasma TV). It's interesting to note that often the offer of a "cool" item is followed by several requests for similar items as people think to themselves "Oh, a free DVD recorder! I want one too." I have responded to requests without successfully giving anything away. In frustration, I often delete "wanted" posts without reading them. Maybe other people do, too, because the couple of requests I made (for oddball items, I admit) received no responses.

Some posts are wonderful entertainment, like this one:

Subject: [freecycleportland] WANTED: *Old* sofas for goat barn

Something you wish you'd already thrown out. Smaller sizes preferred. West Beaverton, NW Portland. My goats are really depressed by all the rainy weather, so I think they'd enjoy a nice comfy sofa, but they'll certainly poop on it, and maybe even pee, so it will have a limited time of toleration, even in a barn.

My local Freecycle lists are very active, so I have filters to sort messages into a couple of folders to make reading (and bulk deleting!) easier.

So if you have something you'd rather not have, Freecycle is an earth-friendly alternative.

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