Tuesday, 10 March 2009


This is a worldwide movement based on Yahoo Groups.

The UK homepage is here.

But I haven’t told you why you would want to know about Freecycle.

Freecycle allows you to find the person who wants something you have but don’t want. The movement is based on reducing landfill. You advertise what you have that you don’t want and you will be emailed by people who would like it. You can also ask for things but I will come to that later.

What can you Freecycle? Almost anything legal, decent and safe although most groups seem to ban the offering of animals.

What should you Freecycle? This is a different question and the answers are my opinions. I freecycle anything large, useful and difficult to sell/rehome. So far this has included carpets after we had an extension built and all the rooms had grown too big for the carpets. In the same wave we found new owners for all the curtain rails, curtains and window blinds that were no longer any use to us. I’ve also Freecycled old software, computer components, jam jars, garden plants, audio cassette tapes and, best of all, most of my old fitted kitchen! I’ve received underbed drawers and a bag full of knitting yarn among other things.
Other items which go well are furniture, computer peripherals when you have upgraded, electrical goods & building materials.

When I decide whether to post something on Freecycle I ask myself these questions

1. Can I sell this & is the likely price worth the effort?
2. Will a charity shop be likely to sell this?
3. Is there any chance anyone will want this?

If the answers are No, No & Yes, then I put it on my local Freecycle.

If there are no replies, then it is often worth putting it on again a few weeks later and at a different time of the week. Also, if you live at the edge of a Freecycle group’s area, join the next one and post it there. Different things go well in different areas.

Often you will get just one reply but deciding who gets a popular item is entirely up to the original owner.

Items should be collected by the receiver and it is important to turn up when you said you would and to be polite (the words “Thank You” are sometimes strangely absent, I’m told, though all my collectors have said them). There should be no charge at all.

Although it is not really in the spirit of the blog, I can’t resist making some observations about Wanted posts. These are controversial. Most reasonable people can tell the ones that should be banned as soon as they read them (Wanted – Laptop(windows XP or better)…) and the sensible ones (Wanted – 3’ of worktop, any colour, for my garage), but it is very difficult to write rules for this. I just ignore most of them and it may be best for your blood pressure if you do the same.

To sum up, Freecycle is a great weapon in the Decluttering War as it is more satisfactory to get rid of something to someone who wants it than just to pitch it out.

P.S. Tell any tradesmen working on your house about Freecycle. They are constantly removing useful items from homes and can encourage Freecycling. It is in their interests, too, as Trade Waste must be paid for at the tip. The basin and loo from our old bathroom were wanted by 6 people inside an hour of posting. The Thermostatic shower control was similarly popular and the window blind and mirror have also been rehomed.

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