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Using Freecycle to Commit to Decluttering

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
I don't know if others do this. Most of my decluttered items are donated to the local thrift store on Saturday mornings. I may list some larger items on Freecycle so DH doesn't have to cart them to the thrift store. However, sometimes I'll come across things I'm tempted to keep, even though I know I don't need them or won't use them for at least several years, like my party lite houses. For the next several years I will have small children and won't be able to keep them out. Plus, they were filled with dust because I don't have time to take care of them properly. Several days after making the decision to donate them, I still hadn't boxed them up. I felt stuck, not really wanting to get rid of them and knowing I couldn't keep them. I listed them on Freecycle and a woman emailed me. I told her they were hers, arranged pickup, boxed them up and the next day they were gone. She emailed me to tell me how nice they looked in her window and how much she was enjoying them. I knew I did the right thing.

I also had a box of books on feminist theory that I've outgrown and don't have room for, but I was hesitant to let them go because they were connected to who I was at one time. I listed them, made a commitment to give them away and felt very good about the decision.

Most recently it was 2 nearly full bottles of perfume that weren't "my" scent. My husband bought me a bottle of perfume for our anniversary that I love. I've kept these first 2 bottles of perfume because I paid for them, etc. So I listed them on Freecycle and know that the woman they are going to will enjoy them.

Freecycle has become a tool for my decluttering. I use it mostly for the stuff I might feel inclined to keep if I wait for DH to bring the donated boxes/bags to the thrift store on Saturday, but I also use it for things that they might not be able to sell at the thrift store (like opened bottles of perfume).
post #2 of 8
I had the very annoying experience of trying twice (more than a year apart) to join freecycle in my previous city of residence and being denied both times for not following the instructions (though I did follow them exactly!) I was joining to try and get rid of stuff... ended up listing free on craigslist which worked just fine. I was able to give away a big box of 35mm motion picture film short-ends and a TON of partly used art supplies (to an art teacher! that one made us really happy)... exactly the sort of thing that you are talking about too-- valuable only to someone who wants to use them.
post #3 of 8
I belonged to my local Freecycle for a year, but it was just a pain. People wouldn't come when they said they would (I live in a gated community, so I had to be home in order for them to pick up), people would complain about things (it's free, for heaven's sake!), and my particular list had so many spammers or people asking for inappropriate things (big screen TVs, nice furniture, nice baby items, etc). Not all of my experiences were negative however. I think it's good in theory, but the particular list makes or breaks it, I think. I have a thrift store donation center nearby that has a drive-thru, so I use that now.
post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by emmaegbert View Post
I had the very annoying experience of trying twice (more than a year apart) to join freecycle in my previous city of residence and being denied both times for not following the instructions (though I did follow them exactly!) I was joining to try and get rid of stuff... ended up listing free on craigslist which worked just fine. I was able to give away a big box of 35mm motion picture film short-ends and a TON of partly used art supplies (to an art teacher! that one made us really happy)... exactly the sort of thing that you are talking about too-- valuable only to someone who wants to use them.
I'm sorry you had such a negative experience trying to join Freecycle. It seems like you found something in Craigslist that serves the same purpose, though. It's wonderful to give things to people that can use them, as opposed to throwing them away, or hanging onto them out of guilt of adding to the landfill.
post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by homemademom View Post
I belonged to my local Freecycle for a year, but it was just a pain. People wouldn't come when they said they would (I live in a gated community, so I had to be home in order for them to pick up), people would complain about things (it's free, for heaven's sake!), and my particular list had so many spammers or people asking for inappropriate things (big screen TVs, nice furniture, nice baby items, etc). Not all of my experiences were negative however. I think it's good in theory, but the particular list makes or breaks it, I think. I have a thrift store donation center nearby that has a drive-thru, so I use that now.
I hear about greedy Freecyclers. I just haven't encountered them so far. However, I haven't met them. I leave my stuff on the front porch and have never seen one Freecycler. They've all communicated nicely to me, have picked the items up when they said they would and have sent thank you emails to boot. I may have a different perspective if I encountered rude people, though.

I'd love to have a drive thru thrift store to donate to, but honestly, my DH loves donating to this particular thrift store. He goes there all the time and is a favorite customer. They even wrote about him in their newsletter one time!

I mainly use Freecycle for the instances I wrote about above because it's more stressful for me to list items and arrange pickups than to bag everything and have DH donate it. But there are certainly times Freecycle rocks.
post #6 of 8
I am very glad to hear that it is working for you.

Unfortunately my experience of Freecycle has also been more negative.

I was amazed by the number of people who would email me and ask me to bring the things I was giving to some place or another to give it to them! Like "What time could you meet me at my work in the city?" I was like huh? As if I would be running around catching buses to the city just to give something away!!

I also came across the greedy grabby types, the ones who seemed they were actually not giving things to their children but were going to sell them at the markets, etc...

So I prefer now to throw it all into my first choices the Anglicare bin or the Smith Family bin, with Vinnies as my last choice.
post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 
Maybe it's my local group? I remember when I joined there were lots of rules regarding picking things up and what not. For the most part I only use it to get rid of some things that I'm having a hard time getting rid of, though. Having to post and weed through the replies, arrange pickup and repost that it's been taken requires more energy than I'd like to expend. Mostly, I just want the stuff out. But I couldn't see throwing 2 bottles of nearly new perfume away, so I feel good about freecycling it. Basically, it helps me to release the clutter I might otherwise be inclined to hang on to. Like if I feel I might remove something from the donate pile before Saturday, I'll freecycle it to remove the temptation.

I think my discomfort with freecycle is strangers knowing where I live or knowing my phone number. I've stopped giving my phone number and always have people pick up from the front porch. I live in an apartment building and don't even want them coming to the side porch near my apartment.
post #8 of 8
I just donate to my thrift store. I figure that they are raising money for a good cause and my donations are super helpful.

Sometimes I just place things out on my street/driveway & they are gone quickly.

I don't particularly care for freecycle since I've had a few no shows/rude people & the stuff isn't gone when I want it to be.
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