For those of you who do Freecycle - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 32 Old 01-26-2011, 12:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Have you ever had any luck acquiring items? Every interested response I have ever sent in regards to picking up an item has disappeared into the black hole of nothingness. Nobody has ever responded back. Am I doing something wrong? Is there a science to getting stuff from Freecycle? Are people slipping one another twenties on the side?

I am always polite, and prompt to respond. I can pick stuff up whenever since my schedule is flexible. I'll drive wherever to get stuff. Easy peasy, right? Wtf?
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#2 of 32 Old 01-26-2011, 12:23 PM
 
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I don't do freecycle anymore because of the amount of no shows I've had in the past, but I used to use it a lot.

 

Basically, when I was giving things away I noticed a trend. The same dozen or so people would promptly email me for the item. Like immediately. The same, exact, people. Every time! After a while I started ignoring those who were first and waited until others had a chance to email me and then just picked someone. I wouldn't say there's a science to it or anything, but I'd say the item(s) you're trying to get just have a lot of other people after it, too.

 

Sorry you're not getting any responses. :(


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#3 of 32 Old 01-26-2011, 12:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I don't do freecycle anymore because of the amount of no shows I've had in the past, but I used to use it a lot.

 

Basically, when I was giving things away I noticed a trend. The same dozen or so people would promptly email me for the item. Like immediately. The same, exact, people. Every time! After a while I started ignoring those who were first and waited until others had a chance to email me and then just picked someone. I wouldn't say there's a science to it or anything, but I'd say the item(s) you're trying to get just have a lot of other people after it, too.

 

Sorry you're not getting any responses. :(


Its funny you should say that because I was just talking to DH the other day about how Freecycle seems purpose built for horders. Many of the same people post item offers, and many of those state that the item is a previous Freecycle that didn't work out for them.
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#4 of 32 Old 01-26-2011, 01:14 PM
 
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My freecycle is good :)

the really great items usually get swiped up, but most posters wait a while to gift the items(so you have a chance if you don't live on your computer) and I notice this when I post really good items. 

 

Being polite is usually what freecyclers are looking for, and some like to read a backstory. usually when I tell them what I plan to use the items for, I get them. 

 

But yeah, most of the stuff just collects in the house. :( Personally, I keep a look out for fabric(including clothing), sewing stuff, containers, or things that can be used to plant things in for my balcony garden. They're not usually things that other people want.

 

and I never expect a response unless I'm being gifted anything, because you rarely get one. I've noticed that when an item is really in high demand, you get way too many responses to it to send replies back.


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#5 of 32 Old 01-26-2011, 01:16 PM
 
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I really only give stuff away with it.  And honestly, most of the time it is just easier for me to give it to Goodwill then post and then arrange a meeting time with someone.  And if it is something really good, I'll tell my facebook friends and see if any of them want it, and then give it to Goodwill.

 

Every time I try to get stuff, I generally get an e-mail back to that effect.  I also do not have the time to stalk freecycle, which here, that is what it takes to get anything that I would want.


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#6 of 32 Old 01-26-2011, 02:25 PM
 
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OP, do you post many offers? I'm doing a big clean out right now, and I try to give stuff to people who are also active in the group. I usually get ten or so replies to each item, which is too many to send individual replies to.

 

I hardly ever get any thing from FC, either.


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#7 of 32 Old 01-26-2011, 02:36 PM
 
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I have some beautiful houseplants and a baby carrier for hiking that we got from FC. This was during a period when DH and I basically babysat FC and were the first responders to a couple of ads. We have given away a lot of stuff on the same list and like a PP, we had to start ignoring certain people because they were always the first to respond to our offers, no matter what they were. DH suspected one person in particular of taking our items to re-sell on Ebay because they always immediately responded to any random item that we said was new in the package.

 

You have to be pretty quick on the draw to get anything from an FC list that has a reasonable amount of activity on it! 

 

When we post offers, we don't respond individually to people who asked for it, we just post back to the group saying that it's been taken and thanks for their interest. We don't have time to email every person individually.

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#8 of 32 Old 01-26-2011, 02:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I don't expect to be e-mailed by every person I respond to. What I am baffled by is that I have never, ever, in the two years I have been babysitting Freecycle, been "chosen" to receive an item. Which I find very strange. And I am about done because it just seems sooooo not worth it.

I do use Freecycle to get rid of stuff. I think I am lucky because I have never had a no-show.
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#9 of 32 Old 01-26-2011, 03:48 PM
 
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Our list has 700-ish people. When I post something in demand (baby clothes usually), I'll get 50 or so responses. Many times those responses are within 1-2 minutes of making the post. (I also notice the trend of it being the same people every single time.) It's overwhelming and why I prefer not FC and to use Goodwill or my personal email list first.

 

I don't care about back story. I'd rather not get it, to be honest, because (and yes, this sounds horrible), I'd rather you not expect that I care that you're asking for my toddler clothes because your 16-year-old daughter is pregnant by her irresponsible (duh!) boyfriend and you're going to be raising the child. (That's a real story I had. I'm not making it up for effect.) Then this woman picked her items up and wanted to talk to me about this impending grandchild and actually said (of her dd's pregnancy), "but what can you do? These things happen." Holy cow. I have no appropriate response for that, ya know. I know what I'm thinking. I know how I'd feel if my 16YO daughter said she was pg, but I don't want to go into that with the woman who's picking up my FC highchair.  

 

OT - but I also noticed frequent "items wanted" posts from people. These were often the same people who emailed instantaneously that they'd take whatever I had. One woman wanted everything for free. She posted that she'd moved into an apartment and needed every single item for her living room, dining room, and bathroom. Oh, and she had certain themes & colors she preferred, so if anyone had the green seahorse bath theme she saw at Target, she'd love it! That was so bizarre to me. I can't imagine posting things that specific and just...greedy there. 


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#10 of 32 Old 01-26-2011, 04:10 PM
 
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I freecycle and have gotten some amazing things! Fabrics, yarns, scrapbooking stuff, it's great! Chances are you just aren't quick enough on the draw. I think there's a delay in the email's being sent. You gotta be fast! Perhaps go to the actual site.


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#11 of 32 Old 01-26-2011, 04:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by bcblondie View Post

I freecycle and have gotten some amazing things! Fabrics, yarns, scrapbooking stuff, it's great! Chances are you just aren't quick enough on the draw. I think there's a delay in the email's being sent. You gotta be fast! Perhaps go to the actual site.


If it takes being a first responder than its never going to happen. I don't want the stuff bad enough to be checking the site every two minutes. I might as well just erase my membership now.
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#12 of 32 Old 01-26-2011, 04:17 PM
 
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Quote:
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I freecycle and have gotten some amazing things! Fabrics, yarns, scrapbooking stuff, it's great! Chances are you just aren't quick enough on the draw. I think there's a delay in the email's being sent. You gotta be fast! Perhaps go to the actual site.




If it takes being a first responder than its never going to happen. I don't want the stuff bad enough to be checking the site every two minutes. I might as well just erase my membership now.



Most people do give it to the first person to reply, yes. SOemtimes preference is given to those who will pick up sooner/ take all. But I'm sure you've seen that in posts.

Do you get the emails? They may lag sometimes but I'm online a lot so if i get an email for something while I'm online, if I want it, I reply right away.

ETA. I probably actually receive the item about 25% of the time. Even if I'm quick to reply. There are a lot of other people online right now competing with me!


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#13 of 32 Old 01-26-2011, 04:57 PM
 
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I never got anything for a long time, until I started checking that email account way more often... not every 2 minutes, but once an hour or so. I'm on the computer constantly anyway for work so it only takes me a couple seconds to check it.

 

I only give items I list to people who have very specific responses. So if they say, "I'll take it" - not even getting a reply from me. If they say something like, "I'm really interested, I can come by tomorrow around 3pm, here's my phone number," then they get the item. I'm not looking for a story so much as a commitment to pick the items up. (I've gotten TONS of no-shows, to the point that I now only Freecycle items I can't donate for whatever reason, and I've found one of the best signs of showing up is a very specific email.)

 

Oh also I get a lot of items by posting "wanted" -- and definitely not picky or excessive -- I can't believe some of the requests I've seen, from "ipod" to "running car in good condition" to "any baby items" (the last from a woman who has apparently been pregnant for the last 3 years or something, because every. single. month. she is asking for any & all baby stuff -- I suspect she's reselling). I usually request things like "sandbox - any condition" and make very clear that I am willing to repair/refinish/dig out/transport/etc. the item. I almost always get responses to that (and I post a 'wanted' maybe once every 3-4 months).


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#14 of 32 Old 01-26-2011, 05:59 PM
 
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It is probably just that the person had a million responses. That is what happens to me. And the weirdest part is a lot of them are rude! And yes you do get no shows. I usually only do "curb alerts" unless it is something good and then I always screen for the most polite person, lol! But yea, you probably never hear back because the person has too many responses and doesn't want to reply to everyone. I am also convinced that there are a bunch of people to respond to just about every ad and they do it super fast, they are probably taking the stuff to sell it.

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#15 of 32 Old 01-26-2011, 09:01 PM
 
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Oh also I get a lot of items by posting "wanted" -- and definitely not picky or excessive -- I can't believe some of the requests I've seen, from "ipod" to "running car in good condition" to "any baby items" (the last from a woman who has apparently been pregnant for the last 3 years or something, because every. single. month. she is asking for any & all baby stuff -- I suspect she's reselling). I usually request things like "sandbox - any condition" and make very clear that I am willing to repair/refinish/dig out/transport/etc. the item. I almost always get responses to that (and I post a 'wanted' maybe once every 3-4 months).


I was just going to post about people asking for running cars! Uh, seriously? Someone even asked for a late 90s or early 2000s VW or Volvo in running condition because her car was in an accident. Wow. Don't these people realize that if they've never seen a "received: running car" post that nobody is giving away a car???

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#16 of 32 Old 01-26-2011, 09:12 PM
 
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I stopped using Freecycle because I got tired of no shows for things I listed- now I just donate our clothing and things of that nature to the local shelter. When I was using freecycle, I was fortunate enough to receive a really sweet hand operated egg beater and a wooden rocking horse for DS : ) 


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#17 of 32 Old 01-26-2011, 10:52 PM
 
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Me too. I always ask in my offer that the person specifiy in their email to me when they can collect the item. If they don't state that in their email to me, I just delete it. In terms of small, non-furniture items, it is so much easier to donate to a charity rather than Free Cycle, so I feel all parties need to do what they can to make the experience smooth and pleasant for all involved.
 

Quote:
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I only give items I list to people who have very specific responses. So if they say, "I'll take it" - not even getting a reply from me. If they say something like, "I'm really interested, I can come by tomorrow around 3pm, here's my phone number," then they get the item. I'm not looking for a story so much as a commitment to pick the items up. (I've gotten TONS of no-shows, to the point that I now only Freecycle items I can't donate for whatever reason, and I've found one of the best signs of showing up is a very specific email.)


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#18 of 32 Old 01-27-2011, 12:43 AM
 
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I'm with you. I've given a lot of things away, but I've yet to be chosen to receive an item. I'm always polite when I respond, but I don't live on Freecycle and usually by the time I see an item has been posted (the day the email goes out), it's already been given away.

 

I used to give to the first person who responded, but then I decided to wait until the next day to see how many other folks responded and what their needs for the item were. For example, does someone just want an "extra" TV or do they not have one?

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#19 of 32 Old 01-27-2011, 06:59 AM
 
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I echo what PP's have said. The few times I've responded to an offer I've never gotten a response. It does seem like to have to stalk your list to actually receive anything. I recently offered a vacuum and I got close to 40 responses within a hour. 

 

My FC list seems to have the same 10 or so people who list regularly for offers and they're gone very quickly. However, the wanted posts far outweigh the offers and most of them are for specific, big ticket items. I regularly see people seeking appliances, cell phones, kindles, and furniture. One person recently was looking for Bears tickets for the playoff game (these tickets cost about 1500 per person). eyesroll.gif


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#20 of 32 Old 01-28-2011, 06:22 PM
 
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I used to use Freecycle quite a bit when I lived in the city - mostly to give things away.  I usually used it to give things that were maybe slightly flawed, so I didn't feel I could donate them, but I was hoping to keep them from the landfill (and I was always honest and clear about the flaws!).  Things like kids clothes with small stains or holes (but great for playclothes!) or worn out towels that could be used for rags (went to a woman who wanted them for a preschool to wipe down the playground equipment) or partially used paints/stains/etc (went to a couple completely remodeling their home). 

 

I never minded a tiny bit of 'story' - meaning, if someone just said "I'd love to use this for X".  I liked that someone had an intended purpose for the thing, instead of just those handful of people that will respond to *everything*.   I learned to wait a little at least and see what came up.  Whenever I responded to ads, I did something similar - like "I'd love that for my daughter's room!"  or "That would be great in my garden!" ....Not a big story, but letting the person know I really intended to use the item for something.  Also, being clear about when you are available to pick up the item is HUGE!!!

 

That said, I think I only ever got a few things from Freecycle, and those were usually things I posted a "wanted" for.  Right now I am seeing out of the corner of my eye a step stool I asked for.  I remember when DD was between 2-3 and wanting to use the sink herself, I was trying to find one, and offended by the cost of buying a new one  LOL.  I posted that I needed one for my child who was ready to use the sink herself.  Someone in my neighborhood responded, who had now grown kids and gave me the stool that had been theirs.  :)

 

I kind of miss it actually.  Now that I am in a more rural area, it doesn't make sense to have people drive to your place.   Instead I take everything to a great local thrift store that is associated with the food bank.  Haven't quite figured out what to do with the slightly flawed items though!!


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#21 of 32 Old 01-30-2011, 09:56 PM
 
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We've received some great items off Freecycle, but like previous posters, it's always been when we post a non-specific wanted ad for it. We got our X-mas tree from there just last month.

 

When we give things away on there, I always pick the most polite and specific person, especially when they say what they'll use it for. I tend to ignore sob stories though, where it really seems like they're playing things up and exaggerating. I've met some really cool and totally not greedy people from there, feels good making people happy and keeping stuff out of land-fills, especially fixer-upper stuff.

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#22 of 32 Old 01-30-2011, 10:25 PM
 
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be polite and modest. and above all state exactly when you can pick up within a two hour time frame. this is the norm. when i'm giving something away, i want to know exactly when you are coming to get it. this is more important to me than anything else. i will choose the person who suggests a pick up time that is most convenient for me.

 

and don't forget to say thank you! for considering my request to pick up, and for offering in the first place!


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#23 of 32 Old 02-02-2011, 09:03 AM
 
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Quote:

I never minded a tiny bit of 'story' - meaning, if someone just said "I'd love to use this for X".  I liked that someone had an intended purpose for the thing, instead of just those handful of people that will respond to *everything*.   I learned to wait a little at least and see what came up.  Whenever I responded to ads, I did something similar - like "I'd love that for my daughter's room!"  or "That would be great in my garden!" ....Not a big story, but letting the person know I really intended to use the item for something.  Also, being clear about when you are available to pick up the item is HUGE!!!

I think this sums it up for me. Being clear about a pick up time is a big one for me. I tend to find that people who say they can collect whenever don't seem to be as serious about collecting. I think all my no shows have been the I can collect whenever set.

 

I also appreciate it when people make it clear they understand the condition of the item, letting me know they have a handy DH or don't mind that the kids bike is a bit rusty as they will have to keep it outside.

I do think each group has a different "feel" to it. I belong to 3, since the city wide one got very big and people started setting up smaller more local groups.

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#24 of 32 Old 02-02-2011, 10:50 AM
 
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A lot of people get notifications on there phones and so they can respond quicker than those relying on having to check a computer.  I can only check back on a computer so I look at the time the item was posted to resalize what my chances are of being able to p/u an item.  Most people do not have time to respond back.  Another thing to look at it to make sure it does not say the item has been "taken" later down in the list of postings.  I keep responding and am able to p/u I just do not get set on anything I respond to.  I also really make sure that I will be able to p/u the item.

 

Good Luck.

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#25 of 32 Old 02-08-2011, 09:20 AM
 
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A lot of people get notifications on there phones and so they can respond quicker than those relying on having to check a computer.  I can only check back on a computer so I look at the time the item was posted to resalize what my chances are of being able to p/u an item.  Most people do not have time to respond back.  Another thing to look at it to make sure it does not say the item has been "taken" later down in the list of postings.  I keep responding and am able to p/u I just do not get set on anything I respond to.  I also really make sure that I will be able to p/u the item.

 

Good Luck.

 

I think this is how ours is. People literally email me within 1 minute of posting something on the list from their phone, it's crazy!  So when I'm giving stuff away, I will have 1-2 dozen emails withing 5 minutes. If someone can come right away, I give it to them first. I feel kinda bad for the people who don't see the offer until later that day or the next - they have no chance of getting anything!

 

But I'm like you, I've never gotten anything, because I don't check very frequently. I don't mind though, I"m more into giving stuff away and having someone come pick it up for free! I haven't seen too many things on our local list that I want/need.
 


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#26 of 32 Old 02-08-2011, 09:39 AM
 
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We give away a lot more than we get. I have received 2 wonderful things from Freecycle. That's where I got my compost bin and a full set of blades for my cuisinart food processor.

I think there is an art to writing the response. I want responses that are polite and specific. I also like a little more information, but one or two sentences is plenty. I do not want to hear a sob story. I ignore those. I also want someone to tell me that they can pick it up within a day or two. I also usually wait at least 12 hours before deciding which person to give the item to. I read through the acceptable responses and look for the one I think will really pick it up. I would say that works for me 9 out of 10 times.

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#27 of 32 Old 02-08-2011, 11:26 AM
 
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I have given several things away on freecycle and received a few things as well. I also a lot of times offer things up to others first such as a few parents I know.

 

I put on my email, prompt pickup gets first priority.


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#28 of 32 Old 02-08-2011, 01:29 PM
 
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Ditto what others said about being polite. Full sentences and a specific time frame help too. I have been on the same list for 4 years and when I get multiple responses I tend to go with folks whose email addresses I recognize (why give more people my address if I don't need to) first.

 

As far as getting stuff - YES, we gotten lots of great stuff - PVC building set, compost bin, kitchen table & chairs, toys & crafts, clothes for DD and me, costumes for dress up, fish tank, dishwasher, pet rats with cage, lamps, tea kettle, sandbox and assorted other things over the years. We live in a pretty wealthy county and there are a lot of folks with nice things that they don't need anymore. For big items I include my phone number and mention how to plan to transport the item in my request. 

 

My biggest complaint about Freecycle is no shows, which is why more and more of my stuff gets donated to thrift stores these days. Freecycle is great for creative reuse type items that can't be donated though.


mom to a 7 year old lego fanatic and a 5 year old cross dresser
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#29 of 32 Old 02-09-2011, 07:03 AM
 
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Originally Posted by jtbuko View Post

Ditto what others said about being polite. Full sentences and a specific time frame help too. I have been on the same list for 4 years and when I get multiple responses I tend to go with folks whose email addresses I recognize (why give more people my address if I don't need to) first.

 

As far as getting stuff - YES, we gotten lots of great stuff - PVC building set, compost bin, kitchen table & chairs, toys & crafts, clothes for DD and me, costumes for dress up, fish tank, dishwasher, pet rats with cage, lamps, tea kettle, sandbox and assorted other things over the years. We live in a pretty wealthy county and there are a lot of folks with nice things that they don't need anymore. For big items I include my phone number and mention how to plan to transport the item in my request. 

 

My biggest complaint about Freecycle is no shows, which is why more and more of my stuff gets donated to thrift stores these days. Freecycle is great for creative reuse type items that can't be donated though.

That was the real reason behind Freecycle. The idea was, things like leftover drywall cannot be donated, but if you have some patch work, you could use that piece of drywall.  When I started the prompt pickup in my email, I noticed it meant the person picked it up within 5-8 hours. When I said yes picking up this weekend is fine but then the person forgets, well then I have to re list it and it starts again. I also ignore sob stories but I noticed the monitors usually nab them and remove them. I put out a wanted a few years ago for a specific costume. I got it, plus a few months later this person after realizing I had a daughter a few years younger than hers I might want other things. She gave me a bag of wonderful clothes that both my kids enjoyed. I have done this as well with others since it worked out so well.

 


"The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly out distances us."
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#30 of 32 Old 02-11-2011, 10:47 PM
 
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I just gave away 4 bags of fabric on Freecycle today... I was decluttering my sewing niche (long overdue) and had heaps of scraps, including some fairly big pieces (1-2 metres) and some small but nice bits of quilting cottons. I got four responses within about 5 minutes, then hastily posted a "Taken" to avoid more!

 

Our group's not too bad, partly because the concept of Freecycle hasn't caught on to mainstream NZ, so it's not a huge list. The moderators do occasionally have to send emails reminding people not to ask for absurdly expensive items, though ("Wanted: Fridge/freezer and washing machine"), and suggesting that it's rude to ask and ask without ever offering anything.

 

I've scored a few good items - two packets of brand-new fancyish darts, right when DH was saying he needed some new ones; and some nice big ceramic pots for the garden. I try to be polite and indicate a willingness to pick things up promptly. I don't always get what I want, but that's OK!

 

What annoys me a bit is when a big item is offered without any description. I know it's not Ebay, but how many people are going to want "a couch"? Just "a couch", with no indication of colour or size or condition? I certainly don't want to go all the way across town, hire a trailer, etc, to get some cigarette-smelling maggot-ridden 70s couch in mustard yellow with ripped seat cushions... you know? I've always wondered if those offers get any responses at all. So I try to be specific when I offer items (like, with the fabric, I mentioned the kinds of fabric, the range of sizes of the pieces, and so on - just enough to indicate that I wasn't getting rid of 4 bags of red burlap, or 4 bags of uncut lengths of French silk either!).


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