How much clutter do you have in your house? Be honest. It’s hard to say, isn’t it?
Unless you are one of those outstanding individuals who lives with 13, 37, or 42 things. Then, I’m going to do the math for you. Zero. The answer is zero. You have no clutter.
But if you are like most of the Western world, you have too much stuff. I know I do. Maybe you’ve tried your hand at selling online. Maybe you’ve even used Craigslist or hosted a garage sale. What do you do with the stuff that won’t budge?
Don’t give it to Goodwill.
You read that right.
It’s nothing personal. Well, maybe it is. Goodwill fat cats pull in huge salaries while some of their workers get paid pennies. It’s perfectly legal. It’s also supremely lousy.
Goodwill also has to toss a lot of what gets donated. But that’s less on Goodwill and more on us as consumers. We buy way too much to begin with (guilty as charged) and then treat the drop offs like garbage cans.
As someone who once thought of a Goodwill drop box as a perfectly convenient solution to my stuff, I was stymied with stuff. Until I found Freecycle. Now, a decluttering match made in heaven is happening in my inbox.
Freecycle functions exactly like Craigslist or OfferUp. People post offers and people claim them. The catch is exactly zero dollars are exchanged. Instead, people gift things to random Internet strangers.
(A quick caveat: There aren’t any tax write-offs for these warm feelies. You’ll have to be satisfied that you’ve going green and can, you know, see your basement floor now.)
I had heard Freecycle mentioned here and there as an option, but I hadn’t really seen any in-depth posts on what actually works for Freecycle. I started posting a few pieces of clothing that I knew wouldn’t fetch more than a few pennies but still had a lot of life left in them. No surprise there. But the amount of things that I’ve been able to list and have been met with tons of enthusiasm inspired me to share all the details with you.
Before you throw things out, before you ignore my plea not to simply drop off another bag a Goodwill, check out what I’ve rehomed. Chances are, some of it will surprise you.
What I’ve Freecycled So Far
Women’s clothing – An assorted bundle of tops. Nothing fancy or designer, but nothing with stains or snags. I did post a photo that went along with it.
Scarves – A bundle of fashion scarves. I know, I know. You think flight attendant when you think scarves, but truth be told they are also the teacher uniform of our own doing. The problem is that no one needs as many as I had. So I sent seven to a better home.
Ribbon – I did one posting for all the various spools of yellow, green, and orange ribbons that were from my wedding florals. Most of the spools had some ribbon cut. These went like hot cakes. I got 8 replies in less than 5 hours!
Wedding ribbon – I had two spools of leftover white ribbon that our florist used to make pew bows. Also went like hot cakes.
Lime green From the Mr. and Mrs wedding ribbon – I kid you not. There was a time in my life when I spent $6 on spools of ribbon to tie gift tags on flip flops because what $30,000+ wedding is complete without a basket of dancing shoes. Apparently, I am not alone because three people wanted these.
Stained baby clothes – This was hands down my most important Freecycle realization. I was going to throw these out or take them to a textile recycler. I posted them, and I was more than a little embarrassed. It felt insulting. Instead, an expectant mom messaged me right away and begged that I save them.
Baby hangers – We were gifted quite a bit of clothing for HP over the first year of his life. I never had the heart to toss the plastic hangers that the clothes came on. It just seems so wasteful. I posted these on Freecycle again thinking it was a waste. I also posted them on OfferUp because I really wanted them to go to a good home. I had dueling responses, and I now have a woman on permanent standby on OfferUp for any future hangers.
Essential oils – I was gifted two different oils, one to use while pregnant and one to use to help my baby sleep. The problem is that both of them had a bananas amount of fine print on the back. So I took a hard pass and did not contribute to any pyramid shaped selling platforms. I had 17 responses in my inbox after I posted these items. It was like I was giving away gold.
Final Thoughts on Freecycle
My Freecycle journey has just started. I plan to also cross-post on OfferUp. I may also do some posting on NextDoor (though that app is largely too much drama in my neighborhood).
I realize based on the excitement that some of my posts generated that I probably could have gotten a few dollars for some of these things I gave away. The
problem good thing is that I’m not interested in the dollars anymore. More space, more time, and more sanity in a more eco-friendly fashion is reward enough.
So Tell Me…Have you ever tried Freecycle? Did anything I gave away surprise you?