Sunday, August 28, 2016

A web site that I love for frugal reasons

As a person who believes strongly in community, conservation, and frugality, I have been having a lot of fun lurking on local frugal-enabling sites.

One of my most constant lurks is Freecycle.  (Does everyone know what that is nowadays?  It's basically like Craigslist or a local E-bay, except everything offered or asked for is free).

There are ways that Freecycle is a bit overwhelming, I admit.  I get an email every day listing about a gazillion things (well, only 25, but it seems like a gazillion).   I almost never actually get anything off of Freecycle myself.  (The one thing I did get that I remember is a beautiful giant colander; I love it.  That one colander alone would be worth a year of skimming through my daily morning emails.)  Most of the time, I skim the daily email and delete it immediately.

So, potential for free stuff is there.  But the reason I really love Freecycle is that it allows me to give away stuff that I wouldn't have been able to take to Goodwill or other re-use it stores. Last week, when I was cleaning out my garage, I realized I no longer wanted

  • 20 cinder blocks,
  • 2 large fluorescent light fixtures,
  • a lounge chair cushion (sans lounge chair), and 
  • a half-gallon of windshield washer fluid.  
I posted all of these on Freecycle, and 36 hours later, all but the windshield washer fluid are gone.  And my garage looks so much cleaner!  And I got to hear a lot of neat stories about other people's upcoming projects -- one of which is my former next door neighbor whom I haven't seen in years.  Hooray for connecting with frugal people!  I'll re-post the windshield washer fluid again later in the year, once snow starts to fall.  I'm sure it'll go faster then.

When I run through my nearby upscale neighborhood on trash day, I'm often amazed at what people send to the landfill:  about a month ago, on just one morning, I saw several large pieces of furniture, an electric fan, a chalkboard, and I forget what else, all out at the curb awaiting the trash truck.  It's just so sadly wasteful!  And then later this day, I saw on Freecycle this little "Taken" post that made me giggle:

My mom used to save the hair from her favorite dog and give it to one of her friends with a spinning wheel.  My mom's friend made dog-hair-yarn that my mom then crocheted into a little doll's house rug.  My sisters and I were NOT delighted by this -- we were adults by this time, and I think my mom was in the early stages of the dementia that would eventually take her life.   I don't know if the dog hair from the Freecycle post went to a spinner or to someone's garden (where it might help keep pests away), but I just love the fact that someone, somewhere, wanted something as seemingly pointless as dog fur.  That is totally grossly adorable.

Some people near me throw out perfectly good bicycles and furniture and shelving, just for lack of imagination or effort.  And some people near me go to the other extreme, and find good uses for dog hair.  Given my druthers, I'm going to stick with the dog hair crowd.


  1. Freecycle is wonderful, but only works in large cities, we got a lot of use out it in Salt Lake City. Now we live in a town of 2100 and get about 3 posts a year. I've found that a Facebook swap group works a whole lot better for us. We've both sold and bought in that group and it is generally all at yard sale prices. Not a good as free but we'll take what we can get out here in the boondocks.

    1. Ah, this makes sense. My own home town is much larger, and is full of very frugal people -- either because of religious denomination, or because of recent immigration and resettlement, or because (like me), they're just hippy-granola people. So between the frugal leanings and the sheer number of people, our Freecycle, like our yard sales, are hoppin'!

  2. love freecycle, have given away many batches of outgrown kids' clothes, similarly there is a free subsection of craigslist that works better for first come/first serve situations or alley alerts for something I can imagine someone enjoying

    1. I just checked out our Craigslist Free section -- wow, is that overwhelming! There were literally thousands of different kinds of items. I could imagine having a great time poking around there -- but maybe the beginning of the semester isn't the best time to do that!