Are you a Freecycler? Do you sometimes have trouble getting people to take the items you are offering? Freecycle is a worldwide network of local groups of people who are either asking for items for free, or are giving away items for free. The groups are local because people have to be able to pick up items; a long drive or shipping/mailing items is not part of the deal.
Over the years, I’ve used Freecyle to offer a lot of items that I could not otherwise donate, sell, or recycle. Some of the items I have freecycled include
- a broken teapot
- two cat litter boxes (extra large)
- about 100 empty DVD cases
- a Papasan chair cushion (no chair, just the pad)
- a large, beautiful wool rug that unfortunately had a few spots eaten away by moths
- a lovely pine end table with three legs broken off (I had the legs)
- a gorgeous and expensive rosewood chair with one leg broken off (again, I had the leg)
- and many, many more items that I would otherwise have had to haul off to the dump
How was I able to get someone to actually want these items? For the first two items, people actually posted a wish for them on Freecycle, and I just happened to have what they wanted. For the other items, I used my imagination when creating my Freecycle post. I’ve found that in most cases, if I just baldly post that I have something to offer, I get far fewer responses (sometimes none), than when I suggest a creative use for an item, or a way to make the item usable (as specifically as possible). It also helps to keep the post as short as possible, and put the most important information first (because of how the Freecycle posts are displayed online).
- For the Papasan chair cushion, I suggested that it would make a great bed for a large dog. I had several people interested in it, and it went to a lucky German Shepherd’s home within two days.
- For the moth-eaten rug, I suggested that some creative furniture positioning would cover the holes and it would look great. Half a dozen people were interested, and it was gone quickly.
- For the broken end table and chair, I made it clear that I had the legs, and that someone with the right skills and tools could make them both usable. I was surprised at how many people wanted both. The rosewood chair went first, and then later the table.
So when posting something you want to give away, keep these three tips in mind:
- Describe it fairly and honestly.
- Put the most important information first.
- Include a suggestion or two on how to re-purpose the item. You might even find yourself keeping the item because you’ve thought of a creative new way to use it.
If you use Freecyle, I’d love to hear your stories about your successes, or any suggestions you have. Thanks!