The Complete Guide to Freecycling
It's like recycling, but you get free stuff...
By Brian Merchant
Brooklyn, NY, USA | Wed Feb 11 09:30:00 EST 2009
Want to give away your unwanted clutter and have access to tons of quality free stuff? Then Freecycling is likely your best bet.
With over 4,600 groups and 6,400,000 members around the world, the Freecycling community is thriving&madsh;and for good reason. It's an organization based on the idea that giving and receiving gifts for free is not only good for the obvious reasons (who doesn't love free stuff?) but it's good for the environment, too. By keeping all this stuff in a "freecycle" and transferring it from person to person, tons of items are spared from meeting a landfill-bound fate. In short, it's one of the greenest ways to get free stuff.
But because the instructional video provided on the website is charming, cute, and anything but instructional, we've decided to prepare a step-by-step guide on how to Free Cycle.
How to Free Cycle:
- Join Your Local Group
Head over to the Freecycle Home Page and type in your city name to the home page. You'll be directed to a group page on Yahoo! Click the Join This Group button on this page, after reading through the info. (You'll have to have a Yahoo! ID)
- Set Up Your Profile
Look over the preferences, which will only take a few seconds, and set up your user profile that'll be viewed by the group.
- Choose Individual Mail or Daily Digest
One aspect you'll want to pay particular attention to is choosing how you want to be alerted to the new available stuff—by individual mail, or daily digest. Since the Freecycle community is so big, and there's a lot of free stuff floating around, you might not want to get an email notice for every item that becomes available. Choosing the daily digest option allows you to receive a single email at the end of the day as a roundup of all the new stuff, which will make it easier to manage your inbox. But it also means you might not get first dibs on a particularly alluring item.
- Read and Post Messages
All messages in the Freecycle community fall into 4 categories: OFFER, TAKEN, WANTED, and PROMISED, and each is self-explanatory. Begin each message with one of those: if you have a cookbook you want to get rid of, create a message with the heading OFFER. If your item's been claimed and you're still getting emails, post a TAKEN message. If there's something you need, that's within reason of course (a "WANTED: 2007 Toyota Prius" message may go unanswered . . .) use WANTED. Use a PROMISED message when someone wants an item that's already been spoken for.
- Arrange a Pickup
It's customary for the person receiving the free stuff to pick it up at a location of the giver's choosing. Simple—meet up, and get or give stuff.
- Follow the Rules
And they're pretty simple: No spamming. No pets. No trades. And most importantly, every item must be FREE.
- Enjoy Freecycling
Get and give stuff for free, and ensure all that stuff out there gets the longest lifespan possible—and stays out of the landfill.
- One last note: use Freecycling responsibly. As on other user-community sites like Craigslist, only make arrangements you're comfortable with, and be wary of WANTED messages requesting used underpants. That's one transaction you'll (probably) want to avoid.
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