Friday, July 06, 2007

Freecycle: How to dump your unwanted possessions

Isn’t Freecycle the dog’s bollocks? My sister in London alerted me to its extreme usefulness last year when she managed to offload her old kitchen sink & a year’s worth of inherited-from-me fashion magazines onto various people who all appreciated the value of free stuff.

She & I are both squirrels, hoarding anything and everything, just in case. A habit picked up over childhood when there wasn’t a load of spare cash around. But now that I am running two households over two continents I cannot keep every thing I want any more. I am paranoid that when the time comes to move on from Manhattan I will need the modern day equivalent of a Thirties Hollywood star’s steamer trunks to transport my stuff to wherever it is I wish to live next.

Which is why online forums like Freecycle are so clever. They work by providing a message board for people to give away unwanted items that have an intrinsic worth but little retail value. The beauty of it is that everyone wins: when I wanted to dispose of some stonkingly heavy pieces of MDF from a chimney I dismantled last year I just posted them on Freecycle. The guy who took them saved fifty quid on MDF for his new kitchen, and I didn’t have to knacker my back dragging them down the stairs from my first floor flat to hide them in someone else’s skip (dumpster for my US readers) in the dead of night. Result all round. You can also post goods wanted ads: I managed to get hold of all the brackets I needed for my garage shelves with a Wanted ad on Freecycle, and I repaid the favour with a bag of beauty samples from work

Sure there are people who sit beadily by their PCs waiting for new Freecycle posts to grab anything of value for eBay-ing but I figure that, so long as my stuff doesn’t end up in landfill, I really do not care a monkey’s who takes it. That being said, I do sift through the replies to find people who sound genuine. Today in Manhattan I’ve managed to give away a huge pile of fashion magazines and all SS07’s lookbooks to a fashion student from Parson’s. So I feel stunningly altruistic, environmentally smug and extremely pleased that I didn't have to lug them all dowstairs to the recycling.

(I recommend the Freecycle route to any fashion writers/stylists/PRs dumping last season’s lookbooks/magazines: there is always a fashion student somewhere reading Freecycle posts who will take them off your hands.)