Freecycle: Give or Get

Freecycle is an excellent resource.  If you've never heard of it, get excited!  Like the name suggests, it is part FREE and part RECYCLING.  It is a network of over 7 million people across the country and world who, as the website says, "are giving (and getting) stuff for free in their own towns and keeping good stuff out of landfills."  Each area group is locally run by volunteers.  It's similar to the "Free" section on Craigslist, but the entire network is based upon giving to others with no strings attached.

If you've ever had a need for something random, something you might not necessarily want to buy, but actually need, it is a great place to look.  (It's kind of like those friends and family you have that you can call requesting leftover somethings and actually get them...)  I've given things like my (nearly hoarding-sized stash of) excess wrapping paper/ gift bags, an oven, wire closet shelves, and most recently, some fence pickets.  The items don't have to be perfect, just be honest in the description (see picture below and step #5).

The network works by people doing the following steps; here's what it looks like:

1. Find your nearest Freecycle Network
(Originally, I googled "Freecycle Richmond, VA" to locate ours.)

2. Membership: Sign in or sign up

3. Explore the tabs

"All Items" is a tab including all offers and all wanteds posts.  The "My Posts" tab displays the posts created under your account, both offers and wanteds.

4. To Make a New Post: Click on "My Posts" and select "Make a new post"

5. Offer or Wanted: Determine what type of post you would like to create

Click on the drop down menu to select the type of post.

If you want to make an offer of an item, click on that and fill out the other categories.  A short description helps a Freecycle user determine whether s/he wants to look into the item further.  Your location helps determine how far of a drive between the people and items involved.  In the details section, I include things like dimensions, color, condition--anything you believe would be helpful regarding the item.  To get things, just like giving, you post a description of what you're looking for.  So, if you are posting a wanted item, you would include any specific qualifications required.

6. Look at the "All Items" tab to see all offers and all wanteds on one page


Over the last year, Danny and I have worked hard to simplify our lives and cut down on the amount of stuff we own.  I've written about how positive this minimalist lifestyle has been for us in the Simplify: Less Is More post and My Fantasy Soup Party & Why I Gave It Up post.  If you're inspired to do a big clean out in your home, Freecycle provides an opportunity to easily and quickly give away items you no longer want/ need, without the hassle of selling each thing individually on Craigslist or Ebay or organizing a yard sale.

The idea is to give more than you get, especially if you can afford to give frequently. 

We've only put up a "wanted" post once or twice, but we and friends of ours have been surprisingly blessed with items from very wealthy (and generous!) parts of Richmond, simply because we put up a request for them.  All different types of people with all different types of jobs/ homes/ backgrounds participate in the Freecycle Network.

If you have more than you need (and let's be honest, who doesn't?), consider becoming a member and giving to people who could use your pre-loved stuff.  You'll free up space and time in your home, while simplifying your life and giving to someone in need. 

Mindfulness begins with being in your present moment, actually living in that space and time.  An extension of mindfulness, in my humble opinion, is giving of yourself and contributing to a better world.  Generosity of time, stuff, and spirit all contribute to this aspect of a mindful life.

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