How I Became a Freecycler!

Freecycle NetworkOr, One Crazy Old Irish Guy’s Junk is One Pikey Couple’s Reusables

In case you haven’t heard of this latest craze, Freecycling is the newest thing to hit your neighborhood.

It’s bound the be the cause of smothering death of packrats but it is the joy of people like Colin and I who, because of our big empty house (and empty shed), would otherwise spend every other day at Home Depot or Target buying new stuff for our house.

Now, I have an issue with new stuff. Primarily my issue is that NEW STUFF usually isn’t taking the place of something that is worn out or broken or even remotely near the end of its useful life. No.

Most times, NEW STUFF is merely just stuff to replace things we are bored with (I tire of these tangerine and lime flip-flops), things that are out of style (Wall-to-wall carpet is SO last decade!), or things that although they are perfectly fine, perhaps they aren’t quite right (The pillow is sagging. Let’s get a new sofa.).

And thus the detrius of our miserable existences piles up. Literally. In a dump. Outside of town. Which eventually gets turned into a subdivision. Where they’ll build many new houses very quickly. That’ll slide down the “hill” (read: diaper sludge pile). And the people who couldn’t bear to live in an “old” house in a “scary” neighborhood get just what they deserve. Only not really. Instead, they get: Another new house. After they sue the builders. And the city. And the county. And their kids get a strong lesson. If you don’t get what you want, sue someone, ANYONE!!! And then you can have everything you want. And throw all the old shit out.


So Colin and I happily dove into our neighbor’s trash today. It wasn’t the usual trash. It was “we’re moving into a condo” trash, which means they were tossing out perfectly good pine boards, solid oak doors, a 80-year-old drop leaf table, a spreader, a wheelbarrow (which, while not perfect, is far less rusted than the one we are currently using), a square, solid, hand-built table made from plywood and 2x4s, which when cleaned up will make a good place to fold laundry in the basement.

Yeah, we have a nice house and we intend to put good stuff in it. But who says all the good stuff is at the stores? I mean, some of the straightest, hardest wood planks (great for our garden or our compost bins) are just gathering dust in some old guy’s garage. If he thinks that’s trash and wants to give it to us for free, who am I to second guess him? What’s the worst that can happen with free stuff?

Want to know more about how you can get great stuff for free from your neighbors (this is in the U.K. to, by the way)? Find your own local group here.

Elizabeth Howard

Elizabeth writes literary non-fiction, haiku, cultural rants, and Demand Poetry in order to forward the cause of beautiful writing. She calls London, Kansas City, and Iowa home. 


  3 comments for “How I Became a Freecycler!

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