A reader sent a comment after my last blog about clearing clutter with Freecycle (thanks Kristin!). We weren't able to post the comment because of a policy of not allowing websites to be listed in comments. So, I'm writing this follow-up blog to tell you more about Freecycle.
The Freecycle Network is a nonprofit, grassroots effort to reduce the amount of waste going into our community landfills. After joining your local freecycle group, you can post items you would like to get rid of (or even items you are looking for). Membership is free and everything posted must be FREE, legal, and appropriate for all ages.
Searching at www.freecycle.org, I found that the Northern Shenandoah Valley has freecycle groups for Clarke County, Frederick County, Front Royal, Page County, Winchester, and Woodstock. If there is not a group in your area, you can apply to set one up, if you are willing to serve as moderator.
In her comment, Kristin mentioned that through freecycle she had given away a box of magazines and also received a toy organizer. Freecycle will even e-mail you as offers are posted. Scrolling down my e-mails for the Winchester group today, I see that someone WANTS 2-liter plastic bottles (imagine that?). People are offering moving boxes, women's clothes, children's bikes, cookbooks, and bath and beauty items. A woman who was looking for a wig has received one. Other posters had received items such as a computer scanner, girl's clothes, a dresser and a VCR.
Of course, it is important to be careful when using sites like freecycle. You should take precautions such as meeting in a public place, not going to meetings alone, and not posting your phone number or address on the listserve.
Although I am not aware of any specific scams related to freecycle, con artists can always think of some way to turn a good thing around. So, use your good consumer skills to avoid trouble. Watch for things that seem unusual, such as:
- Asking you to click on a website link or register with their business
- Listing an "out of the area phone" number, such as a "900" number
- Suggesting an out of the ordinary way to conduct the transaction
- Offering things that are NOT free
- Or anything else that seems to be a "red flag"
With these safeguards in mind, freecycle can be an excellent way to reduce the clutter in your home. As the saying goes, "One man's trash is another man's treasure." Freecycle has made a way for everyone to find a good home for their own "trash," search for someone else's "treasure," and keep it all from being buried (in the landfills)!