Last week, we tried to reduce our consumption of added-sugar or sweeteners, but we didn’t quite make it to keep this pledge (I failed basically every day), so we decided to give this another, more planned go this week. So this is how I come to talk about Freecycle.
It’s worth giving Freecycle the attention it deserves. For those who don’t know it: It’s an online platform where people can advertise their stuff to give away for free. For free! At the same time, you can insert a ‘wanted’ post in which you search for stuff you need, but this feature is less used, and the offers are where the action is happening!
When we moved into our lovely flat here in Scotland, we knew our budget was very low and we had a natural aversion against buying loads of new furniture for so much money! Good job we already knew about Freecycle back then. We literally got 90% of our furniture from there, for free! We got a great bed with an as-new mattress from the same town we moved into, a chest of drawers, multiple bookshelves, an electric fire, and almost a camping bed (it turned out it was broken, unfortunately).
When we later went to one of the charity shops to fill the gaps, we only needed to get a sofa, TV stand and kitchen table, and we were sorted. (Almost, as the only piece we had to buy new was a desk which we couldn’t find in a satisfying size anywhere.) In total, I can say we did not spend more than about £250 on an entire two-bedroom flat set of furniture, thanks to Freecycle! This is less than a new sofa or bed on its own! And in the process, not a single piece of waste fell on. Re-using at its finest.
And the people you meet are generally so great and lovely, it’s like there is a type of humans out there whose only goal is to help other people! I encounter these people a lot when bookcrossing, couchsurfing, through Freecycle, and of course when I meet people who volunteer somewhere. It’s so awesome meeting people who do not think only of their own good, but just bring love to the planet without second motive and help where they can. It’s so great to meet this kind of people at a time when all the media shows you is greed and destruction (*sentimentality*).
To return to Freecycle, of course, there is one or two tweaks. One is, you have to constantly look out like a hawk for new offers and react as soon as you spot something. We arrived at a rate of twice a day where we would visit the site and check for anything new, just to message those people immediately, and even then we would get told sometimes that the stuff was already gone. Second, of course, you would have to be patient as not everything you need will be available at the time you need it. We arrived at our flat with nothing but a thin mattress on which we slept twice on the floor until we had the incredible luck of getting an immaculate bed and mattress from Freecycle. But some things took longer, and we dined on the floor for almost a week until we decided to just take a trip to the charity shop. I enjoyed going on such an uncertain hunt, and in our region in Central Scotland, we have a moderate amount of offers which won’t let you wait forever for something really useful. But if you’re in a desperate hurry, this won’t be a fun game for you.
There is also a Free Stuff app (Android & iOS) which includes Freecycle and Freegle groups. I’ve tried it out only for a few days, but since we have no need for any furniture at the moment, I cannot say if it’s any useful.
Let me know whether you were aware of Freecycle, and what your methods for sharing furniture and other stuff is!