My local library has given me access to a lot of mustbethrifty resources. One aspect of thrift that has been cropping up in my reading is freecycling, ‘the act of giving away usable unwanted items to others instead of disposing of them in landfills’ (via Wikipedia). First conceptualised by freecycle.org in 2003, freecycling is a form of hand-me-down via online groups or forums.
A couple of months back, I signed up to the local freecycle group’s mailout in the hope of finding some old sports trophies as wedding decorations, but my first foray into freecycling was a failure: no one replied to my WANTED post, and I spent fifteen minutes every day clearing my inbox of Freecycle spam.
I continued subscribing to Freecycle, however. There was something appealing about nosing through other people’s junk. It felt like a hard-rubbish scavenge sans the illegalities and creepy crawlies. Sorting out the spam was also relatively painless since each post title was structured as ‘WANTED/OFFER <item description> <suburb and postcode>’. So if Sally from Melbourne wanted to get rid of a set of plates, her post’s title would read something like ‘OFFER: set of plates (Melbourne, 3000)’. If someone had picked up her plates, she would then send out another post with a title like ‘TAKEN: set of plates (Melbourne, 3000)’.
After my sports trophy request fell through, I started looking for other ways to decorate the wedding venue. One upcycling idea that I’ve seen recently are tealights in punch glasses, so when I saw a punch bowl set on offer, I responded.
J, the lady who was listing the punchbowl set, promptly answered my emails. The set was left out on the doorstep for me to take at my leisure; it was clean and in pristine condition. I sent J an email thanking her afterwards. I gushed about how wonderful the punch bowl was, to which she replied ‘Awesome, enjoy!’ Our correspondence was one of the unlooked for positives of Freecycle: while I never got to thank the lady in person, I felt like I had made a connection regardless.
So to Freecycle or not to Freecycle is not even a question. Of course I’m going to continue Freecycling. Why not? There’s no join-up/ongoing fees, there’s freebies, and I get to be part of a community. Plus, it prevents reusable items from ending up in landfill. After the wedding, it will be my turn to hand over J’s punchbowl set to the next person who will then put it to good use.