Last year, I signed up for Freecycle.org, just to give it a try. However, it wasn’t what I thought it would be and I never really participated…until today. If you haven’t tried Freecycle yet, here’s the lowdown from my perspective.
Basically, Freecycle is a controlled forum, with groups for your local area. When you post an offer or something you want, you create a message. You can set up to be notified for every message in your group, or just keep checking the “forum” for new messages. When you want to take advantage of an offer or you have something to fill a request, you reply back to the message. But since signing up, I hadn’t replied to any offers. In fact, I basically just cleared them out every few days. I think I didn’t use it because it seemed so complicated.
Today, I was clearing messages out of my Gmail folder and one caught my eye. It was for 50 16×16 inch paving blocks. These would be perfect for a driveway extension and walkway to our mudroom! I think there would even be enough to extend to the back of the house.
Since I wanted to pounce on the offer, I sent a message to the poster that I was interested and could pick them up this weekend. I had no idea whether I was doing it right, but it turned out that I did. But when I got home from work, I had an email waiting for me that he already had alot of responses and he would keep my contact info if the others didn’t pan out. Dang, I missed an opportunity.
So now I know that my fear was irrational. The system is very simple to use because you just message the person that you want it. I had thought you have to post a “TAKEN” message and some other steps. Instead, the person who posted the offer will post the taken message. I let an unknown number of free items (that we need, not just junk to bring into the home) pass me by because I was worried that I would do something wrong.
I’m a wiser Freecycle user and know how to take advantage of free offers for things we need in the future. Now you go try it!