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A few of you have asked me what Freecycle is all about.

Basically, if there are  no good garage sales or thrift stores by you, or you don’t have the time for hit-or-miss outings, it’s your best option!

Freecycle is a “nonprofit movement of people who are giving (and getting) stuff for free in their own towns. It’s all about reusing and keeping good stuff out of landfills.”

It works through Yahoo Groups and you can score some awesome stuff or get rid of bulky, heavy things without having to move them yourself!  Search first on the original website freecycle.org by using your zip code. (hint: if there’s a “nicer” (ahem more wealthy)  area near you, often you can request to join that group as well if you live nearby). Once you know the name of the particular group(s) you want to join (usually the name is related to the city or town you live in), you can move to the next step.

The next step is to make a Yahoo e-mail account. Trust me, you want a separate e-mail for this kind of thing because there will be many e-mails involved.

 Once you set it up, then search in the Yahoo Groups search box for the name of the particular Freecycle Group you want to join, then request to join and fill out the application.

Usually there are specific rules for specific groups to follow such as putting an “offer” of something you’re willing to give away before starting to ask or post “wanted” items. The moderator will send you an e-mail with instructions and “etiquette” of how they prefer posts to be worded, so make sure you read it! They might also want you to verify your zip code, etc. and if you don’t reply, they will not allow you to join the group.

Once you’ve been accepted, when you search on the yahoo search box (on the top right of your inbox) for your group, you will see the freecycle welcome screen. On the top left menu, “Messages” is how you can see what everyone else is posting.”Post” will let you post your “offer” or “wanted” or “taken” item(s) (yes, post it’s been “taken” once someone picks it up that way you don’t keep getting a hundred-and-one e-mails!)

I tried my luck a few month ago. I posted my in-laws’ working dryer (they replaced it for a better model) that had been sitting in the garage for months. It was gone within a day!

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The next thing I asked for was back-issues of Cook’s Illustrated, our favorite cooking magazine. About a week or two went by and I forgot all about it until I received an e-mail from a nice lady offering them to me! She kindly left them by the side of her garage and my husband picked them up on his way to work. She gave us 20 issues (all within the last 2 years). Unbelievable, especially considering they’re $5 on the newsstands!

Freeycle is also super helpful if you have college friends or siblings who are looking to get or get rid of stuff fast!

Try your luck! You can ask for the most random things such as umbrella stands, computer parts, specific things like a halogen torchier lamp (yes, I posted that!),  furniture pieces, etc! Best of all, everything is FREE!

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