Tuesday, 6 October 2009

My awakening conscience?

The Awakening Conscience by William Holman Hunt

I've been giving a lot of thought to Floss's challenge to herself (at Troc, broc and recup - see side bar) following Dottie Angel in drastically reducing the amount spent on new goods. I've wondered whether I could actually give up buying some of the bits and pieces we buy to give ourselves a lift - the odd magazine, a tin of paint or a tray of pansies for the garden. I mentioned it to my gorgeous girl who thought her mother finally needed collecting by men in white coats! I have actually been gradually reducing my expenditure on new goods for some time and I'm far more likely to be found at a car boot or a charity shop than going into the city centre to the department stores. Earlier in the year I did a post about my determination to not pay VAT where I can possibly avoid it which by and large means buying second hand where possible.

So I had been wondering what else I could do to reduce my carbon footprint and I have discovered Freecycle. Now I may be way behind the times here but I hadn't heard of it before and decided to give it a go. I've had my piano since I was 6 and I no longer have room for it nor the inclination to play (other than when I'm annoyed when I will bash out Beethoven until I've calmed down!) The gorgeous girl took a dislike to playing when she realised that practice meant more than turning up for the lesson itself. So the piano had become a glorified photo stand and it was time for her to go.

Freecycle is a site where you list what you no longer need and people can ask for said item. No money exchanges hands and the person wanting the item collects it. So I listed my beautiful piano and within minutes a graduate student e-mailed me to say she'd love it. I agreed she could have it but was amazed at how much interest there was in her -old peoples homes, families etc. Yesterday a pair of removal men came to escort her off my premises and take her to her new home. I have tonight received an e-mail from the lady who had her to say that she and her friends had a wonderful evening last night playing her and singing Christmas Carols! It was lovely to find this simple transaction had given such pleasure.

I also responded to somebody requesting on Freecycle a piece of IKEA furniture that I happened to have languishing in my garage for her little boy to store his toys in. She collected it this evening (with a boot half full of other items that had been gifted to her). She was thrilled that within minutes of her asking for this item I had responded.

Apparently sometimes things can go wrong but I have to say if you haven't tried it give it a go! I've just put my first request on for something I would like. I'll let you know if its successful! I'm still wondering about Floss and Dottie's challenge but this for me is another step in the right direction of reducing waste and landfill and letting others benefit from what we don't need.

Have any of you tried Freecycle and did it work for you?

Love Wend


  1. Hi Wend, I have been a member of Freecycle for ages and love it. I am signed up for the daily bulletins. I have got rid of loads of things as well as collected some amazing things. I have had fire logs, old Northamptonshire stone for the rockery and Debbie has had china cups and saucers for the tea room at the vintage fair as well as bags of bubble wrap for our Etsy shops. The hardest bit is deciding who to give your things to as sometimes you can be swamped with requests. I have never experienced any problems and all the people I have met have been lovely.
    Ann x

  2. No I haven't tried Freecycle but like you I did give the matter some serious thought and like you came to the conclusion that I couldn't quite make it so asked if I might be an associate member if you know what I mean. I do recycle, compost, shop in charity shops and auctions and generally do my bit but am not quite ready to forgo anything new. I am working on the assumption that every little helps as they say!

  3. I've been a member of Freecycle for ages and we've always had success with it. Mainly getting rid of things rather than acquiring new bits, but it's a fab idea. The bit I don't like is deciding on who you should chose to take away your unwanted items, I feel a bit mean towards those I haven't chosen! Daft I know.
    Lisa x

  4. My son acquired enough bits to build a BMX bike, and some speakers from Freecycle. I haven't got involved myself, mainly through time, really, and I have found most of what I wanted in charity shops. We are also lucky that, because we have been married and living in the same house for so long, there are not huge amounts of things we need for the house. Children and animals take such a toll that I always feel that it is not worth buying new and shiny - better to cultivate the shabby chic as it is less stressful! So I was almost there in terms of the challenge, anyway - I am hoping that the main discipline will be on the new clothes front, which might save me some money - not that I buy much new, but I definitely need to save money!
    I love the pic, by the way, I wrote about this one in my thesis!

    Pomona x

  5. Hi
    I have used freecycle before. I have popped lots on that I no longer need. I find its a nice feeling that something is going somewhere where it will be used or something that somebody has generally wanted and found one for nothing. When my daughter started secondary school she needed lots of books dictionairies and I put a wanted ad out and we got all another girls books that had just left secondary school. saving money and recycling!.
    I did get a second hand sofa off their once too. My blog is called a decluttered life and I changed its name as I changed i didnt want too much stuff anymore. I saw that challenge and I think I would love to join up too. In the name of recycling & simplifying. I mainly buy from car boot sales, some things are new.
    Look forward to seeing if you take part in the challenge on a big scale!
    x Dom

  6. Ohh, Freecycle is a great way of living with the challenge, isn't it? I have found a surprising freedom in not having to wonder about buying a magazine/popping into the home store etc. It's made my life easier, not harder, and certainly cheaper so far!

    My dad has a kind of 'Freecycle on the Pavement' where he lives - if he finds useful but unwanted items he leaves them outside his gate and other people know they are free to walk off with them! It works well in their busy area of Edinburgh...

  7. Hi Wend

    Yahay good old Freecycle. Ann gave me the heads up and I have had lots of wonderful finds from there, these include a Victorian brass bed to restore (sadly still awaiting restoration) a display cabinet for my vintage goodies, two shelves for my books and countless little bits and pieces. I am just coming to the end of a big batch of bubble wrap and as Ann said have put out a request for cups and saucers for the November fair and have had some success with that. I also find it great to give back to others and they come and take it away - what more can one ask. A great way to recycle

  8. Yes, I have given quite a lot of things away on Freecycle. I am surprised by the different ways in which people reply saying they will have the things though! The only thing I have acquired is a pair of matching eiderdowns ages ago that just needed a really good wash.