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Tidy up Tuesday – freecycle is my bff

February 22, 2011

(I’m sure anyone who knows me, or has ever set foot in my house is rolling, if not on the ground, then their eyes at the thought of me doing a Tidy Up Tuesday post)

Tidying and organization are great, but there are times when the ‘stuff’ just has to go. But how to do that? Sure that big black garbage bag is the quick and easy solution, but have you driven the 417 by Carp lately? Garage sales are fine if the mood to purge hits in say, June, but during our 9 months of winter that just won’t fly. Charity shops are another option, but they are understandably fairly selective about what they will put on their shelves. And these locations generally don’t have a lot of storage, so out of season items are not usually retained. (Take a cruise by the dumpster of any of these locations if you’re wondering what I’m talking about.) I don’t blame them, I understand they get a lot of unsaleable items dumped on them, just pointing out that your well-loved items might end up in Carp anyways.

Consignment shops and sales? Sure, if your items are less than 1 year old and in perfect condition. Oh and (now this is a big one for me) if they don’t have a single pet hair on them (this applies to charity shops too). And I get this rule. I’m buying clothing, not dog hair. I just happen to live with a husky, there is no such thing as no dog hair. But what about those talkabouts that just aren’t holding a charge? Or your old palm pilot? Or your chipped dishes?

You could post your items in the ‘free’ section on or They’re two of the better known buy/sell sites, and in my opinion, that’s one of their downfalls, they’re buy/sell/trade, not give away so not everyone thinks of them first.

Several years ago I discovered that Ottawa has a vibrant re-use community. Many are groups are members of the Freecycle community, but you can also find many non-affiliated groups on the Reuseit Network. (Recycling Group Finder finds 28 nearby groups, and finds 19 when I enter Ottawa as my location.)

My personal favorite is with the main Ottawa group and 9 neighbourhood specific groups (great if you want to look for something close to home; might as well cut down on those carbon emissions while you’re at it!). You can either join directly on their website (which uses grouply or facebook login) or you can join the respective Yahoo groups, they both receive the same feed.

Once part of the community, getting rid of your ‘stuff’ is painless. You post an offer message, with a brief description and your general area, you wait for replies and pick a recipient. Once you decide on a giftee, you make arrangements for them to come pick your stuff up. I’ve had a few instances when people arranged to be by at a certain time and didn’t show, so now most of my arrangements are ‘porch pickups’ exclusively. Yep, zero inconvenience if you happen to have a porch or other area where you can stash ‘stuff’. You set your items out and kiss them goodbye, knowing they’ll be used and loved again.

But wait – you have a big box of jumbled stuff and don’t want to itemize it? Call it a travelling box, list a few items and someone will come by, pick up the whole shebang, take anything they want and pass it on. Seriously dead easy.

People get rid on anything on these groups. A while ago a couple posted a house! This past weekend hubby listed his ski boots and old ski poles and a chalkboard, the week before I got rid of some books, cookware, craft supplies and clothing…and a travelling box *g*. When we got our new appliances all our old ones went to new owners via the group. You know all those kid’s play clothes (the slightly stained ones, that are a bit stretched out)? Post them as such and you’ll still have people who want to use them for their kids. I mean every kid plays right? Freezer-burned meat is often offered up for pet food, so if it’s still a usable item, someone probably has a use for it.

While you’re in the giving mood, check out the ‘wanted’ posts as well. There may be something there you’re done using that could benefit someone else. Pet charities are often looking for old blankets, students look for furnishings and occassionally a tinkerer will be looking for your broken/obsolete electronics.

This year I’m doing my own declutter challenge and my fullcircles groups are going to be a major part of getting rid of 730 things in 365 days.

Of course, the down side to this is that there are tonnes of other people offering their really great stuff too, and it’s free!

9 Comments leave one →
  1. February 22, 2011 4:29 pm

    oooh. we should totally get rid of 730 things in 365 days – I need to talk to DH. I just found 7 boxes at my parents house of stuff we forgot there when we moved. We have so much stuff it’s ridiculous. We need to freecycle some!

    • neeroc permalink*
      February 23, 2011 9:25 pm

      It’s crazy how much you can accumulate isn’t it?

  2. February 22, 2011 5:33 pm

    I love this idea, especially the travelling box! Oftentimes I don’t have a whole box of clothes or kitchen stuff that needs to go but a few of everything. We’ve given a few things away on kjiji before but they’re usually large ticket and easy to find a new owner for. Thanks for sharing and good luck with the 730 in 365 days!

    • neeroc permalink*
      February 23, 2011 9:27 pm

      The travelling box is great. I’ve snagged a few too when something’s caught my eye, taken what I wanted, added some stuff and shipped it off!

  3. February 22, 2011 9:27 pm

    I *love* freecycle! A friend put me onto it when we bought our first house, and the previous owners left behind 40+ baseboard heaters in the back shed. I figured they probably still worked, but couldn’t in good conscience sell them without knowing, so posted with full disclosure and got a taker right away.

    Everyone was happy – it’s so much nicer than bickering over $!

    • neeroc permalink*
      February 23, 2011 9:27 pm

      40! Now there’s some hoarding. Glad you could get rid of them. And it is sooo much better than dealing with pennies.

  4. February 23, 2011 6:07 pm

    I love freecycle! I’ve done it here where I live (michigan) many times! You can get rid of all the crap you have lying around and find some pretty good stuff too!

    • neeroc permalink*
      February 23, 2011 9:30 pm

      We need to start a fan club *g* And ya, wicked stuff to be found. I just picked up yards of hand-made Sri Lankan lace (which really is probably only exciting if you sew or otherwise craft.)


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