Monday, March 23, 2009


Now that we all had a context for the "treasure" in which we were buried, slow progress ensued.

Then a miracle occurred. Freecycle.

The Freecycle Network™ [] is a grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving (& getting) stuff for free in their own towns. It's all about reuse and keeping good stuff out of landfills. There are thousands of Freecycle groups, each with thousands of members (over 6 million members at this time all told).

I signed up, but didn't figure out how to offer my own stuff to the local Freecycle community until December 2008.

I set myself a goal - to freecycle at least one thing for every day in 2009.

I knew that merely assigning myself to go through boxes was doomed to failure - at least it had always failed in the past.

But with a goal of freecycling items, I had an initial spurt of energy. The spouse and the kids were emotionally supportive of this, even if they didn't actively participate.

Knowing that "valuable" stuff was going to a recipient who wanted it, rather than being thrown away, made a big difference to all of us.

When I'd get the multiple e-mails from folks hopefully asking for items, it validated our feeling that the stuff had worth. We hadn't been wrong to consider it better than trash.

Then there were the items that we wouldn't want to offer, and this too helped. If I wouldn't even be willing to offer something for free, then maybe it really was trash.

We installed a hook on our front door to hold the Freecycle bags. It has been so fun. We offer an item. We select a "winner." We put the item in a bag labeled with the winner's name and place it on the hook. Then the item effectively evaporates.


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