I found out about the wonderful group Freecycle in an article in the Washington Post Magazine a few months back. I wrote down the name in preparation for my move to New York, and as soon as I got here I looked it up.
Freecycle is a simple Yahoo group that lets you offer and ask for items that otherwise might end up in the landfill. I’ve seen several postings for TVs, shelves, pots and pans, broken Xboxes, in fact, broken everythings, old old Ipods, nylon stockings, bags stuffed with baby clothes, and shoes, and women’s clothing, lots of Ikea furniture, a dog leash, and everything else under the sun.
I suspect competition is fierce. I usually email back right away, but I’ve only successfully been contacted back a couple times, and once was after the original person backed out. Now I am the proud owner of curtain rods. Before I saw that post, I had been wondering about where to buy some. I went to the owner’s apartment right after work, wandering up a foreign neighborhood with her address in hand. She buzzed me in, we introduced ourselves, and she told me their backstory of the curtains with a kind of devotion, butI told her I was grateful to have them, and she handed them to me.
The thing about Freecycle is that you have to be open to the chances the universe hands you, not picky. You have to accept that the curtain rods don’t quite match, or the coffee table has cat scratches on it. But if you are patient, you could probably accumulate all the trappings of a normal apartment over the course of a few months: clothing, furniture, appliance that are only “mediocre.”
I too have offered up an old orange plastic trashcan. The new owner sent me a thank you email. She seemed happy with what I had discarded. And that made me happy.
I’m absolutely smitten.