If you don’t know about Freecycle, get out some paper and take notes. Folks thinking of embarking on a project like this may find that Freecycle is their best friend.
From their website:
The Freecycle Network is made up of many individual groups across the globe. It’s a grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving (& getting) stuff for free in their own towns. Each local group is moderated by a local volunteer (them’s good people). Membership is free.
The Network provides individuals and non-profits an electronic forum to “recycle” unwanted items. One person’s trash can truly be another’s treasure!
Despite that last bit, the stuff one finds through Freecycle isn’t necessarily trashy or gross. It’s just stuff people don’t want or need anymore. One of the byproducts of a culture that encourages materialism is that people inevitably end up with a house full of things they don’t really need. Or, they buy new things to replace things that weren’t broken but are obsolete, according to someone, and therefore have to go. You also get people going through a move and realizing that they have too much junk.
Items available through the network run the gamut and vary by city. Obviously the NYC network is very busy. That list generates hundreds of emails a week. There’s furniture, kitchen gadgets, electronics, office supplies, you name it. Smaller towns and new networks will naturally offer less. The great thing is that you can send posts to the list asking for things you need. Someone may answer.
Some cities have in-person Freecycle meetups where folks bring the items they don’t want and look at what others brought for things they want/need. I don’t go to the meetups because it feels a bit like shopping for me. I am likely to bring home even more useless stuff simply because it is free.
A caveat – the old saying “You get what you pay for” certainly applies. While some things people want to rid themselves of are in perfect condition, some won’t be. Get as much detail as you can. And participate! Offer up some of your unneeded stuff. You may make someone’s week.