Thursday, May 25, 2006


Like most American families, we are at the extreme of the minimalist spectrum (and I'm not talking about being too minimalist) but trying slowly to reside somewhere in the middle. You see, Mom and Dad lived in a fairly well-sized home for a long time, for about 12 years or so. After Dad passed away, Mom and I boxed everything up, put it in storage and my aunt’s basement, stayed with my aunt for a while and then moved into a town home. From the town home, after a short stint of living with a friend, we moved into our current home. After seeing our home now, you wouldn’t believe that we have purged ourselves of any of our possessions, but you should know, we did. The man who buys used books came to our house and took hundreds of books away (we were a family of very avid readers). We had the junk man come to haul away some junk that had been sitting in the basement for years on end. We went through Mom’s closet and gave over 12 garbage bags full of clothes to the Salvation Army. We even had a yard sale, and sold half of our furniture. Believe or not, there’s still so much more.

My goal for the past few months has been finding a profitable yet stress-free way to get rid of all this stuff (if you haven’t noticed this goal from my previous posts). Noah and I have been making some progress, by finding things in the house to use in our new home in Charlottesville. Of course, I’ve been continuing to give clothes to the consignment shop in town and sell books on But we still have so much more to go through. I even see another yard sale in our future.

I also discovered Freecycle, a group on the internets dedicated to passing along unwanted items to people who wants those items, with members residing in the same community. There are Freecycle groups for hundreds of towns in the country. While Freecycle doesn’t directly pay you, it does save you time in the car and money on gas. In fact, Freecycle saved me a trip to the dump. In our old home, we had a deck, with lots of outdoor furniture. In our new home, we don’t have a deck, only a car port. We had a chair and lounge chair which has been sitting outside, soaking up the extreme conditions of all four seasons for over a year. Finally, Mom mentioned to me that we needed to bring these items to the dump because we obviously had no use for them anymore, they were rusting and had taken a beating from being outside for so long. Instead of driving them to the dump, I took a picture of them, posted the picture on Freecycle, and voila – they were picked up yesterday from the driveway. No meeting the picker-upper to see if he liked them, no needing to be home at a certain time, just went out to dinner, and when we arrived home, the chair and lounge chair were gone, poof, disappeared. Noah is not convinced by the genius of Freecycle, but it really does avoid all those trips to the various deposit places for unwanted items. And you’re still giving these items to people who not only want them but also need them. I’ve even picked up some unwanted items, such as a paper-towel holder and toothbrushes, new in the package. You also avoid any awkwardness, because all items are left on the porch, so you come and go as you please. Very simple, I’m definitely a fan. If you want info on this group, let me know and I can give you some.


Blogger Ms. Farrell said...

I am a member of the columbia freecycle (or maybe it's all of howard county?...not sure), and while I have not actually taken advantage of all it has to offer, I am a big fan of browsing through what's available online. I have seen everything from absolute junk to some really useful stuff. I've been hunting for furniture lately. I'm not looking for anything in particular, nor do I have a time constraint on when I need it, so I just browse occasionally to see if anything ever catches my eye. I'm with Sam on this one! I think everyone should check out their local freecycle group, even if it's just to see what's there.

6:38 PM  

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