Martini glasses. Magazines. A futon. Styrofoam packing blocks. These are just a few of the items I’ve Freecycled over the years. And boy was I relieved to discover that Freecycle was already established in Des Moines, since I had been a long-time Freecycler in the SF Bay Area. What is Freecycle? Well, I’ve had a few people ask me that. Especially when they see me leaving items in bags on my doorstep.
Freecycle was started ten years ago by Deron Beal in Arizona. You can read the whole story here, but in summary, it’s a network group of folks who sign up to post items that they would either like to give away or they’re in search of. I’ve been on various Freecycle networks for years. It’s yet another way to keep stuff out of landfill, share with and help others in your local community, and meet some interesting people to boot.
Back in San Francisco, I had a number of friends who were also in the same Freecycle network. We play the game of “okay, what’s the weirdest thing you’ve seen on Freeycle” because as you can imagine, there are some rather interesting posts. For me, I think the all-time weirdest item I saw “offered” (posts start as either “offered” or “wanted”) was empty dog food containers. And no doubt, someone took them. And I’ve seen some interesting “wants” too, like when I was a member of the Oakland, CA Freeycle group, and someone wanted a diamond ring. Well, why not.
There were a few months when I “over-Freecycled” as my husband calls it (yes, I was pregnant and in serious nesting mode at the time). I was relentlessly getting rid of stuff I didn’t think we needed to make room for the incoming baby gear. To this day he reminds me of his beloved CD shelf that I Freeycled. It could have been worse. It could have been the CDs.
I’ve also been the recipient of some great Freecycle items. Some perfectly good sun loungers for example. It was like having a fairy godmother. I posted “wanted: decent sun loungers now that I have a yard” and not two hours later someone was offering sun loungers that had been languishing in their garage. And in turn when we moved, I passed along those well loved sun loungers.
The Des Moines chapter of Freecycle is alive and well. In fact, there are over 6000 members. And, as with all things I’ve encountered in Des Moines, folks are nice and friendly! And there are a number of Freecycle networks still popping up in communities of all sizes. To find your local network group, just go to www.freecycle.org. Signing up is free. And if you happen to have that bookshelf I’m looking for, let me know!