Friday, February 2, 2007

Join a Freecycle™ Group!

When I first made a serious decision to reduce my clutter, Freecycle™ was one of the first options I considered. I found out about them while poking around on the NYC Wa$tele$$ site several years ago. For a number of reasons I didn't actually end up using Freecycle™ (or as it is formally known The Freecycle Network™), but I'd still like to mention this option first, since others may still find it to be a particularly helpful and convenient decluttering solution.

Freecycle™, a national nonprofit, is only 4 years old, but has already spread like wild fire across the globe. It was originally started in Tucson Arizona in order to promote waste reduction in their downtown area and to help preserve the desert landscape which was in danger of being taken over by landfills. However, it is now essentially comprised of individual groups, not only in this country, but all across the world! Their sole and simple purpose is to enable people to exchange or get rid of unwanted stuff.

One of the precepts of eco-friendliness is that one's local actions have global effects. So the things we do (or don't do) within our own communities, for better or for worse, can have far reaching implications in places distant or remote to us. With that in mind, the basic philosophy of this organization can be viewed as uncomsumption at its easiest and local best, since each group is set up in and tends to serve a particular community.

Membership in Freecycle™ groups is free and the stuff you are giving must also be free as well as ", and appropriate for all ages." Freecycle™ groups are moderated by volunteers. You essentially sign on to a list serve and group members post their various needs and wants. If there isn't a group in your area, Freecycle™ suggests that you might consider starting your own (click on "Start a Group" for instructions) and provides various resources to help the newbie get started (see the

For more infomation, their contact information is as follows:
The Freecycle Network™
P.O. Box 294, Tucson, AZ 85702

So, in keeping with the twigghugger mantra: Identify, Gather and Remove, a simple strategy using Freecycle™ might be:

  1. Identify (but don't yet move in any way) those piles of sweaters you've been meaning to give away
  2. Join a Freecycle™ group
  3. Send an email to your Freecycle™ group's email list
  4. Wait for responses to the email
  5. Select a recipient
  6. Make p/u arrangements with your chosen recipient
  7. Then, and only then Gather those sweaters and place them in a shopping bag
  8. At the appointed time, Remove sweaters from your premises and transfer to their new owner!

And We're DONE!