The Best Way to Use Freecycle: Rules to Follow

This blog post was written shortly after a post I wrote about Craigslist and Freecycle. People may use Freecycle less often these days and Buy Nothing local groups are more popular. However, it seemed like the right time to revisit the subject of proper usage of these freebie groups such as Freecycle or Buy Nothing.

This time, however, I have a different perspective. Here are some simple rules I have for using Freecycle and Buy Nothing Groups.

What does Freecycle mean?

Freecycle is a concept that many people are unfamiliar with. It involves recycling unwanted items (really reused or repurposed) and giving them away to others for free.

Both ways can you freecycle. People can post items they are giving away. People can also post when they _need_items.

Here’s what you need to know regarding Buy Nothing Groups

Before I go into the details, let’s first discuss the rules for Buy Nothing Groups.

One. If you’re looking for a Buy Nothing Group in your area, there may be more. You can only join one Buy Nothing group, unlike Freecycle which allows you to join as many sub-groups as you like.

Two Buy Nothing Groups are available on Facebook. After you have found a Buy Nothing Group that you like, you can apply to its Facebook group. To qualify, you will likely be asked some questions. You will not be approved if you don’t answer the questions.

Three, if Facebook is not your preferred social media platform, you won’t be able to use a Buy Nothing Group. This is the truth. The group is currently beta testing a Facebook website. This could change in the near future.

How to locate a Buy Nothing Group in your area

Fourth, you can apply for one if you don’t live in a Buy Nothing Group. My friend, who lives in Chicagoland, did exactly that. The training was hard and it can be overwhelming to manage the Facebook group. She says that it is worth it as she has a commitment to buy less and throw away even more.

FYI: If you are looking for a Buy Nothing Finder, this link will take you to a list existing Buy Nothing groups.

There are simple rules to use Freecycle and Buy Nothing

These are my rules for freecycle and Buy Nothing groups.

Window shopping is not the only purpose of using Freecycle or Buy Nothing

Freecycle is easy to see as a bargain, a free for all. Everything is literally free. However, that doesn’t mean you have to respond to every offer posted on your Freecycle List. This makes it more difficult for everyone to get rid of their stuff.

This is an example: Recently, we cleaned out our office and bought a new desk for me. We also offered the old one on Freecycle. I informed the first person that she had to be at my house within 24 hours to pick it up.

Guess what? 36 hours later, when I hadn’t heard back from her and she still hadn’t showed up, I gave my desk to the second person to respond to my Freecycle ad. She was probably just looking for a desk.

Freecycle users are not your personal shoppers.

You can respond to any Buy Nothing Group post or Freecycle giveaway to receive the item you want. You can respond to an advertisement by saying, “Oh, tomorrow I’m out of town; can you keep it for a few weeks” or, “Gas is too costly; can you meet with me halfway?” This is not cool.

These people aren’t your personal shoppers and should not be your first port of call.

It’s okay to set time limits for your “offer” ad

We were moving out of large pieces of furniture and we didn’t want them to clutter up our home any longer. When I posted them on Buy Nothing I said, “Only reply if you can visit my home by Friday this week.”

I received an email 12 hours after posting the ad. It was from someone who wanted me to bring one of the items to him. Six hours later, he was there, the piece was gone and my home was a little less cluttered.

You don’t have to give away your trash by using Freecycle

Freecycle’s idea is that trash can be treasure. However, it doesn’t mean you have to waste people’s time by putting trash out for grabs. There are “curb alerts”, which people post from time-to-time. This basically gives you the right to dumpster-dive when someone throws out trash.

Most people assume others will be good and offer decent items to Freecycle. It’s okay to put your item in a Buy Nothing Group, even if it’s destined for the dump. However, you must be clear that it will be thrown out if nobody comes.

These groups are a great way to recycle and repurpose items such as prescription pills . To protect your privacy, make sure to remove all labels before you give away.

It’s a smart idea to include a photo when posting an offer

Online shopping is a great way to get to know the product before you purchase it. You can use Freecycle or Buy Nothing to do the same thing.

My Freecycle offers didn’t receive many responses when I posted them in a hurry and without a photo. If I could upload a photo, things fly out the door.

Consider it this way: If you want to sell your stuff on Poshmark or eBay, you will know that a picture is a great way to increase the number of bids for your item.

This is my article on consigning clothes to Poshmark.

Post as many details as you can in your Freecycle and Buy Nothing posts

All of the toys that my children had been playing with as toddlers were sold before we moved out of our first home. These toys had been taking up space in the basement, but they didn’t have to go with us when my girls got older.

As you can see, I posted pictures as well as brand names and the dimensions.

It’s a good idea, in fact, to include measurements or weight when you give something away. This helps the buyer decide if the item will fit into their home and also their car.

After we renovated our bathroom, we gave away the sink vanity. I included its dimensions and the weight. It was delivered within a few days.

Freecycle and Buy Nothing are non-refundable.

Have you ever heard the phrase caveat? It is a warning to buyers.

This applies to Freecycle and Buy Nothing, which allow you to get stuff completely free. When you get something, it is yours. There is no warranty or return policy. You have to accept the result.

Last year, for example, I found a way to get gardening supplies free of charge by placing a Freecycle “wanted” advertisement. I was able to go to yards and pick up unwanted plants and bushes by simply using my shovel. This family was installing a fence, and they were going to need to hire someone to remove their Rose-of Sharon bushes. Nope. They did it for me. Do you think it was their fault that I brought home the Rose-of Sharon and all of them died? Nope. It was the risk I took when I got plants for free.

Are you looking to purchase a used Peloton bicycle? This article can help.

Be kind to everyone you come in contact with

Is there something called karma? Yes, that’s right. In situations such as Freecycle or Buy Nothing, it is crucial to remember karma.

Giving someone something free or taking something from their hands is a good thing. There’s no need to be too fussy about the transaction. Smile and say “Thank You”, and I am certain that your karma will reap the rewards in some way.

Are you looking to recycle or buy nothing for an ugly Christmas sweater, but aren’t sure where to start? This blog article can help.

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