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Recycling and freecycling

Yesterday the expected rain did not arrive and so Eleanor and I got a bonus afternoon at our storage units. (We spend so much time there, it’s like our second home now.) A friend came by and filled his pickup truck with an armoire, two dressers, and a chandelier, plus we’ve sorted out a lot more garbage.

Yesterday our Argosy-owning friends Lou and Larry tipped us off to “freecycling”, which is not about bicycling as you might guess. There’s a grass-roots organization called which has local units in many communities. It’s simple: you list what you have to give away, and other people list what they want. This allows people to circulate good usable stuff to people who can use it, rather than having it end up in landfills.

Membership is free, and it’s all handled on Yahoo Groups for maximum convenience. From the activity on the group, it really seems to work. I only wish I’d known about it a couple of weeks ago, because it’s a great service for getting rid of stuff. At this point we have most of our free stuff allocated.

Loaded for recycling.jpg
Our truck, loaded with recycling and rummage sale stuff again

So, for you future downsizers, where did all our stuff go? Here’s the list:

1) Small valuable items went on eBay, either listed by myself or a local service
2) Large inexpensive furniture went to friends and a local fellow who distributes such things to people to need it. Freecycle would have been good for this as well.
3) Old magazines and other paper went to the local recycling center
4) Personal papers were burned
5) Children’s clothes, toys, and basic housewares went to a local women’s shelter
6) Misc household stuff went to various church rummage sales
7) Most books went to two different book sales to benefit a local charity and a local library. A few went to friends.
8) The car went to someone who needed it. (He picked it up last night.)
9) Misc cash went into our pockets — we found Canadian dollars, US dollars, British pounds, Euros, and a $100 Savings Bond amongst our stuff! The obsolete French and Swiss francs are trash, replaced by the Euro.
10) Old boxsprings and dead mattresses, a rusted bike, broken lamps, and other such stuff went to the landfill
11) My desk and other office equipment is being distributed to various friends
12) Valuable furniture was sold through craigslist or directly to local friends
13) Old towels, blankets, garden hose, cleaning supplies, laundry supplies and pet supplies were donated to the local Humane Society
14) Two pieces of antique furniture were sold through a local auction house.
15) Wearable clean clothes and other personal/household items were donated to the local Goodwill
16) Leftover cherry and maple lumber was given to a friend who likes woodworking projects

You’ll notice we mostly donated things rather than trying to sell them. There are two primary reasons: Selling things takes a lot of time, and donating things gives you a warm feeling. Eleanor felt strongly that things should go to people who needed them. It made it much easier for her to part with certain “treasures”.

You might also notice we didn’t do the first thing that most people think of: a garage sale. I’ve had enough of garage sales that attract dozens of people who want to pay fifteen cents for a Ming dynasty vase. Too many times I’ve wasted a beautiful weekend to sell $90 worth of stuff — after having paid $35 for a classified ad in the newspaper. Giving things away was much more fun and a lot quicker!

It was also fun to discover a few long-lost items. Eleanor found her diploma from Johnson & Wales University, and I found my FAA pilot certificate. Of course we also found boxes of photos — at least half a dozen — and it was hard not to spend hours digging through them and walking down Memory Lane. Mostly we have consolidated the photos for a future session, next summer.

Today is for dropping off the latest truckload of stuff at various churches, friends, and recycling centers. It’s going to rain all day anyway. Tomorrow we hope for clearing and a big final session in which we haul off the remaining trash and consolidate the two storage units into one.

The latest message is as follows:


My goal in baiting this scammer is to tie up her time and money so she can’t rip off someone else. So I sent this reply today:

“We have a lot of other people interested in this car. I took it off craigslist because you said you were willing to pay right away. My cousin is already expecting your check. If you can’t get the money to my cousin soon, he may sell it to someone else. Will you be able to provide me with a tracking number? That might help.”

That oughta get a reaction. After all, this scammer thinks there’s a bona fide sucker on the other end. She’s not going to let me slip away that easily! I wonder how long we can keep this little charade going?

2 Responses to “Recycling and freecycling”

  1. Roger Says:

    If you get a tracking number and a website, check this website: to see if the site is already reported. I got going with a scammer and they sent a tracking number but after view the webpage source code, it showed that there was a separate ‘canned’ webpage for each ‘tracking number’. A legitimate shipping company would generate a page on the fly from their database. Keep us posted! This is fun!

  2. Peter Jewett Says:

    Thanks for the mention Rich. Just backtracked a significant number hits to your blog.