The best things in life are free?

20 September 2010

I love a good freebie, whether it’s given away as a promotion or handed down by a friend. This is why since discovering the site Freecycle  I have become a little obsessed with the whole thing.

The idea of the site is that ‘one person’s trash can truly be another’s treasure’ and it’s a worldwide network, started in America, with 494 groups in the UK and an impressive 1.8 million members.

The site matches people who have things with people who want them, aiming to keep goods out of landfill sites and helping out people in local communities.

The first London site was created in 2003 with the aim of: ‘Reducing consumerism, manufacturing fewer goods, and lessening the impact on the earth.’ It’s also a good way to persuade people to throw out their old junk and give it a new loving home.

When I moved to London into an unfurnished flat a few months ago I was in desperate need of new furniture and on a graduate’s budget of close to zero, Freecycle was a lifesaver. Although it involved roping in a few friends and several trips across London our house is now fully furnished at near to no expense.

Another similar site is Gumtree. Although here you can literally do anything you want – find a house, buy a pet, go on holiday…but if you look in the 'for sale' section under freebies, you’ll get a similar list to the freecycle offerings.

Everything posted on the site must be free, legal and appropriate for all and as the site is free, you need to be quick when items come up. I’m currently searching for a food processor and in a similar way to ebay, the second one is offered, it’s snapped up just as quickly. This can be a bit of a problem if you haven’t got hours to spend watching the site, and you’ve got to be pretty lucky to find the exact thing you’re looking for.

It’s full of truly weird, wonderful, and practical things and I highly recommend paying the site a visit. Last weekend alone I noticed a collection of stick insects, some classic Reeboks, a brand new divan bed, romance novels, a hockey stick and a baby grand piano.