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Recycling is good, reuse is better. Before tossing things out, see if someone else can use them. Post on Freecycle or Craigslist for free and see if your trash is someone else's treasure.
Here's an example. We take a lot of prescription medications in our house (even the dogs) and I always removed labels, washed, and saved bottles for our own reuse. When cleaning the cellar recently I found 2 bags of bottles - more than we would ever use. Before putting them in our recycling bin, I posted them for free on Craigslist just on the off-chance someone would want them. In an hour there were 4 replies! The first 2 people came for them, the other 2 asked me to save their email addresses and contact them when I had more. So not only did I find a home for clutter from my house, I can continue my habit of saving the bottles and someone will use them.
NOTE: Pharmacies cannot reuse the bottles because of the possibility of medications having leached into the plastic, so do not reuse them for food products (spices and the like). The folks who took mine were planning to use them for beads and for electronic parts.
Source: Inspired by a craigslist post by someone wanting plastic peanut butter jars.
By Soup-Lady from near Boston, MA
I've found a use for Rx bottles of the right size. Quarters. I collect the State Quarters when I receive them in change and store them in Rx bottles. There is one size that is perfect for that.
I tend to do this with the plastic, divided plates hubby's frozen Meals on Wheels dinners come in. I get a good feeling every time one of my FreeCycle buddies walks away with a pile of them! I'm also collecting the paper sacks they send some items in, for the same reason. The more stuff gets reused, the less goes into the landfill.
These are good ideas and I hope this begins a thread with many more ideas! Freecycle is a great idea and we use it here in West Salem, Ohio. Upcycling is so cool to me and I am always looking for more ways to reuse and repurpose my packaging.
If you can't find an item on ebay, or can't afford to bid on ebay for the item, try searching the yahoo groups in the appropriate category for the item you are looking for; i.e. toy collectors groups, etc. If you find a group you are interested in, join the group and post your wanted item. Often, group members who might not have thought of selling an item, offer to sell to members of the group.
By Monica from Cortez, CO
There is an online Recycling group here in the Manatee County area of Florida (i.e. East & West Bradenton, Palmetto, Ellenton, Parrish, Myakka, Anna Maria, Holmes Beach and Parts of the Sarasota & Longboat areas)
If you've got more "stuff" than you know what to do with this is the place! If you want "stuff" and like the idea of not having to buy it this is the place! If your "stuff" is yearning to be FREE this is definitely the place!
Our mission is to keep "stuff" from our bulging landfills by making the free exchange of items from hands that no longer want it to hands that do. We promote the reduction of clutter in the lives of our members, and making new friends in the process.
Rich or poor makes no difference at all, for all are welcome here. It's just neighbors helping neighbors, one gift at a time.
They also have a frugal living share forum check it out.
By Destiny2dy from Bradenton, FL
Yahoo has groups all over the country that do the same thing. Just go under yahoo groups and look at freecycle for your area. I joined one here in Manitoba, Canada and have become an active member here, giving and receiving stuff. It's a great idea.
I live on anna maria island, fl and have been trying to find a recycling drop off area nearby. I have piles and piles of recyclables sitting in my garage. Can anyone help me???
It would be nice to be able to view the guidelines of the recycling program for Manatee county.
Why doesn't Manatee County recycle cardboard boxes? They don't take it in the Paper Recycle
Can anyone please tell me why Manatee "county" picks up glass of all colors in there recycle bins yet the city of Bradenton only picks up clear glass? This makes no sense to me and deters people from recycling their glass bottles (wine) of various colors. No one at the city council has gotten back to me on this. Thank you
My husband became disabled in 1985 and then I became disabled in 2005. So we have had to think of ways to cut back and save money. I recently found out about some groups on Yahoo that have helped us considerable. You have to join Yahoo if you haven't already, then you can sign up for these groups. The groups are freecycle, petcycle, tag sale and barter groups. You need to offer something first and then you can put on for a wanted item. It is a good way to spring clean any time of the year also. They have a lot of these sites all over the place. There is even a site you can go to (www.freecycle.org) and pick your state or a neighboring state and it gives a list of sites in that state or county.
We have managed to get rid of some stuff sitting around the house and have received free items which this year helped us out with Christmas for my son and his girlfriend. We were desperately trying to figure out how to be able to get their Christmas presents so we offered some magazines (5 bags full) and put on a wanted ad for what we wanted. We got a well cared for oak medicine cabinet with mirrors, light bar(w/oak veneer)w/bulbs, oak vanity with sink top with fancy spigot and knobs, a toilet, 2 towel holders and a toilet paper holder. This is going to be given to our son and his girlfriend for Christmas so they will be able to realize their dream of putting a half bath in the upstairs of their home. The cost for us, only the gas to go pick it up. It completely changed our whole outlook on Christmas because we were pretty down in the dumps and this helped to give us back our Christmas spirit. We really enjoy seeing what is being offered and wanted by others and it has helped us clean out some of the stuff we don't use anymore. You know the old saying, "One man's junk, is another man's treasure."
Source: Go to Yahoo and register or if already registered sign in. You can search for groups on that site by typing in freecyle or one of the other types of sites I listed.
By Connie S. from Towanda, PA
I agree! These groups are a wonderful way to connect in your community! I have given and received many items- some which I have gifted to others. It is wonderful and it doesn't cost a thing! We even got our doggie through freecycle! I can't wait to check out the other ones listed! Thanks for sharing!
In addition to the groups mentioned, you can also go to www.reuseitnetwork.org to find a group near you for offering and requesting free items.
Hello! Not only do I agree, but I just saw your location--hello from one of your fellow local freecyclers!
Something I've noticed recently is the increased use of shipping with freecycling. For years, freecycling always meant, in my experience, arranging a pickup meeting, usually at the donor's home. Only rarely was anything mailed, and that usually was only for coupons or something else that would fit in a standard envelope. With the increased awareness of gas prices, though, it's worthwhile for active freecyclers (and anyone else) to know your car's gas mileage and keep a handy chart showing you how much it costs to go various distances. My chart includes pro-rated costs of oil changes, etc., in the mileage cost, and at the 25 mpg my car gets on average, it currently costs about $0.15/mile for me to drive somewhere. That means that my "break even" round trip for something that will fit in a USPS Priority Mail envelope is 31 miles. It's even less for something that can be sent media mail. If the round trip is further (or about the same, since my time's worth something!) than the break-even point, it would be better for me to PayPal the postage and let the mail bring the item home.
Sending postage is really easy (and safe) with PayPal, but a couple people have recently sent me the postage by snail mail, too, and I've then sent their items to them. It feels weird, as a long-time freecycler, to include any cash exchange in a freecycle exchange, but I'm trying to get over that. If it's cheaper to mail than to drive, then it certainly makes sense to do it!
Further note: in my experience, lightweight items and anything that can be sent media mail is cheaper to send through the post office. Heavier items are cheaper to send UPS. The other shipping options (DHL, Fedex, etc.) so far haven't been the cheapest available method for anything I've sent.
Just FYI ...
And another big cheer for Freecycling! :)
Thank you all for your feedback. By the way, my son and his girlfriend were very surprised and excited when they received the bathroom items for Christmas. They can't wait to get the rest of the pipes, water lines and electric run so they can have their upstairs bath. We had also found a set of french doors smeone had set out by the road for free awhile back, our son just had to go pick them up.
I belong to several recycling groups in my community. They have a free website through Yahoo and site moderators. After you join, you write your own postings with items that are either "Want", "Need" or "Offer", but ALL items must be for FREE. I think this is a great idea for people to connect and help each other, plus it keeps many useable items out of the landfill. I'm surprised at how many people do not know about these recycling groups.
Source: This tip was from Yahoo Groups, Freecycle and Re-Use It. You can find these groups by searching in Google.
By gepe from Mesa, AZ
Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.
Is there anyone that is giving away furniture in west Philly or southwest?
By Kori from Philadelphia, PA
Look in the Yahoo Groups for a freecycle group in your area and become a member of that, then after you offer to give away one item to somebody, you can in turn ask if anybody has the thing that you need. However, you have to be able to pick them up. Sometimes if you go to a Salvation Army Thrift Store you can get a voucher for free furniture----that won't include things like TV, etc., just basic furniture and it might not even be what you would choose, but it will be free. If you are hard enough up that you need free furniture you must qualify for programs from the Department of Social Services or whatever it is called in PA. and your social worker might have some ideas.
Yahoo groups often have several recycle reuse groups in local areas; also you might check the free on craigslist as well as under materials, furniture, etc. You can also see if they have a Good Will as is store locally; or in several nearby areas; these are fantastic to get things in! May have to go quite a few times, and spend time looking through things; these are things donated to Goodwill and from the stores that they bring in. Clothing, towels, quilts etc are billed by the pound. Think it's $1.29 a lb now; be choosy; I have seen pregnant women getting boxes of beautiful kids clothing; I have picked up tops, quilts, thick thirsty towels, shoes for $1.00; may not be free but they are the next thing to it!
Got cruisant blender with steel motor for $3.00; fantastic things to be had! think of it as a huge garage sale!
Where can I get my children 2 queen mattress sets? They are 16 and 17. Please can someone help with ideas. Thank you.
By Bobbie from Southside
I would think they could get by with full size(double bed) size mattresses. In fact I know kids that age that have single size beds. Do they have beds at all, if so, it isn't an emergency. If queen beds is something that they want, let them get jobs to buy them. I know kids that age that share a double bed. Also the larger the bed, the more expensive the bedding. You can look at thrift stores, and sometimes furniture stores have good sales. There is a store where I live that just had a sale, queens for the price of twins. That store sells nothing but beds. All of my adult grandkids have single beds, because their bedrooms are so small that is all there is room for. They have had single beds since they got out of their cribs. They range in height from 5'4" to 6'8". Just goes to show queen beds aren't a necessity.
Check out the free stuff listing on www.craigslist.org for your city and state. Also join freecycle for your city and state.
Do not bring used mattresses/box springs into your home. There is a major bedbug epidemic going on and once they get into your home it is almost impossible to eradicate them.
I would not bring a used bed in the house, even if the kids had to sleep on a sleeping bag for a while. But if you are going to it would be freecycle.org and you sign up and then find the local group and join. You first have to offer something, anything, like an old shirt or shoes. It is a great way to keep things that are useful from going to the landfill.
Our local freecycle has had everything from cars to horses to miniature horses, animals, clothes coffee makers, books, etc. I have given away an entire laundry basket full of cookbooks before and a coffeemaker. People are happy to get things!
Know anyone who works at a furniture store? They often pick up gently used matresses when delivering a new mattress. If you ask they will sometimes give them away.
All these people talk about bed bugs without telling you how to get rid of them. Just get bug spray made for bed bugs, spray the mattresses thoroughly then put the mattresses into new mattress covers and you won't have a problem. Make sure you spray ALL the seams. That's where they hide. Check it out on the internet. Good sites for getting rid of the little bugs.
Walmart.com has memory foam mattress, anywhere from 6 inches to 12 inches. Very affordable and comfy, great for adults and teens. Hope this helps. :)
My Grandson sleeps on a blow up mattress. It thinks it's "neat" and has never complained. He shares a bedroom with his little brother where space is limited so when not in use the bed is either deflated or leaned up against the wall making room for play, etc.
Can someone tell me how find bed and other furniture for a needed family?
Try Craigslist first. I would also try yardsales and the Goodwill.
There is a website called Freecycle.org. Joining is free, and once you have satisfied the joining requirement, you can ask for furniture or reply to offers of furniture. You can google it to see if there is one in your area.
The only joining requirement for freecycle.org is that your first "post" be a give away. It can be anything ...a book, a plant...anything. I am currently giving away some tomato plants, some books, some make-up (unused), some coasters, some candles, and some VHS tapes. They were all spoken for within an hour. Almost every town and city has a freecycle community....all you have to do is pick up the items.
And everything is totally FREE.
Try craigs's list in your city and the surrounding area. They will probably have to make arrangements to pick the furniture up. Call or contact the person with the furniture as soon as you spot the ad. This stuff goes fast. Even if the furniture is spoken for, ask the owner to put you on a waiting list in case the first caller doesn't show up.
Your local food pantry many times has access to donated household items; also church sponsored thrift stores will often have a list of things available. Don't hesitate to call because you have nothing to lose but a little time. Good luck.
Where can I find free beds and dresses for my children?
Your local DFS (division of family services) offices should have a list, and often churches maintain a list of centers, as well as many food pantries or catholic charities. If you call one of them, they will be able to steer you in the correct direction.
Do you have a local yahoo freecycle group in your area? I've given away tons of stuff through freecycle.
Also don't rule out blow up mattresses for the kids if anyone has an offer. My grandsons had these for awhile and kids don't really care. Use boxes to contain clothing and other items until dressers come along. Good luck.
Also contact your local Salvation Army. If they can't help they will direct you where to go for help.
I would be careful about receiving a used mattress and/or box spring because you don't know if it has bed bugs or is possibly contaminated (could have mouse or rat urine on or in it and who knows about the previous owners personal health habits). I am with TXBetty about the air matress idea.
I have friends who do the food-pantry thing. They get some really nice clothes there, and have brought me some. I still wash them before I wear them, though, just for safety's sake. I got an old refrigerator & a chair once at a ministry here. The fridge shelves were rusty, but I was able to scour it off. That fridge served well enough for two or three years before giving out. You may also be able to get information on how to get what you need by dialing the national information/referral hotline, 2-1-1.
I live in Indonesia. My name is Adi. I really need a free used wedding dress size 10 for my bride. We don't have enough money to buy it and she really wants it. Can somebody help us? Thanks.
By Adi from Indonesia
Try asking on facebook and look on yardsale. People help there also.
Adi, The best sources are local. Churches, community listservs (online "bulletin boards"), freecycle, Craigslist. You could also just "borrow" a dress. Check with Indonesian-American communities online; perhaps someone is returning to your area and could bring a freebie back for you. If all else fails, promise to have a second wedding in the future, the wedding of her dreams (people do that!). But I'm sure that someone will come through for you! Especially check churches in your area!
Does anyone know where I might be able to get a used computer that works on the internet? It is for a 79 year old lady on a fixed income and housebound.
Does she want one or is that something that you think she should have? I have never heard of any place that gives away computers to anybody. You could try calling thrift stores like the Salvation Army, Good Will, etc.
It used to be that they couldn't sell used computers so when people would donate them they ended up getting thrown away. I don't know if it is still like that, but maybe if this lady could call and ask about it, maybe if they have any computers in the store, they would give it to her or sell it for very little.
You could also call different churches and ask if they know of anybody that might be willing to donate one. Be aware that free computers are apt to have problems. Also unless this lady has the monitor, keyboard, mouse, etc., when you say computer you apt to get just the tower.
My computer is six years old and about twice a year I have to have my computer guy take it and work on it, at $120.00 a crack, and I'm without it for 2-3 days. 3/4 of the memory is still empty and a week ago my computer guy told me I should start saving for a new one, because he thought a lot of my problems were related to the fact that I am running an older version of XP and he said the computer is old enough that he can't update it.
I have a choice of a big box store at $450 or having him build one at $550. He said the difference is he uses better parts in the ones that he builds. I told him I could be dead by the time I get that amount saved, and he said any of us could be. lol
Is there anybody in the Fredericksburg, Stafford, or Spottsyalvina areas that could help me with some furniture or clothes?
By Michelle S.
ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.
If you live anywhere near a large, or mid-sized city, it is easy to get free used items in a hurry! All you have to do is use your computer.
Go onto an Internet classifieds site, such as http://www.Craigslist.org, and search for "free" items under the "for sale" section. You can then search for the items you want by keyword; some of the ads even include photos of the item. When you find what you want, simply email the person who posted the ad; you do not have to join the site or even give your name!
It is important to contact people as quickly as possible, since the terms are usually first-come, first-served. If you can't find what you're looking for at first, be patient. New ads are posted every day!
We got our 20-inch color television and huge wooden computer desk this way; these were items that worked fine, but that the owners no longer needed. How nice to be able to pick up free items from my own neighborhood within a day of emailing these generous folks!
Editor's Note Please do not post personal ads in the feedback. They will be deleted. Go directly to Craigslist for those sorts of posts.
How would you find something like that in the Fredericksburg, VA area? (07/13/2005)
You can also try Freecycle.com for posting your needs or those items you would like to get rid of, it's amazing what shows up in the postings. I just lent an arch with lights to a young woman who wanted to make a wedding service for an 85 y.o. couple at her church a little special. She used her creativity and made two special areas with it, decorated the arch with tulle and flower garland for the ceremony, and tacked the lights to the ceiling (with some garland also) over where the couple sat at the reception that followed.
Freecycle is an organization that started out in Ariz. or New Mexico (Senior Moment is upon me) and has spread across the country. There are chapters all over. NJ has them by county or area, there are so many. Doesn't cost to join and no article may be charged for. Happy Hunting! (07/14/2005)
I always use craigslist.com and they have everything there. Free stuff, free furniture, free everything for all your needs. Just go and look around, you will not look back! It is a great site for people who don't mind used furniture! Happy Hunting! (11/26/2007)