They say there is no such thing as a free lunch. Well I beg to differ. Perhaps not in the lunch department, but there are free things out there with your name on it. Say wah?!? Back when my husband was out of a job I started perusing the free section on Craigslist. Looking back I don’t know how I got into it. Perhaps I was needing to buy some second hand baby clothes and out of curiosity clicked on the free tab. I was intrigued by what people easily tossed out. The curiosity turned into an interest, which then turned into a hobby. When you get a garbage bag full of practically new designer shoes in the right size who wouldn’t keep coming back. Anytime I got something it was like winning the lottery!
My Journey Into Freebies
I started this new hobby while I was nursing my baby and mostly checked the free things out while feeding her. I’d sit down with my daughter in one hand and my mini laptop in the other to see what was available. My husband and I got into a good routine of getting my finds. I’d see something posted, call out “Curb Alert!” and he’d go out and fetch it. Most of the stuff we got were practical items like pavers for the yard, fire pit, or snow shovel. It was nice getting implements we needed when money was tight and not have to pay for it. The Lord provides! After my husband got a job we still kept up the habit of checking out the free section if we were in need of something.
So what can you find in the free section? Surprisingly you could outfit a farm at no cost. We’d get a kick out of people getting rid of old barns, goats, donkeys and pigs. If you frequent this area enough you’ll see ads like that. There are a lot of useful items posted though. It’s like dumpster diving at your finger tips. Sometimes people will post a “Curb Alert” where it’s first come first serve out on the curb. Other times you can get the grub like any other Craigslist purchase. As I mentioned earlier, thanks to an empty nester cleaning out her daughter’s closet, I got a garbage bag full of brand-new designer shoes! We got a sandbox for our kids. Here are some of our bigger finds:
These are other some other popular items listed:
- Garage clean out items: old mowers and snow blowers, shelves, yard and garden tools, sporting equipment, work benches
- Exercise equipment: treadmills, ellipticals, bikes, weights
- Household items: dishes, kitchenware, cutain rods, decor, plants
- Kids and Baby items: baby swings, pack and play, toys, clothes, baby formula
- Furniture: pianos, couches, recliners, mattresses, bed frames, shelves, tables, dressers
- Swingsets or wooden play structures
- Old appliances for scrap
- Wood for fires, plants for gardens and landscaping, wood chips or rocks for yards
Buyer Be Wary
Of course it is advisable to use discretion. You may be on a hot pursuit to get as many commodoties for free, but somethings aren’t just worth it. Mattresses I think should be avoided all together. If you’re looking to get a couch check for odors and pet hair? That will be coming into your home and might not be able to get the smells and hair off the furniture. (I also like take the environment of where it’s coming into consideration. It can tell you a lot about how the item was treated.) TV’s are popular to give-away, but usually there is a disposal fee if throwing it out. You might be stuck with that if it get it home and it doesn’t work. Which also brings me to electronics in general, make sure it works before you take it otherwise all you’ll be gaining is someone else’s junk. The question you want to keep in the back of your mind is “why are they getting rid of if for free.” If it appears to be something that is so stained or damaged or doesn’t work that you can’t fix, best to not get it. (Most people get rid of stuff because it’s just easier to get rid of it for free rather than wasting time and energy to haul it somewhere.)
Take the Freebies Up A Notch
About a year into my get things for free journey I discovered this gem. According to it’s website, Freecycle is a grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving (and getting) stuff for free in their own towns and neighborhoods. It’s all about reuse and keeping good stuff out of landfills. Each local group is moderated by local volunteers (them’s good people). In my experience when using this resource I’ve found that people giving away things are looking for a good home for their belongings because the they are better quality. The selection is smaller in frequency of items posted but the variety is still similar to Craigslist, minus the animals. I like to use this service when looking for better quality items. I have gotten great things when I wanted to try my hand on repurposing old furniture with chalk paint. Below are some of my great finds.
Reduce Reuse Recycle…
Your old things. With spring cleaning coming up don’t forget that you too can get rid of stuff through the free section of Craigslist or Freecycle. It feels good knowing your trash can become someone else’s treasure.
So next time you are in need of something you might be surprised, it might not cost you anything! If there is something specific out there you can always get email alerts to stay up-to-date when things become available. Happy freebie hunting. Let me know what you end up getting, I’d love to see what you come up with!