More shedding, plus my Freecycle policy

This week was quite productive on the getting-rid-of-stuff front, despite all Freecycling coming to a halt for a day and a half during our record-breaking blizzard. I successfully parted with:

  • a pair of Earth shoes that were cute, but too narrow for me
  • a Saris indoor bike rack that didn’t do the best job of holding my bikes
  • a 2nd generaton iPod touch
  • a grocery bag full of tiny, tiny fabric scraps that the recipient will use to stuff Christmas ornaments (she said she makes a ton of them)
  • an old wool-stuffed pillow that was no longer fluffy, but compressed uncomfortable (went to the same ornament-maker)
  • an old Samsung cell phone with two wall chargers and one car charger, to someone who will use it
  • most of my button collection (maybe a total of 100-200 of them), because I really don’t need that many buttons to replace the one or two that fall off my clothing each year

Getting rid of the buttons was a bit of an eye-opener. I hadn’t been thinking about what I should get rid of next when my eyes happened upon my button box earlier this week. I’ve been saving the buttons off of rag-pile clothes for years so I don’t have to go out and buy them new when I need to replace one. Very thrifty at first.

But 15 years later, thrift has turned into stagnant collection. So I went through and saved the ones that are spares for clothes that I currently own, plus a couple from the most common categories, colors and sizes, and parted with the rest. Now they’re with my neighbor, who uses them for dolls she sells on Etsy. She says if I ever find myself in need of a button, I should just stop on over.

Craiglist was surprisingly productive this week. I guess people were avoiding it for a while after the gluttony of Christmas. I got four emails and sold two items on Saturday alone. I suppose I could feel guilty for cluttering up other people’s houses, but by all appearances the people I sold to this week will actually be using the items, so I don’t.

I do screen for impulsive/compulsive accumulators when I Freecycle, though – in a very haphazard and unscientific way. First, I don’t respond to anyone whose first message to me is, “Address please.” If you’re going to be in so much of a hurry that all semblance of politeness goes out the window, you clearly haven’t thought through whether you could really use the item I’m offering.

And if someone emails me about buttons saying, “I’ll take them all,” with no reference to how they would possibly use 200 buttons, I’m not inclined to give to them.  It’s not that I feel it’s my job to take care of other people’s issues for them; I just don’t want the stuff that’s unused in my house to go sit unused in someone else’s house. The whole point of Freecycle, in my mind, is to extend the usable life of items so people don’t have to go out and buy new; it’s not to pass the buck of ownership onto someone else.

What’s your Freecycle philosophy?

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