This is a reply post to BeCentsAble’s Tipster Tuesday: Be Green, Save some Green… Nothing New post.
Quite awhile ago, I wrote a post about ‘Money and Me’ where I wrote this:
Garage sales are just super. I truly would love it if there was someplace I could go with things and just trade stuff [I have but don’t want] for other stuff – that’d just be swell.
Out of that, Jim wrote a comment introducing me to Freecycle. And boy did I get hooked. Giving away things, getting things. Then I decided to spread the word: to my wife … then co-workers … and then acquaintances. If they had a bumper sticker for it, believe me, I’d have it on my car [seriously]. We’ve saved quite a bit of money on several items we would at some point get (therein lies the potential issue – getting things that you just may not fully need, especially at this current time! the whole REDUCE concept is hard for such a community) but many times we have found major and minor items that we really did need and would have to hit a store for. Like a complete bed for my youngest girl, bedding for our hamster, a shredder, etc. Sometimes it’s also been fun items for us, like a upright piano. A significant portion of items we’ve picked up have also gone towards others in need (specifically the homeless) – like clothing, shoes, toiletries, lotions, etc. so you can use this community in many ways.
We still rely quite a bit on thrift stores for many things that can be reused like jeans. Not everything, but some. More so my wife than myself.
The last thing we do is try to reuse/repurpose items as much as possible. Really it’s me that gets almost obsessed about it (meaning I don’t throw stuff away if I think I can reuse for some other ‘project’). Here’s a great recent example:
We recently picked up a new[er] mattress and boxspring for my son’s bed, and didn’t need the old set. I still haven’t disposed of the mattress, but the boxspring I tore apart and reused the wood completely. My wife had been reading about gardening stuff, and came across an article about building a tepee like structure that plants/flowers could grow around, and the kids could use as a hiding place.
Well, here’s my best stab at it, reusing a few pieces of the wood from the boxspring, and some mesh like stuff also from the boxspring. What happened to the rest of the wood? I built a large shelf with it on the back-side of my shed. The goal is to put the canoe on it, but I’m not sure it can support the weight… so our van carrier will go up there instead. I have yet to figure out what to do with the metal springs though… maybe a recycling center will buy/take it off of me. I know no one around Richmond wants it (or the mattress) from freecycle though! 🙂
Lately, the coupon-clipping is putting a dent into this ‘buy nothing new’ idea, but that’s more for items you usually do need to get as new, like toilet paper, paper towels, shampoo, soap, detergent, etc.