moving house

There are people out there that have started their own business, kitted out their whole house or planned for a new baby all for free, using giveaway websites such as Freecycle or Freegle for example. The phenomenon started in the USA, but has quickly spread around the world, and has taken off in the UK. This guide aims to help you understand how the system works, and what to look out for.

Why become a Freecycler?

More and more of us are becoming pretty astute when it comes to getting rid of unwanted items. Years ago we would have just thrown them away, but nowadays, we can sell them cheaply on sites like EBay, give them away to charity or advertise them in the local Loot etc. Sometimes, these methods don't work for us - you have to have the right buyer at the right time, and charity shops are far more choosy about what they take, and in some cases, won't take electrical items.

This is where freecycle groups can help. An item may be too bulky for you to dispose of (if you don't have transport for example), or may not be accepted at your chosen charity, but there may be a very good and needy home, waiting for it just nearby.

Finally, it is an environmentally friendly way of disposing of your unwanted goods!

How do Freecycle Groups work?

Freecycling works by the creation of emailing groups. Groups are normally created based on location, such as, say, Bolton, Kettering or Guildford for example. Items are posted as either Wanted or Offered and an email goes around the whole of that group.

As a giver, you would then receive (hopefully) numerous email responses from people willing to give your item a new home. As a giver, you then have to choose where your item will go.

As a receiver, when you get an email with an item you are interested in, you simple email the giver with your interest.

Top Tips for Freecycling

1. When you first sign-up to giveaway websites, join as many as you can in your locality, or where you are willing to travel to in order to collect goods.
2. Join more than one freecycle website - quite a few hardened freecyclers moved away from the USA invented sites and created a UK based site.
3. Consider your notification options carefully - you will be asked whether you want immediate emails or daily emails. If you want to avoid your inbox being bombarded a daily email may be the best option, but you run the risk of missing out on what you really want.
4. Start out your freecycling by giving away an unwanted item - many freecyclers look for people who have given before they receive when choosing who to pass their item onto.
5. When choosing who to give your item to, there is no hard and fast rule - many will give on a first come, first served basis, but others will look at past history, or for charities.
6. Bear in mind that some people can't check emails all day long (teachers, doctors etc etc), so try not to alienate good groups of individuals.
7. If you see an item you want, email the giver and outline who you are and what you want the item for - they have to choose between a few people, so appeal to them nicely!
8. If you are posting a wanted ad, be realistic - you aren't likely to get a Ferrari!
FINALLY BE SAFE - don't go to someone else’s house alone!

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Updated on 29th February, 2012

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