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the mommyhood memos: freecycle helps my world go round

Thursday, May 13, 2010

freecycle helps my world go round

Who doesn’t like free stuff? I mean, seriously.

A couple of years ago I got turned on to an online community called Freecycle. And let me tell you… it’s changed my life!

The basic premise for Freecycle is this: why fill up the landfills when, as the old Chinese proverb goes, “One mans junk is another man’s treasure”?

I couldn’t agree more.

I, for one, love the idea of keeping things unnecessarily out of the landfills. And how could I not feel this way? I grew up in Oregon – the home of the tree-hugger! Recycling has been ingrained in me since childhood. (I’m one of those people that absolutely cringes when I see someone toss a coke can into the garbage.)

And… I also love the idea of getting free stuff! Woo-hoooo…. Freebies!

But for me Freecycle is personal.

My husband and I married two years ago but we’ve both been working as full-time volunteers for a non-profit organization for the last ten years. This means we’ve been responsible to fundraise for our own income(s) – both before we were married, and even still two years later.

Needless to say our first Christmas together found us very low in the cash flow department. We decided to set a very small limit on our spending for each other and instead of focusing on “big” gifts, we’d fill up stockings for each other.

And then it came… the email delivered to my inbox that said someone was giving away an espresso machine!

Oh stop my beating heart!

My husband had been talking about getting an espresso machine since before we had been married, and yet we both considered this a “luxury” item to look forward to… one day. Of course when I got this email announcing the espresso machine give-away, I was desperate to be the recipient.

I politely wrote my email back to the woman who had posted, crossed my fingers, and said a prayer.

And then… it came. The response: IT WAS MINE! And it was going to be Ryan’s.

I’m pretty sure I have never been so excited to give a gift in my life. It was so much fun watching my husband unwrap the little steel milk jug that I had put in his stocking. “Why in the world would she give me this?” he must have been thinking.

Then I pulled out the big package for him. The puzzled look on his face spread to outright confusion.

Still baffled he tore into that pressie, and to his shock (and my absolute delight) he got his espresso machine.

Sure, it was a few years old, but it was a top-quality machine and still in great condition. The previous owner had decided that they were over the “espresso machine phase” and wanted the counter-taker-upper out of their kitchen.

And to us it was like hitting the jackpot. I’m pretty sure it is one of Ryan’s favourite gifts to-date, and it was definitely one of my favourite gifts of all time to give. (It worked out really well for me too considering I was delivered a hot, steamy cappuccino while I nursed my son at 6:00am this morning!)

So yeah, I love shiny, new things. I also love cozy well-loved things. I’m not too proud to relish hand-me-downs from my aunties (they are stylish ladies!) and I’m definitely not “above” grazing the sale racks at the back of stores to find ridiculously overlooked bargains. And Freecycle? Well Freecycle and I, we’ve become good friends over these last two years.

Among other things I’ve received a Bumbo, a vacuum cleaner, a high chair, a kayak (hubs got that one for our two-year anniversary after longing for one for over a year), wooden eco blinds, a glider/rocking chair for the nursery, a play pen (porta-cot), a 3-wheel jogger stroller (pram), a waffle maker, a wardrobe, dressers, a baby sling, shelves, a weight bench (also for the hubs), a bouncer, a jolly jumper… and actually, this list goes on.

But you get the point.

I’ve also given stuff away on Freecycle, but at this point in life, I admit that I’ve received even more than I’ve given. Unless, of course you count the things that I’ve “won” for friends like when I was able to get a new washing machine for a first time mom with a newborn or a new bed for a uni-student friend.

It’s so fun to be a part of a community that both freely gives and freely receives.

Because why shouldn’t we help each other?

And why shouldn’t we pass on good, usable stuff instead of chucking it in the landfill?

In my circles we have an expression: We are blessed to be a blessing. Meaning, when I get blessed, it’s so that I can turn around and then be an even bigger blessing to others.

Sounds like a pretty good motto to live by doesn’t it?

Along with my husband, I hope I can instil these values into our family: generosity, resourcefulness, gratitude, responsibility, and kindness.

So here’s to Freecycle:

Thanks for making my first Christmas with my husband so memorable and fun!

Thanks for helping to furnish my baby’s room!

Thanks for making my home more liveable!

And thanks for letting me bless friends with things I could have never afforded to buy them!

I hope you’ll join a Freecycle network near you and keep the giving going. Just check out yahoo groups and find the Freecycle group in your area. I HEART Freecycle... and I suspect you will too. 

Happy Freecycling mommy-friends!

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At May 13, 2010 at 8:45 AM , Blogger Ana said...

Hi Adriel, I am Jesi Brown's cousin by marriage and she shared your blog with me. I love reading your posts because I can very often related (I'm the mother of a 3 year old and 5 months pregnant). I just wanted to say that what you have written has, more often than not, blessed me. This post specifically had me smiling because my husband is a college student, and we're always on the look out for wondrous little somethings. Thank you for sharing!

At May 13, 2010 at 10:23 AM , Blogger Mama Hen said...

Hey Adriel! Free always has a nice ring to it! I can't believe all the stuff you have gotten. Wow! Love your blog!

Mama Hen

At May 13, 2010 at 11:59 AM , Blogger Kim said...

Wow, I need to find my local freecycle - I have a lot of stuff I could give away - as well as a bunch of things I am missing in my life.

At May 19, 2010 at 11:13 PM , Blogger Mama Hen said...

Congrats Adriel! I gave you an award on Mama's Little Chick! Come and see!

Mama Hen


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