Freecycle is a moderated online community where people offer unused goods, and ask for goods needed, for free. Similar to Craigslist in its grass-roots origins and community spirit, it screens new members by local address – you can join the San Francisco Freecycle, for example, only if you live in San Francisco. The screening helps keep the spammers and scammers away. I’ve used it a few times – to get moving boxes, and to give away a sofa and some clay pots – and it works pretty well.

In fact, it’s kind of like an online version of Give Your Neighbor a Ride.

Each local Freecycle community is hosted on Yahoo Groups, but Freecycle has its own login system. So it’s best to start with the central site, find your local site, and log in from there. (You might still have to log in with Yahoo separately. It’s very confusing.)

I have a warning, though: Be very careful before giving or receiving mattresses, beds, sofas, other upholstered furniture, bedroom furniture – or moving boxes – because they could harbor bedbugs without the giver even knowing it. Since this pest is expert at hiding and feeds on people and not filth, even the ritziest hotels in New York have gotten them. For more info, see New York vs. Bedbugs.


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