The Freecycle Network (TFN) is a non-profit organisation registered in Arizona, US and as a charity in the United Kingdom. TFN coordinates a worldwide network of “gifting” groups to divert reusable goods from landfills.
Freecycling is a combination of two words – free and recycling. The whole idea is to offer items in good condition to other people, for free.
Indirectly, you get to save money and encourage community interaction, too. It’s a great concept.
Here are 18 things you can receive or donate in Freecycle Malaysia.
1: Bicycles and cycling accessories
In the same vein, rollerskates, rollerblades, skateboards, longboards, mini scooters and similar items. These are usually used items, and may need some repair/replacement parts.
2: Books and magazines
These are in high demand. You can get knitting patterns, children’s books, old issues of Readers’ Digest, random academic books, comics among others.
Also in high demand, but only request these if you can arrange transportation to collect them. It is not the owner’s responsibility to dismantle, clean, lift, or help you in any way after agreeing to give you the furniture. Bring friends and a truck if you scored bed frames, dining tables, cabinets or other heavy and bulky items.
Try to avoid couches, mattresses and carpets because of bed bugs.
People usually give away their cassette, CD and DVD collections as a set. Don’t be a pest and pick and choose, unless the owner allows you to. Show up, pick up, say thank you, leave. Take your own sweet time at home and add what you want to your collection, then offer the ones you don’t, back to Freecycle.
5: Kids’ clothes, toys and other items
For frugal mamas out there, you can always request children’s clothes, toys and items from Freecycle. Kids outgrow strollers fast. Same goes for educational toys, costumes and more.
6: Kitchen appliances
Toasters, microwave ovens, ovens, blenders, frying pans, cutlery and more. Bigger items like fridges and freezers are also sometimes offered.
7: Home appliances
Vacuum cleaners, washing machines, air-conditioning units, fans and others in this category. Don’t expect the latest models, though. They tend to be bulky, so arrange for transportation.
8: Office appliances
Printers, office chairs, monitors, mouse, speakers, adapters, and others in this category. Beware: these are usually very old models.
9: Gardening tools and plants
Surprisingly frequent. Pots, seeds, houseplants, spades and whatever tools related to gardening.
10: Arts and crafts
Sewing machines, random pieces of fabric, unused yarn, patterns, and other things in this category.
11: Musical instruments and tools
Asking for a piano is a bit too much, but smaller instruments like guitars and ukeleles are frequently donated.
12: Sports equipment
A bit tricky, but doable. For things like shoes or clothes, you have to specify the size. Badminton rackets, weight training apparatus and futsal shoes are in high demand.
It’s extremely rude to give away items in bad condition. They don’t have to be new, but they have to be in usable condition. Avoid offering broken or smelly items too.
13: Pet items
Hamster cages, pet food, pet toys, and aquariums can be given away.
Rare but it happens. Only get these if you plan to use them. Don’t re-sell them, that goes against the Freecycling spirit.
15: DIY stuff and tools
Paints, paintbrushes, hammers, leftover wallpaper and anything else in this category are sometimes offered as well as raw materials like wooden planks.
16: Clothes, bags and accessories
These are usually given as a set so you don’t get to choose. Bring them home and re-offer the ones you don’t want to other people. It’s good practice to offer clean items, but wash everything anyway.
Phones, laptops, gaming equipment, cameras, modems and the like. When offered, they tend to go very fast. Again, these are usually not new models.
Sometimes people also offer/want broken gadgets. Make sure you wipe clean your hard disk, just in case.
18: Medical items
Wheelchairs and walking sticks are among the most commonly asked for.
Freecycle is not the place to offer services, drugs or alcohol.
How does the typical Freecycle experience start and end?
IF YOU OFFER ITEMS:
- The owner lists the item. You can join Freecycle KL in Yahoo Groups. A typical format for the subject line is: [OFFER] Item (location). For example: [OFFER] Accounting books (Ipoh).
- Then in the post, add information about the item (how many books, suitable for who) and the best way to contact you (email or phone. Don’t give address).
- Pictures are definitely appreciated.
- People will contact you. Remember that you can set your own terms. Do not entertain people who beg or are overly difficult (Can you send it to me? Can you pay for postage? Can you meet me here?)
- Many owners use the “first come, first served rule”. You are not obligated to keep an item for anyone and are free to give it to whomever you want.
- Set a location, time and date for pickup. For bulky items like furniture, you usually have to give your address. Please exercise safety measures – verify the identity of the requester and have people around. But for everything else, try to meet in public. If the requester is late or a no-show, you can give it to the next person.
- Amend your listing. Now you amend your listing to say [TAKEN] Item (location). People will stop contacting you.
IF YOU REQUEST ITEMS:
- Make a wanted post. You can join Freecycle KL in Yahoo Groups. A typical format for the subject line is: [WANTED] Item (location). For example: [WANTED] Accounting books (Ipoh).
- In the post, state what it is for, why you want it, whether you can collect it, and the best way to contact you. The usual practice: If you request one item, you should also offer one item in return. That way the board is not full of just wanted ads. Give and take, not just give. An exception to this is if the items are specifically collected for charity.
- Wait for people to contact you. If you’re lucky, someone will. If not, wait a few weeks more before re-submitting.
- If someone contacts you and offers the item, follow their terms. Mutually agree on a date/time/location. Don’t be late, and don’t make difficult demands.
- Amend your listing. If you got what you needed, you can amend the listing to say [RECEIVED] Item (location). If not, you can leave it up.
This article first appeared in ringgitohringgit.com
Suraya is a corporate writer-for-hire and the blogger behind personal finance website Ringgit Oh Ringgit. She is more of a minimalist, less of a consumerist, a konon DIY enthusiast, a let’s-support-small-businesses-over-big-corporations kinda girl. Prior to her current role, she worked in various capacities within the non-profit industry.