I’ve talked about my love of Freecycle here before. I really appreciate the philosophy behind the operation: Take what you have, pass it along to others, receive what you need. Less waste, less consumerism, more community.
Over the past few years we have been blessed by the existence of Freecycle. Before the birth of Catherine (and now in preparation for her sibling) Peter and I sorted and organized and purged our belongings. Instead of tossing them we listed many (most?) of them on Freecycle. Folks came and got what they needed and we were left with clearer minds and more space to organize baby items. We also were fortunate to find several items listed that we could make use of ourselves.
A year later as we packed to move 2 miles up the street we found ourselves listing more things on the site. Common questions between the two of us were, “do we need this?” “do we love this?” “is it worth packing/unpacking?” and “could someone else make better use of it than us?” So often the answers led us to posting yet another “Offer: in Beverly” and we felt lighter in the process.
In our journey to living more simply, paying off debt and making more positive contributions to our community we have continued to look to Freecycle. We may not be able to donate to every cause that comes calling, but we can pass on those things that still have value, just not necessarily to us. We may not be able to help all our neighbors who are troubled or stressed, but we are can accept their generosity and help clear their lives of ‘things’ as we receive items that they have offered. We may not be able to Save the World, as it were, but we can do our best in our own little corner of it.
This past weekend we had an experience that has further confirmed how blessed our lives are. For many reasons (some petty, some not so) we have been wanting a dishwasher. Due to the restrictions in our kitchen we knew we were looking for a portable washer, which seem to run around $400. Given our budget, which has a little wiggle room, but not much, we had been at a loss as to how to afford one. Giving to our Church and making overpayments to our debt are budget priorities, but avoiding handwashing dishes wasn’t…so we continued to pray for another solution. The most promising was a little savings plan that would build up over time, allowing us to head to Sears.
Until I saw a listing on Freecycle for a portable dishwasher…located right around the corner! A couple quick emails back and forth to the owner and we had an appointment to go and check it out. She claimed it worked, but her family just didn’t want it any more. Peter and her husband carried it down from the second floor and into our car, where it just barely fit. With a friend’s assistance on Saturday we brought it into the kitchen and gave it a test run. A few loads of dishes later we’re happy to say that it seems to work just fine!
Thanks to Freecycle, for the low, low price of $5 (we needed a connector piece for the faucet) we were blessed and were made able to continue blessing others. Need examples?
*Our kitchen now has at least twice the counter space as before (the dirty and clean dishes aren’t sitting on the tiny counters anymore!). That alone makes my heart lighter and I feel 10x as motivated to be in the kitchen preparing food for my family. We’ll eat healthier and won’t be tempted to eat out as a result.
*The family who gave use the washer now has more room in their, also small, kitchen. The washer was taking up space they wanted and now they are living lighter and making better use of their space. They probably feel good that they were able to help another local family, as well.
*By resisting temptation to “buy now” and put it on our credit card we have been able to continue to adhere to the budget that we have committed to.
*We are still able to contribute to the causes that we believe in, because we’ve kept to our budget. We aren’t taking from others because of our ‘need’.
*We’re conserving water- at least I think we are! By running a full load of dishes in the washer I think we’re using less water than we would be doing the dishes by hand. Even though we were very mindful of our water usage.
*And we’ve saved another perfectly good appliance from heading to the dump to spend the next eternity rusting away.
All that to say, I really love Freecycle and I’m really happy with our new, free, dishwasher.