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August 3, 2011

THE JOY OF FREEBIES

http://www.jewishjournal.com/blog/item/the_joy_of_freebies/

I do love a low price, and you can’t get lower than Zero.  The good news is that there are a gazillion useful items out there that are just yours for the taking: everything from moving boxes to mature trees.  And we all know how irritating immature trees can be.

The enlightened folks who donate these freebies realize that it makes more sense to give something away rather than dump it in the landfill.  So when you take someone’s electric juicer, you are not just being thrifty: you are protecting the environment.  Frugaholics tend to think green.

WWW.CRAIGSLIST.COM IS A GREAT SOURCE OF FREEBIES OF ALL KINDS.
I check this listing every day.  Here are some sample offerings.

• “Barbie doll house, made of wood, hundreds of small toys inside, with Barbies.  Adding a little bike also.”
• “‘60’S VINTAGE BRIDAL GOWN”
• “One green round plastic patio table w/4 chairs”
• “Free Paint Cans:  Black, Light yellow, Aztek orange, Light green, Deep maroon/red”

Water is scarce and costly here in Los Angeles My plants were looking thirsty, and I was advised to put down a three-inch layer of bark mulch to help retain moisture.  I have a very large front yard and a smallish back yard, so we’re talking mucho mulch.  One bag at the nursery is about six bucks and I needed about 30 bags. 

I went on Craig’s List and looked for freebies.  Several tree services would deliver, but you had to take an entire truckload.  This seemed risky.  I had a nightmarish vision of getting a huge mountain of pine chips dumped on my front yard which I would never be able to use. 

Then I noticed an ad from a private person which said “A tree service dumped a huge mountain of pine chips on my front yard.  I will never be able to use it all.  Come and take as much as you want.”  Perfecto!  We filled our station wagon twice – which barely made a dent in the poor girl’s mountain – and our formerly parched garden is now thriving, as you can see in the photo.  What a deal!

FREECYCLE: ANOTHER GREAT SOURCE FOR FREE STUFF

I just became a member of the Freecyle network. www.Freecycle.org  It’s a really cool site where you can search for free goods, or recycle your own excess.  It costs nothing to join, and the offerings are varied.  A glance at one day’s posts included a vacuum cleaner, a wooden desk, 50 sheets of poster paper, and cherry-flavored Nyquil. 

Last week, I scored a shopping bag full of hair products, toiletries, and unused make-up.  Then my husband needed to get rid of his old computer monitor.  I posted a listing, and it was gone within 24 hours, which is a lot better than having to schlep it over to the electronic waste dump.

Freecycle has thousands of local groups representing millions of members.  As a result, they are currently keeping over 500 tons a day out of landfills.  This amounts to five times the height of Mt. Everest in the past year alone, when stacked in garbage trucks.  In spite of the old inspirational song, “Climb Every Mountain,” I say that’s one mountain no one should have to climb.

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