It's all Kirstie Alsopp's fault!!
I was spending a nice evening on the couch watching one of Kirstie's many crafting shows and she drops a bomb into my world. The F-bomb. The Freegle bomb.
She's evil in perfectly matching patterns and cute shoes.
Kirstie introduced me (and possibly millions of other people) to the world of Freegle. It's been both a blessing and a curse. If you ask my partner, he'd likely side with curse. He gets this look on his face when I say I'm heading out to collect something I got from Freegle... not sure if it's pain or resignation. Either way, I'm pretty sure he's not as ecstatic about my Freegle finds as I am.
That said, however, after seeing the things I bring home, he usually comes around with a compliment, eventually.
For those who don't know of this place...
Freegle is a lovely online world where loads of people advertise their free stuff. It's a mishmash of just about anything you can think of.
Let's have a look and see what the first 5 things on the page are today...
A slightly rusty microwave
3 wooden pallets
20 sheets of greenhouse glass
Ecotherm insulation offcuts
A working but old dishwasher
This is a pretty good indication of the sorts of things which appear on Freegle daily. You also get lots of old furniture in various states, leftover tiles, bricks, fence panels and more.
You also find lots of people looking for stuff for free. Bricks, paving slabs, bicycles, appliances, phones, baby stuff and furniture.
Very occasionally though, you can find a gem or two.
Sewing Machines, camping gear, good garden furniture, aquariums, chicken/rabbit/guinea pig runs, chicken wire, fabric, seating or bedding foam and good condition bicycles just fly out the door. Be prepared to be very quick or very lucky if you ever try to snag one of these items on Freegle.
As with everything of this sort, Freegle depends on a community of people who will participate in the exchanging of free stuff with goodwill and integrity. Meaning, don't take the piss you jerks. Be honest in what you are offering and show up to collect the stuff you agreed to take, when you agreed to take it.
This is part of the unwritten etiquette to being a "Freegler"
Other points of etiquette:
- You should be prepared to offer some things as well as take.
- You should not harass the posters with multiple emails. Send one and if you don't hear back, you can assume you didn't get it.
- If you use the Fair Offer Policy, actually use it. Wait at least 24 hours before contacting people about the item.
- Be polite and remember this is an item which is FREE. It's not going to be perfect and may not even work properly.... this is why it's free. Don't complain. Although I will say I was less than impressed with the woman who advertised a single blow up mattress but "forgot" to mention the gaping hole in the side of it.
So, if this place is so great, what gems have I uncovered?
Let's see, I've gotten:
A gorgeous old school desk with chair - my very first Freegle score and it's amazing. Solid wood, flip-top desk with brass ink well (bottle missing), cast iron legs with original wood chair with metal reinforcements. It's luuuuurvely. Kirstie would be chuffed to bits, I think.
Pond weed - because I cleaned out the pond but needed something in place to clear the water and keep it from stagnating over the winter.
An apartment sized clothes dryer - it's old but despite what the family said, it does heat up rather well! I only had to take the back off it and clean out the crap from the heating element. Easy peasy. We can't dry an entire washload of clothes in it but it does a great job on munchkin's school uniforms, underpants and the odd bit we need dry in a hurry.
The single blow-up mattress with a gaping hole in the side. Luckily I had some rubber left over from the pond repair kit I bought and fixed the hole. 2 years later... it WAS still holding until my two children... (the 5 year old and the 47 year old) decided to use it as a bouncy castle.
A double blow-up mattress exactly the type we used as floating beds in our grandma's pool. No gaping holes.
A box of leftover orange wall tiles - Contrary to my partner's opinion, there is a plan in mind for these. I am still flirting with the idea of using leftover wall tiles to tile the upstairs bathroom. Mosaic style. Look out for that blog MUCH later.
A box of jars for canning - Intended to be for making jam and stuff but are now sitting in the shed. (It's not always a smash hit)
An old German coffee grinder - Just because I wanted it. It's not as pretty as I'd hoped which is probably why I can't remember where it is right now.
A massive, solid wood wardrobe - it's gorgeous. Yes, it's battered and worn but it's a heavy, quality made piece which will be with us forever. At some point, I will refinish it and change the knobs but I'm actually not allowed to do that until the 400 other DIY jobs I've started get done.
Paint cans - tin cans that munchkin and I are going to use for a project which will appear here later.
Most recently, I've acquired a massive office credenza which is going to feature in another blog post by July and a pretty big sheet of plexiglass with a couple offcuts. The plexi was a real coup because you never see that sort of thing on Freegle. I posted a "WANTED" ad on the site and had a response from a lovely man named Mike about an hour later. I'm so happy because it's exactly (EXACTLY!!!) what I needed.
For the most part, I've met some really nice people who were happy to have a little chat and were genuinely interested in what you have planned with their old stuff.
You should try it. www.ilovefreegle.org or you can try Freecycle if you are not in the UK. www.freecycle.org