Thanks to my friend Roseann, I found out about an organization called Freecycle. Like Craig’s List, users come together often for the exchange of items. What makes Freecycle unique is that the organization provides an online facility so that people who have items that are usable but they might otherwise donate or throw out, are kept out of landfills and recycled to people who need or can put these items to use.
I hold onto my ‘stuff’ so well that I realized I had clothing items from “lifetimes” that I will most likely never return to. Looking into my clothing closet I found some beautiful, high end suits from my corporate yuppinista days. They were the kind of suits that you wear when you are in management at conservative Fortune 100 firms and serve a very conservative population of management, one that thinks dressing casual means having your tie loosened.
It’s been a long time since I’ve left that world, which I never enjoyed when I was in, so realistically I know it is my history and not my future. It was time to get them into a good home, to someone who could use these things to further their career or even get that job, since most people in professional fields still need to wear a suit during interviews. This is where Freecycle comes in.
A couple of weeks ago when I finally went into my closet to get my winter clothes out, I found two bags of clothes I forgot to bring in for donations. I posted them on Freecycle. One of the women who responded had a bit of a cold so she asked if she could pick it up the next day. We chatted awhile and it turned out she had 3 daughters, so anything within the size range I mentioned in my post would surely fit someone in her family.
I told her that I’d go through my closet since I needed to do that anyway, and include those items when she came and picked it up. It’s amazing how many gifts were in there, items that people send you or give you where you have no way to return them, and they aren’t your size or they look hideous on you (but cute on the hanger, to be sure). Because of my tendency to keep anything usable, there was quite an inventory. I bagged all of what I don’t normally wear or what won’t fit me but would probably work for this lady and her daughters.
By the time I was done, I had 8 bags of clothing, including jeans, sweaters, blouses, and two dresses. When family members passed away, I had brought some of their usable items over (that I could wear) but never did, so I included those items as well. It was great to make room in my tiny closets. I live in Lincoln Square and the building I live in was designed around the turn of the century, and I don’t mean the century we are in. Back then people must have had very little in the way of clothing based on the very small closets in this building.
The recipient was quite happy to receive all the clothes. She said they quickly split all the blue jeans amongst them, and a coat I had that shrank in the shoulders (making it impossible for me to wear without looking like Lurch) fit her fine. I have very wide back and big shoulders, which forces me to wear larger sizes. She didn’t have my shoulder issue but had wide hips, so what wouldn’t work due to shrinkage (in my shoulders) did not effect her ability to make use of my items. She was so nice that she sent me a thank you card and gave me a follow-up call, both of which I really appreciated.
Freecycle is really an awesome community concept, because it brings people who have something usable but no longer needed by them in contact with people who can use or need the same items. I was great to share what I no longer needed with a family who wanted and could use these items, while making room in my place and at the same time, keeping things out of landfills. I have more things to clean out from having combined households, and I hope that those items will also find a nice home and make nice gifts for others as our Holiday season approaches.