Get Free Stuff, Give Away Your Junk & Save The Planet The Freecycle Way

Tim Brookes 12-10-2012

freecycle free stuffFreecycle is the world’s largest network of recyclers who, instead of throwing away, selling or otherwise disposing of their unwanted goods, give it away instead. It’s both an environmentally and pocket-friendly way of picking up things you want and getting rid of things you don’t, and it’s completely free to join and exchange goods.


In addition being a great way to find bargains, it’s also a great way to rid your house of clutter that you no longer need. As opposed to putting an advert on Craigslist or Gumtree where it might sit for weeks before being buried beneath everyone elses, Freecycled goods generally don’t hang around long.

Here are my top reasons you should already be using this fantastic use of modern technology.

Eco-Friendly, Free & Easy

Free doesn’t always mean good but in this case the clue’s in the name, and Freecycle is a completely free service. There are a few basic rules to Freecycle about what you can and cannot sell (any non-living, legally saleable item that is suitable for all age groups is acceptable) and all parties must agree that all listed items are exchanged for free. That also goes for the adverts posted, meaning there are no costs whatsoever.

freecycle free stuff

The service can be seen as a middleman, connecting those with things they no longer need with others who are sniffing out a bargain. There’s no need to disclose what you want to use the item for, either. To quote the basic FAQ laid down by the Freecycle network:

  • No pornography
  • No alcohol
  • No tobacco
  • No drugs (of any kind, including all medicines, vitamins, creams, etc.)
  • No firearms or other weapons

These are blanket policies, network-wide and should be adhered to. It’s no more restrictive than what eBay subject you to – in fact there are generally a lot more things eBay won’t let you sell 10 Things eBay Won't Let You Sell (You Weirdo) If you’ve never ever sold or bought anything from eBay, please raise your hand (or leave a comment). In the 17 years eBay has been around, almost everyone has had some dealings with it, if... Read More . Be aware of your local network’s rules too, some are fine with responsible rehoming of pets and others aren’t.

Find Things You Want

In addition to being able to shift your old stuff, you can also find things you want to pick up using a variety of methods. Because Freecycle uses Yahoo! Groups, it’s easy to search the database of messages. Conversely, if you’re receiving Freecycle alerts in your inbox you could also set up a filter to alert you How to Set Up Email Filters in Gmail, Yahoo Mail, and Outlook Email filtering is your best tool in keeping your inbox neat and organized. Here's how to set up and use email filters in Gmail, Yahoo Mail, and Outlook. Read More of potentially interesting goods which would be pushed to your inbox or using IFTTT How To Create Your Own IFTTT Recipes For Automating Your Favorite Sites & Feeds There are a few web services that can be considered "priceless" and IFTTT is one of them. The service, which stands for "if this then that" has the power to automate common tasks and help... Read More , pushed to a device or other service.

freecycle free things

Freecycle is as much about finding things as it is giving them away, and so the service allows users to post wanted ads in addition to offers of goods. Commonly requested items (at least in my locale) consist of things like boxes for moving house, old sofas and building materials but if you want an old SNES Emulating & Playing Classic SNES Games On The PC With ZSNES In my opinion, the Super Nintendo was the greatest gaming console that ever existed. Boasting titles like Chrono Trigger, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Super Metroid, EarthBound, Final Fantasy III, Super... Read More or Game Boy Visual Boy Advance - A Game Boy Advance Emulator For Multiple Platforms [Windows, Mac & Linux] Nintendo’s Game Boy tore up the market and proved its worth as a successor to the popular Game and Watch handheld upon initial release in 1989. The numbers are impressive - the original console, Game... Read More then it won’t cost you to see if anyone can help you out.


Get Rid Of Stuff

If you’ve got a house, garden and shed full of things that you’ve been meaning to get rid of for a while, and aren’t too bothered about selling it on then Freecycle is where it’s at. Why pay dumping fees for rubble when someone’s building a house and looking for it? Is that pile of broken computers in the attic really worthless, or is your junk potentially useful to someone else?

freecycle free things

More and more silicon ends up in the ground every year, and while responsible recycling needs to be more readily enforced, it’s not necessarily always about taking products and items out of circulation. One man’s junk is another’s pot of gold, so it might be time to re-evaluate some of the things you consider to be junk. Best of all, it won’t cost you $20 like an advert in the local paper will to find out – and it’s it’s PC-related, you can bet someone will want it.

freecycle free things


In my experience, everything on Freecycle falls under a policy whereby the receiver picks up the cost of the transport. So in addition to not having to pay dumping fees for your old things, you won’t have to move it either.

Signing Up & Final Tips

Join your local Freecycle group by searching for nearby networks in your area on the official global website. On joining, you’ll have to register for a Yahoo! account due to the network’s reliance on Yahoo! Groups. As opposed to signing up for yet another (Yahoo!) account, you can also link your Google or Facebook account for a simple sign-in.

freecycle free stuff

If you’re not fond of receiving a lot of email then make sure you choose to receive only “Special Notices” when signing up. If you’d like to read Freecycle in your inbox, filters are an absolute must as in some areas you can get upwards of a thousand messages every single day. Last of all, heed the groups policies – make sure your application states exactly what your group requests. Don’t try and join groups that aren’t local to you, and if there are any specific rules follow them. The networks operate on a two strikes and you’re out policy, and if you appreciate access to this incredible network then you’ll do well not to get a rap sheet.


Don’t forget if you’re after more recycling or charitable organisations that will take your hazardous old computers and parts then we’ve got a nice list here Help the Environment: Places Where You Can Donate Old Computers Electronic waste, or e-waste as it is more commonly known, is a huge problem facing both the developed and undeveloped world. Many old computer parts contain materials that are hazardous to the environment and burying... Read More .

Do you use Freecycle? Have you got any favourite items you’ve claimed over the years? Any similar services we should all know about?

Image Credit: Shutterstock

Related topics: Green Technology, Recycling.

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  1. Edward Bellair
    October 16, 2012 at 5:12 pm

    This is a great service until someone wants to put restrictions or make rules for you. Also the people you wait for that dont show and dont contact you to say they cant make it.

  2. Brian Aguinaga
    October 16, 2012 at 2:32 am

    Alternatives to Freecycle groups include FullCircles (Canada), Trashnothing, Freeshare, FromTrashtoTreasure, Freegle (UK), ReUseIt, FreelyWheely, FreeTreasure (Australia), ReUseMoose, SharingisGiving, ...

    or start your own based on any of these models (

  3. Adrian Rea
    October 15, 2012 at 9:17 am

    Don't forget that the onus is on the receiver of the goods to collect tham from the giver. Don't ask for something and expect it to be delivered!

  4. Lisa Santika Onggrid
    October 14, 2012 at 10:53 am

    Let me clarify, can one ask for things without offering anything or it's real trading?

    • Tim Brookes
      October 14, 2012 at 9:23 pm

      There's strictly no trading - it's either give/get for free or nothing! There are trading sites out there, but sometimes you just want to get rid of stuff/see what everyone else is getting rid of.

  5. Mac Witty
    October 13, 2012 at 6:23 am

    Good to know. Well, I have now signed up for the group in my town. Would be very pleased if a lot of things we don't use any longer could get a new home. I'm note sure if I dare to check the sections with things people give away - I'm a bit of a "collecting squirrel"

  6. Jacob Mathew
    October 13, 2012 at 5:54 am

    This is quite a good service.

  7. Kantanon Wanitpisittana
    October 13, 2012 at 5:47 am

    I live in Thailand and just have volunteered to be an moderator for Bangkok area. I hope it works in my area too.

    One comment is that do not burn $20 of gas to save something that is $10 worth. That way you will harm the earth more than saving her.

  8. Edwin Williams
    October 12, 2012 at 10:23 pm

    Informative article! I didn't know about freecycle, so i'll probably check that out soon!

  9. Igor Rizvi?
    October 12, 2012 at 1:29 pm

    I cant find noone for Croatia :(

    • Adrian Rea
      October 15, 2012 at 9:12 am

      Thats easy Igor, Just start a Yahoo group yourself. It requires daily acceptin of posts but you can do great things and as group owner you get to see all the posts first which is a comeback for putting in the effort of setting it up. I would recommend it

      • Igor Rizvi?
        October 15, 2012 at 4:06 pm

        Ok,thansk for the respond.ill try it by the end of the week

  10. Harish Jonnalagadda
    October 12, 2012 at 11:47 am

    Nice! Thanks for letting us know about this service.

  11. Adrian Rea
    October 12, 2012 at 10:30 am

    I have loved freecycle for years and have benefitted so much from peoples kindness including a couple of 32 in crt tvs, a PVR, marble fire surround, coal bunker, universal remote control, pc, computer memory, ground drainage tube, wood for the fire, clock, dect phone and the list goes on. Of course I like to give too, with compost bins greenhouse glass, computers and peripherals, magazines and a fair bit more.
    I would like to say that Freecycle is not for lending. If you want to borrow something, Freecycle is not liable if people borrow equipment and so it must be a straight give away. If you want to have short term use of something there are message boards that can help with this.
    I love Freecycle and I would encourage giving as much as getting. I have had takers take items that are too big for me to take to the dump and have no more value to me. Absolutely no money is involved. Go look up your local group. There are scroungers out there who want something for nothing and then put items on ebay. This is not generally liked by the community so it must be stated if someone wishes just to sell on and posters should state in their original posts.
    Thaks for revisiting this resource.

  12. DB
    October 12, 2012 at 8:49 am

    awesome resource, thanks for sharing it and the effort you put into the write-up.

  13. Eric Wilborn
    October 12, 2012 at 2:44 am

    Great post. For things that don't sell on specialty sites I go to eBay. For things that don't sell on eBay I go to Listia. This will provide a site for me for things that don't go on Listia.

    • hazeratti
      October 13, 2012 at 5:29 am I've been using Listia for a couple of years and have won over 100 items:) People don't believe me when I tell them I get the stuff for free. Many items ship for free, but occasionally the seller requires a couple bucks for mailing costs. Also, things like "free item" coupons, Coca Cola points, and electronic gift codes tend to get people bidding. Bids = Points, Points = Free Stuff. New sellers should go through all of the verification steps in order to build trust. Be careful and read all of the rules. It's totally fun