Wednesday, 2 January 2013

How to get lovely, free second hand stuff, from lovely people

We have been very, very silly and allowed our dog Treacle to sleep on our bed ever since we got her.  

Evidence for a)

This was because a) she is super cute and b) she ripped our kitchen door to shreds at 4am every morning when we did try to get her to sleep on her own.  But times are a-changing and have decided it would be better all-round if she slept on her own.   

We needed a stair gate to stop the scratching and to help reassure her (apparently, dogs that have slept with their owners need to be able to smell them at night in order to settle- lovely!).  

I am very pleased to say that I have managed to get not one, but two stair gates from the wonder and marvel that is Freecycle.  

You have probably heard of the site before- essentially it is a message board for people within a local area who are prepared to offer things they no longer need, for free.  You get a daily digest e-mail or immediate notification when you sign up for the message board for your area, listing offered items.  

You can also list things that you want in the hope that someone has one in their garage and this is how I got our stair-gates.  

Here are my top-tips for getting lovely, free, second hand things from Freecycle:

1)  Offer a few things first, before you place a wanted post.  The Freecycle community is very much about giving rather than getting.  I found I had much more success in getting responses to my wanted e-mail when I said I was a regular Freecycler and was looking to benefit, this time round.  

2)  Tell a story.  Say why you want the item and what it's for- people genuinely want to help and if they know you need curtains because you have just moved into a new place and it is freezing (true Freecycle story on my local board) they are more likely to help.  I got 2 replies with offers of stair gates- one from a lovely lady who had lost her doggy so we connected over that.  

3)  Be open minded.  I wanted a stair gate but I was open to the colour and to the condition as long as it worked, was safe and had all the fixings.  I actually ended up with a dog-specific gate (which is marvellous) for the kitchen and a regular gate for the bedroom.  If you get too specific you limit the options.  

4)  Don't mess people about.  Agree a good time to collect the item and then come at that time.   

5)  Post on the message board your success in getting your wanted item and thank members for their help.  Everyone likes to be thanked, don't they?

And here she is.... little Treacle, enjoying* her new dog gate.  

* this is a lie

So, whoop whoop- what a good start to my challenge- 2 new dog gates and £55 saved!  

Over to you, Dear Readers- have you tried getting lovely free stuff from the wonder that is Freecycle? 


  1. I've given away all sorts of stuff on freecycle as I hate to see stuff wasted. The first was a bread machine that I couldn't fit into the kitchen of the flat I'd just moved into. That was snapped up pretty quickly I can tell you! I've only ever asked for one thing - I wanted an instrument like a concertina or accordeon. And I got a lovely melodeon. It needed a tiny bit of fixing up but as it was free, I didn't mind at all! I love freecycle :)

    1. Hi Leah! Thanks for sharing- it is so good isn't it? Knowing your unwanted stuff is going to a great home. People genuinely want to help- it gives a warm feeling in the belly xxx