Why I Heart Freecycle

why I heart freecycle

Yeah, I said ‘heart’ – get over it. A THRIFTY MRS SAID HEART. Honestly though, I do heart Freecycle, I heart it a lot. If you have no idea what Freecycle is then where have you been?
Basically if you have something you want to get rid of be it a piece of furniture, a lawn mower, spare tools, baby clothes, moving boxes (pretty much anything), offer it on your local Freecycle and it’s pretty likely someone will find a use for it and come over to take it off your hands. You don’t get any money but most of the time it saves you a trip to the tip and it means you’re doing your recycling bit.
On the other side of the bargain if you see someone offering something that you need, then you make your case (my case is usually ‘I’d love the item, can make good use of it – when would be convenient to you for collection?’ but a lot more polite) and if they pick you, you’ll end up with something you’ve always wanted/needed.
I’ve managed to rid our home of half used tins of paints, stacks of wedding magazines, unwanted furniture, tools, spare electrical parts, office supplies, car parts and all manner of random crap we’ve found in our lofts, garages and cupboards in the various homes we’ve lived in together for the last 8 years. We’ve also been lucky enough to receive furniture (a lot of it not even removed from the flat pack packaging), bikes, bike parts, camping equipment, garden furniture, plants, fruit and veg and so many other things I’d struggle to list them if I tried.
Last weekend our neighbour’s bathroom leaked into our bedroom and ruined not only my wardrobe but most of the clothes in it. The solution was some Ikea drawers because I didn’t have time to search out vintage or second hand – all of my clothes were in a pile on the floor of the spare room. I paid my £45 in Ikea, made them up and then realised I probably needed another set at more expense. Gah. Later that day I was listing some tomato plants on Freecycle and happned to search ‘drawers’ and found a chap not 5 streets away getting rid of a set of the exact same drawers still partially in their Ikea packaging with only a tiny dent on one of the pieces of wood. Don’t you love it when something like that happens? £45 saved, clothes stored and happy man 5 streets down currently tucking into a chocolate brownie Mr Thrifty made as a thank you.

 Freecycle tips

- If you’re new to Freecycle please don’t go wading in asking for things. It is polite to offer a few things first. – Don’t spam the community, be friendly and give detailed descriptions.
- Always read the rules. Each town or city has their own Freecycle site and they each have their own set of rules.
- Set up a separate email address just for Freecycle because even if you do set it to daily digest, if you go away on holiday you’ll find your inbox clogged.
- Before offering something have a quick look to see if another member is currently looking for it.
- Again if you’re looking for something have a quick search to see if another member has offered the same thing recently rather than start a new request.
- Don’t lay it on too thick when asking for something – sob stories often get deleted or ignored.
- If you can’t make it to pick something up or have decided the item is not for you please tell the person who offered the item well in advance of the time you’re supposed to arrive. No shows are seriously frowned upon.
As with everything Freecycle has both good and bad sides. I love being able to save items from landfill, I love the sense of community it creates and I genuinely love being able to help someone out even if it is because we have some of those wooden Ikea dowel thingies and their new shelves didn’t come with enough. A few of my gripes with Freecycle are listed below but their nothing major and for me the good out weighs the bad by a long way. If you’re a student or have just moved out of home then you can do far worse that trawl your local Freecycle for things to make your new place a home – just make sure you’re giving back, even if it is old text books or those magazines you never read.
The gripes 
- Some people are annoyed that items they offer are then sold on. I can understand why and I’ve had a ‘professional Freecycler’ benefit from my offered items but these people are few and far between. Mostly, I’d prefer it to go to a good home but whichever way I look at it – the item is no longer clogging up my house and I didn’t have to take it to the tip or pay for the council to come and collect it.
- Choosing who to give it to can be hard. Usually I wait for a few replies to come in before making my mind up. Some people plead their case and some don’t which can make it hard to narrow down who to give it to. Lately I’ve gone with first come, first served at it is working for me at the moment.
- For a while I became incredibly annoyed by the people who would ask for brand new dishwashers or televisions (which must be HD ready and at least 36inches wide) but I’ve mellowed and let the lunacy wash over my head. I did once see someone request a caravan and get one a week later – so you never can tell.
- No shows. My number one frustration in my Freecycling life is the people who don’t show up to pick up when they say they will. No, I cannot rearrange my evening to suit you. No, I cannot take apart a bed frame in the street and then come to your house and help you reassemble it. I’m doing you a favour already, now off you pop.
How do you feel about Freecycle? Any positive or negative stories?


P.S. You can find your local Freecycle group here.


  1. When me and D got our flat we had not a scrap of furniture, we pleaded our case to many and furnished our whole place. When we went to collect our sofa, the guy even dug out an old chest of drawers and a freezer for “to help a young couple”. We wouldn’t have been able to afford food that month of it hadn’t been for him. So thankful for freecycle.

  2. always positive!

    I got rid of tons of stuff and got other things I never thought I would (hi-fi stereo (1rst freecycle and the guy dropped it at my house because I couldn’t carry it myself :), brand new mattress, smoothie maker!!) PLUS I love meeting all these random people (and often hear their stories)

  3. I’d never even heard of Freecye before but I will definitely look into it now. Wow. Thanks ever so much for this post – I have a lot of junk I could give to a good home!

    Helen xxx

  4. I love it! Got rid of tonnes of stuff we didn’t need to people who seemed genuinely appreciative when we were clearing out. Also GOT a few brilliant things.

    Over the last year I’ve had some no-shows, and some people asking that I “hold” things for them for weeks and weeks on end. My husband went to pick up a baby item we needed from a women who lived near by and it was so dirty and disgusting I wouldn’t even let him bring it in the house, let alone put it near the baby.

    Despite that though, I still love it.

  5. Love freecycle, someone took our old kitchen & fitted themselves a utility room out of it,months later collected some empty folders from them to see my old kitchen sink on the doorstep!

  6. Love freecycle, someone took our old kitchen & fitted themselves a utility room out of it,months later collected some empty folders from them to see my old kitchen sink on the doorstep!

  7. i love freecycle too!i have used it both in London and Amsterdam,to give away a load of stuff but i have also picked a few good pieces too.In fact my whole living room is courtesy of freecycle! (2 sofas & coffee table) and my dinning room chairs :D
    i like the pay it forward kind way of thinking that most freecyclers have, when i move countries later on in the year i plan to pass most of my stuff on via freecycle!

  8. I love free cycle, and the yahoo group Liverpool Recycle which works the same. Mostly I use it to get rid of unwanted items, I’ve never been lucky to see things I need/want.
    My only gripe is people not turning up to collect. SO Frustrating.

  9. I LOVE freecycle! We are currently replacing all our dining chairs with random ones people are offering on Freecycle! 5 down 1 to go! We have got rind of loads of children’s clothes & games over the last year too! Overall what’s not to like? Our best item recieved is a sewing table which houses your sewing machine & bits & bobs which handily folds up when your not using the machine to be used as a table! Love it!

  10. I used it for the first time ever last weekend. I needed to clear space in my sewing room for a cutting table so the guest bed had to go. Was going to take it to the dump but then thought “Freecycle!” (I have no idea why it popped into my head – just one of those weird things…. I’ve never used it before).

    Registered and saw immediately someone asking for a single bed so I emailed them. They collected it the next day (which was this past Sunday). They are going to be fostering a child and need the bed for him/her. And, turns out these people are from South Africa which is where I am from, so we swapped stories about ‘back home’ whilst standing in the street, three of us trying to force a bed into a car. So that was even more bizarre. But nice. :)

  11. I cannot believe the utter cheek of some people – asking for HD tellies. Ha!

    Freecycle sounds great and I imagine (like Wendz above) you can meet some really good people through it, friends even.

    I’m all for doing my bit, so next time I’m getting rid of something I’ll definitely be putting it on there. Within reason; I’m not getting rid of that HD telly ; )

  12. Love Freecycle (the American based company) and the British version, Freegle. Freegle was set up as Freecycle had some American ideas that didn’t work for Britain and they wouldn’t let the British change the rules (can’t remember what they were). Have had some good things through them both and have got rid of a good few things too. When it was the Scarecrow festival we got an old canoe from someone and put our scarecrow in it on the roof of our house. It wasn’t fit to be used for purpose so when the scarecrow came down we just released the rope and let him slide down the roof.

    As for the inbox clogging up when you are away you can go into Yahoo quite easily and change the settings to ‘no emails’ while you are away and change it back on your return.

    • millie says:

      freegle is not the british version of freecycle.we in uk have freecycle.freegle is a diff story.i know I run the Leeds branch of freecycle in uk:)

  13. I’ve only used it a couple of times to get rid of some things for my Nana, but it was all fine. :) It would be a little annoying if someone re-sold it, but then again once it’s not mine anymore I don’t mind what they do with it! At least it’s being recycled! That said, I usually give old things to charity unless it’s things they can’t sell (which I’m sure you do too, since you’re in those shops all the time anyway! :) )

  14. Got rid of our old sofa on Freecycle to a very happy student couple, it was really a win-win for everyone!

  15. I was a member of Leeds Freecycle (now called Freegle) for more than 5yrs but recently left the group due to it frustrating me so much! We have managed to rehome a lot of stuff via the site as well as obtain a few new items – I have always loved it for that. However with the Leeds group the moderators are utterly ridiculous – they come accross as power hungry, anal and rude. There is a lot of politics attached and the rules are thrown around to suit the moderators. I can’t count how many times I have been put on moderation (the naugty step!) for the way I’ve worded things and then people who are clearly asking for things to sell on get away with posting all sorts of stuff – it just got a it too much and I decided I’d had enough. I’ve always been very supportive of it, promoted it etc and I just got a bit fed up! I have since given things away as freebies on gumtree and had a really good response (obv follow safety guidelines etc) so would recommend that too.
    A lot of people are put off freecycle by the volume of emails too.

    • millie says:

      that was then this is now.when I took charge was only 12 thousand members now we have over 42 thousand and am pleased to say I am not power hungry rude or any of the above lol:)I took over in beginning of 2013happy freecycling

  16. I do like it, and have both got and got rid of things through our local group, although it did go through a phase recently of being all about “please can I have a brand new laptop”. Yes, it’s annoying when people don’t turn up, but we’ve had some good things from it and I check every day in case anyone wants rid of a shed! :)

  17. I love Freecycle. We scored our coffee table from there.
    I love the feeling you get when someone collects from you too, we’ve given away an old style 26″ TV, wicker chair, fish tank. The best one was when someone collected a load of planks,old floorboards, dismantled pine bed and other wooden odds and sods to use on their new wood burning stove. They were so grateful that they took all the other crap which was cluttering the yard and took it the the tip for me! So I got my yard freed from all the clutter and the lovely bloke got about 2 months worth of wood for free! Everyones a winner!
    I have to say the wanteds generally annoy me. Often there is no please or thank you. Grr!

    And the amount of times I’ve seen people posting saying they are desperate for a tent and the whole camping kit as they’re going camping soon. Erm, here’s an idea – don’t arrange to go camping if you haven’t got the necessary equipment – ie tent! Fools!

  18. I loved this post, I didn’t even know Freecycle existed! I am currently a student but when buying a house will definitely be up for exploring all these ideas! I love the fact charity shops sell furniture too. Life has just got so expensive when it really doesn’t need to be! I such a big fan of your blog lovely, keep posting all your great tips!
    Charlotte x


  19. I love the principle of Freecycle, although as yet have not offered or requested anything. Although now I think about it I do have a stack of Wedding magazines I could pop on there – even though they are about 18 months out of date, they’re in good knick and someone may want them for inspiration.

    My tip would be instead of having a whole new email address, set up folder and a rule so all Freecycle related items go to a separate folder automatically.

  20. My local freecycle became freegle and I’ve used it for several years, giving and receiving.
    My biggest gripe is people who ask for something and then don’t look at their inbox for days.
    I offered a huge bookcase, gave exact dimensions, stated it was heavy and that they would need 2 to load it and that it needed to go asap. So when the person I offered it to eventually emailed me back, they asked “Will it fit in my Vauxhall Corsa?” So out I went with my tapemeasure, found someone standing beside their Corsa, asked them nicely…like heck I did! I ended up offering it to someone else, who also mucked me about and the bookcase went to the tip, sadly.

  21. I’ve never taken anything from freecycle but did give away a massive wooden box thing. The guy who picked it up was going to use it as a mini outdoor theatre for his kids (it was a MASSIVE box) and he was mega mega chuffed with it.

    If anything, use freecycle to get some karma points and make some kid’s day!

    (The amount of e-mails they send is C-UH-RAZY though)

  22. I love Freecylce generally,

  23. oopss….
    i love freecylce generally, i gave away some computer games and the guy gave me some wine! some people have been so happy and polite when collecting your stuff. but then there are some people who reply with a brief misspelt ‘can i hav the ‘item” ….. call me old fashioned, but they dont spell or punctuate, dont say please or thank you and dont offer any details of when / if they can pick up or just write a pleasant polite message. if im ever offering something there are clear winners among the people who reply to my posts! :o)

    btw, Love the housewifery(almost wrote midwifery then…!!) prompts… great idea, thank you!!!

  24. Hi Thrify, I just commented on here, and then I sent you an email, but I didnt leave my name or anything… how rude! after what I posted about Freecycle users as well!!! anyway, sorry about that! enjoy reading your blog so much I have saved many of your posts for future reference! :o)

  25. Dynamic, modern and tasteful.

  26. I have used it for years for recycling…. As a rule I give it away to the person who is polite in the email and shows enthusiasm for it. Time wasters are my bugbear but you get them everywhere… Recently I had 2 no shows so just emailed everyone who had enquired about a cupboard and told them first come can take it from the drive, it was gone when I came home from work .

  27. Love freecycle but hate time wasters… Recently had 2 no shows for a small wardrobe so put it out on the drive emailed all the people who showed an interest and told them all first comer can take it…… It was gone when I came home from work !

  28. Never used this before but it sounds like a great idea :) xxx


  29. Anonymous says:

    I’m late to the party, but my gripe are the ones who are desperately penniless and at the point of starvation and then turn up in the latest plate car whilst clutching the newest mobile phone and wearing designer duds. Then when you give them the items there is not so much a word of thank you or goodbye. I was having to clear my home before moving (almost repossessed but managed to work it out with the bank just in the nick of time so could still sell), and I couldn’t sell my items quickly enough on Ebay so I ended up giving away beautiful and expensive furniture and furnishings as I couldn’t store them. It was heartbreaking.

  30. Never used it myself but was been given a tent by somebody who does. I used the tent at a festival and LOVED it.

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