Fun with FreeBay

 Posted by on April 12, 2010  Add comments  Tagged with: ,
Apr 122010

We’re going full steam ahead with our major purging efforts, and we’ve made a lot of progress already. This weekend we tackled our back storage building. Whenever we do a project like this, we try to decide how we can maximize our gain from the stuff we’re getting rid of. If we can get a good price we consign it, garage sale it, or sell it on CraigsList. If that doesn’t work, we donate it to Goodwill and take the tax deduction.

Note: When donating goods to a charity, like Goodwill, it’s very important to only donate saleable items in good condition. The IRS will only allow deductions for items in fair condition or better, and unsaleable goods must be disposed of at the expense of the charity. There has been a great increase in donations of trash to charities in recent years, because people don’t want to pay disposal fees. In my opinion, this is just despicable behavior. If you’re in doubt, be sure to ask the charity if they want your items. Don’t just dump them there. Please.

This weekend we set aside items for our consignment store, which only takes the very nicest things, and put together a bag of clothing to be handed down to relatives. We had some things that were on loan, so we put them in my husband’s car to be returned. We photographed a few things and listed them on CraigsList, and made a pile for Goodwill. We neatly organized what was left, and swept out the building.

We were left with some pieces of old kitchen countertop, a printer stand with a broken top, and other large items that we no longer need, but would have to pay to dispose of. Because we’re extremely thrifty (read: scavengers), nearly everything had been picked up for free somewhere, or was purchased very cheaply at a garage sale, and had served a useful purpose for awhile.

In our town, it costs $2 per bag to dispose of trash. To avoid this cost, we recycle absolutely everything possible. We compost all food waste, recycle all food containers and cardboard boxes, and take our scrap metal to a metal recycler. Despite our efforts to reduce, reuse, and recycle, we are always left with things that cannot, in good conscience, be donated, and would cost money to be recycled or taken to the landfill. So what do you do with this stuff?

Our long lane ends at a busy highway, so we haul the stuff to the bottom of the hill, and put up a big, hand-painted sign that says “FREE!” We’ve been doing this for years, and we jokingly refer to it as “FreeBay.”

FreeBay is easier than FreeCycle, and I think it’s more fun. Yesterday morning, as my husband was taking more stuff down to the free pile, a woman was standing there picking through it and loading stuff into her trunk. She said, “Free stuff is the best stuff! You’re alright man. You’re alright. Thank you so much!”

My husband said, “No. Thank you.”

Just for fun, we took a picture of the free pile at 8:30 when we put it out, and again at 10:30 when we left for church.

8:30 A.M.

10:30 A.M.

See? FreeBay works because it really is true that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Sometimes I am truly amazed at what people (myself included) will pick up, simply because it’s free.

As we continued to clean and organize yesterday, we took more and more stuff down to FreeBay. Nearly all of it disappeared. I even gave away the $1 Dollar Table, which I cleaned and painted and used in my kitchen for awhile. I may have been able to consign or donate it, but I decided to return it to the Free World so it could bless someone else. It was the very first thing to go.