One person’s junk is another person’s treasure

19 Mar

Freecycle is my new obsession. Not entirely by choice – something has clearly gone awry with my membership of the two local groups I have joined because rather than getting one daily digest from each as requested, I seem to get 200 separate emails a day from individual freecyclers advertising their wares. It is inevitable that I have forgotten all the user IDs and passwords I would need to rectify this situation and as I’m now on my 27,000th (ish) Yahoo account it feels churlish to start again with yet another.

At its best, Freecycle is an Aladdin’s Cave full of cast off treasures. At its worst it’s the last hour of a car boot sale when absolutely everything of any significance whatsoever has been snapped up. Fish tanks, trampolines and sofa beds jostle with dirty towels, borked gadgets, soil and bags of old clothes (reading between the lines these must be unwanted as a result of either good or bad diets – the sizes are generally XXL or super small).

Some freecyclers offer their stuff with caveats – no ebayers or car boot sellers, they instruct, although how this can possibly be enforced is beyond me and besides, surely once you give something away you can’t have a say in what happens to it? Others meanwhile are after exactly that kind of buyer – collect my boxes of jumble, perfect for garage sales, they entreat.

I didn’t think I really cared about what happened to my stuff – until I offered something. I had 2 large cushions that have over the years been used as bean bags and spare beds. But in the interest of creating a nursery out of the spare room the time has come for them to leave me. Within minutes of posting my ad I had half a dozen replies, all with their own little back stories.

And there began the moral dilemma. Should the cushions go to the lady with 2 large pets? Or the man with back problems who thought they would help? Or how about the young family whose kids desperately wanted somewhere to sit in their tiny lounge? Or should it simply be the first person who replied, or who the one who could collect them the earliest? After tying myself in knots I went with the large pets (they were first)… Only for the ungrateful hounds to blow me out.

In the end the cushions went to the young family who turned out to live just around the corner. Only once I realised children were involved I started worrying about whether I should get them dry cleaned first. Freecycling suddenly started to feel very expensive. Still, we seem to be re-flooring practically our entire house thanks to cast-off flooring from others so perhaps it’s a small price to pay. Anyone happen to know how to lay laminate?

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One Response to “One person’s junk is another person’s treasure”

  1. almost witty March 21, 2011 at 12:15 am #

    I just finished laying some laminate in my hallway … getting ready for the moment when I have to sell my beloved flat … it’s relatively easy. The tricky back-breaking part is getting rid of the carpet that you already have.

    (Got a B&Q DVD on how to do it, if that helps…)

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