Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Free is the New Cheap (Updated 11/8)



These are just a few of my favorite FREE things. Nope, didn’t pay a cent for any of them.

The armchair and cabinet I found by the Dumpster outside the condo complex where I used to live. The desk chair I got from Saver's.
True story - I was unloading my leftovers from the garage sale I had this summer, and I saw hanging out in the back, still not tagged for sale. So I jokingly asked if I could take it, and the workers actually gave it to me. Probably because they were the LAZIEST slackers that have ever graced the Saver's unloading dock and they didn’t want to carry it into the store.

So her are a few ways to score free loot (that don’t involve Craig’s List or Freecycle):

1. Dumpster diving. This doesn't mean you actually have to crawl inside a Dumpster, it just means check out other people's trash. Folks are always leaving stuff at the curb, or next to Dumpsters, for garbage collection. And not all of it is garbage - some of it, like my cabinet and chair, are useful items that just need a new home.
Case in point, Hagioscope left a GORGEOUS buffet outside her home with a big ole FREE sign on it, after several attempts to give it away on Freecycle failed. Not much later, someone came along and snatched it up. You can read all about her adventures with Freecycle on her blog (to the right).

2. Swap with friends. Got clothes or accessories that clash with your personality, your style, your hair? Stuff you've outgrown, either mentally or physically? Shoes that pinch your feet but would fit another's? Then swap them with, or just give them to, your friends.
The next time you clean out your closets, see if your friends want any of your still-lovely-but-not-right-for-you goodies before you haul them down to your local Goodwill.
Or, you can be organized about it and arrange a clothing swap party. My friends and I did this a year ago with great results. You just gather up your clothes (making sure they aren't gnarly and should be tossed, first), gather up your friends, add alcohol and swap away. Number one rule: whoever looks best in the item gets to keep it. Then you donate what's left.
And you don't have to limit this to just clothes, either. I've gotten (and gotten rid of) furniture and books this way, too.

3. Ask. No seriously, ask. If someone in your acquaintance is grousing about an object they no longer want, ask for it. Or if you see it (it = shoes, clothes, furniture, car, house, the list is endless) just sitting around, neglected and unwanted, ask if you can take it off that person's hands.
Or, ask if somebody has something you need. Ex. “does anyone have a couch they want to get rid of.” That’s how I got one of the couches in my living room (the non-IKEA one). I kid you not.
The worst someone can say is no. Case in point number two - my chair. Did the Saver's guys have to give it to me? No. Actually, were they even supposed to give it to me? No. But did I get injured or embarrassed or DIE from asking for it? No. If I never asked, I would have never gotten it for free.

Ask and ye shall receive. Heck, it's in the Bible (I think) so you KNOW it's a good tip.

1 comment:

Kristi said...

This is the best form of recycling.
They look great, I need to start looking a little closer on neighborhood dump days.