Freecycling is a daringly simple idea. Need something you don't have? Don't head to the store. Head to your freecycle community. Someone will be looking to get rid of it. You can furnish most of your house in this way, plus get kitchen items, clothes, packing boxes, and all manner of other things. When you move, you can give away most of what you got, plus whatever else you don’t need.
All of this is made possible by the internet: The Freecycle Network was born in 2003, the brainchild of Deron Beal and RISE, a Tucson, Ariz.-based organization committed to creating jobs through recycling. Seeing perfectly usable items coming through to be recycled, Beal invited a few dozen friends to join an email list through which they could share things instead of recycling them.
The idea mushroomed. In 2004, the Freecycle Network became official, and by 2009, according to freecycle.org, it had exploded into 4,740 groups in more than 85 countries with almost 7 million members. The system is run by volunteer moderators the world over – and by the millions of environmentally conscious people worldwide with stuff to give away. To find a group near you, go to freecycle.org and enter your location. The rules are simple. It's got to be free, legal, and appropriate for all ages.