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Don't Throw it Away, Give it Away  
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 What to Freecycle

Any good working item with a plug would be better off in use than in a landfill. From coffee grinders to refrigerators, there are times when people decide they simply have no more use for an item. Understandable, but dumping an item when there others struggling to afford that same item is fundamentally wrong. A computer is a sought after freecycle item. While you might have the need for the latest and greatest, a child will flourish fine with word processing and internet capability to do his or her homework.

Furniture is a popular freecycle item. As our life changes so does the need for beds, dressers or tables. But just as your need is waining, rest assure that someone out there is considering buying that same item. Child-size furniture is probably the most evident in this cycle. Adding to furnitures' freecycle popularity is the potential for a cheap makeover. A light sanding and a $5.00 coat of varnish or paint and the piece fits into your decor so well that it looks like you shopped for months to find it. But please, let your guests know that it's freecycled to help spread the word.

Structures such as homes, mobile homes, greenhouses or sheds are also good freecycle items. The amount of debris going into landfills from these items when discarded is great. Likewise, the difference a free living space or a greenhouse can make in someone's life is great. The logistics of freecycling a structure can be more time consuming but the end result is also more satisfying.

Children's play equipment such as swing sets and trampolines to baby rattles are also popular. The need for these items often change before the life of the product ends. But please check all aspects of safety on the product before allowing your child contact. Obviously the safety of a child is more important than decreasing landfill space so make sure the item is in good condition. Also check with the product manufacturer and government agencies such as the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to see if any problems have been discovered with the product.

Clothing is also a good freecycle product. Whether you've been fortunate enough drop a few pant sizes or your child has hit a growth spurt, often clothing can be put to good use even when you are done. A good tip for child-size clothing is pairing up with someone in your group who has a child at the right age and size to take advantage of your child's hand-me-downs. Take note of the rules in your group before posting anything about such an arrangement. The best bet might be asking someone who answers your offer of clothing if they would be interested.

Constant collectibles are items frequently used and discarded in a household that people have found another use for. For example, a gardener might use egg cartons to plant seedlings or egg shells as a soil supplement. If you are someone who has a constant collectible need be on the look out for a group member who also has one. This is another pair-up opportunity. Again, take note of your group's rules before posting anything. You could save up another group members constant collectible item then ask the member if they would be interested in saving up your constant collectible for a regular swap.

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