What to do with all that stuff -OR- Where to get the stuff you want

In May of 2007, my husband and I travelled the trail of tears (at least for me) from the city to the suburbs.  While we prepared to leave the beloved West Loop, we had a lot of stuff to get rid of!

Most of it was appropriate to give away to second-hand stores.  There were other things that I chose to give away on The Freecycle Network.  These are regional listservs (there’s one in Chicago, another in Oak Park, etc.) where people post items that they either want to give away or are hoping someone can give to them.  This is a fabulous way to get for free a variety of home goods, electronics, clothes, books, etc.

Some of the things I have given away are picture frames, vases, a portable cd player, and holiday decorations.  I’ve been the grateful recipient of a bedsheet for my puppy to travel in the car, my favorite book Great Gatsby, and some beginner piano sheet music.  What a fantastic, green way to get what you need without having to pay for it, avoiding landfills, and preventing the use of new materials.

Another great resource for givers and takers is Craigslist.  This is a national website that offers a wide variety of services (my husband and I rented our condo and our upstairs apartment with Craigslist).  One section of the website is items that are for sale, free giveaways, and wanted posts.  Craigslist is another way to get new and used materials that people want to get rid of, all the while avoiding landfills and preventing the use of new materials.

For larger ticket home items, such as cabinets, appliances, and plumbing fixtures, I highly recommend Habitat for Humanity’s ReStores.  If you live close to our store, the closest ReStore is in Elgin.  A far trip, but possibly worth your while if you’re doing a home project on a tight budget.  This is a great store to shop at, because people donate their home goods (new and used), and then the proceeds of the sales of the goods benefit Habitat for Humanity.

If you’re looking to get rid of your goods, the folks at ReStore will actually come pick them up for you for free!  They make it as easy as possible to avoid throwing things away, and you can feel good knowing that another family will be able to use what you’ve donated.

Know of other resources to give away or get good stuff?  Post your thoughts on our comments section.

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