Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Give it away now

While you’re spring cleaning, why not give some things away? Here are some local ventures where you can donate, sell, or otherwise get rid of your stuff. Your trash could be somebody else’s treasure…

Craigslist is a worldwide network that includes local branches on every continent except South America and Antarctica, as of this writing. Give away stuff on their “free” page, or sell by category. Or buy stuff/find a job/meet your match. You can do all kinds of things on Craigslist!

Freecycle is a non-profit network of people who are giving (and getting) free stuff in their own towns and thus keeping good stuff out of landfills. Moderators are volunteers. Posted items must be free, legal, and owned by you (i.e. no freecycling your neighbor’s annoying Chihuahua) (…speaking of re-locating pets, the rules vary on this, so check the site FAQ before posting).

The Baltimore Free Store’s mission is “to promote recycling and reuse to help alleviate the traumas of poverty, and to involve communities in working together to meet their needs.” A good idea for a good cause.

Say you have piles of books to give away. A great way to share your books with others is the Paperback Swap. You pay to mail books to other club members, and they return the favor when you request a book through the system. It’s currently free to join.

Want to give your books away locally? The Book Thing is a noble endeavor started by Russell Wattenberg in 1999 to give free books to people who need or want them. Last time I visited The Book Thing, it was somebody’s basement filled to the gills with shelves and piles of books: old, new, what have you. I was forbidden to leave without at least ten books! It was great.

And finally, if you’d prefer to give your non-book stuff to a worthy cause without leaving the house, here are some charities that will pick up donations from porch or curbside:

Purple Heart : enter your zip code to see if they serve your area.

Note: Recent studies have shown that spending money on others makes us happier than spending money on ourselves. Giving things for the good of others may prove to be just as rewarding!

P.S. Also check out www.swapthing.com for trading stuff!

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