I'm curious about freecycle...

Copperlilac(19)February 28, 2005

Anyone a member of freecycle? I'm curious about it. Looking for opinions on it...good? bad? otherwise?

Thanks for your input! :)

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I'm a member of freecycle in Olympia, Washington. We have a lot of active members, and that can be a problem sometimes as I get so many emails throughout the day. It's easy to scan the titles and delete without reading if they don't sound like something I want.

I've posted wants and responded to wants. For example, one of my elderly clients needed a toilet seat in good condition. I advertized for it and got one for her within a couple of days (never installed or used but dusty from long-time garage storage.) Also children's books (for another client). Someone was giving away a microwave oven the same day my client blew the main power on hers.

A young couple asked for plants to furnish their garden on a budget, so I called them and said "come on over". We packed their small car with divisions and seedlings from my overgrown garden and they left, feeling slightly overwhelmed.

I think freecycle is a great concept and so far, I haven't had a single problem with it.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2005 at 12:37AM
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I use Freecycle in Daytona Beach, Fl. Small , new group of 820 members so far. I have the settings so that I don't get the messages every day. Much easier for me to go to the site and look when I want rather than be bombarded with e-mails.
When we returned to live on the family farm, I vowed that I would get rid of a large trailer on the property that had been sitting unused for 30 years. Others had tried and discovered that no one would take it for recycling or trash and no one else wanted it for anything. I advertised on Freecycle and got 20 responses. The trailer went to a financially challenged young family with three little kids who really needed the trailer. He is an electrician and carpenter and plans to renovate the trailer.
I found the whole experience really great. Met some very nice people and had lots of replies- all except one drunk- who were polite . I would not hesitate to post or reply on this site.
Each Freecycle is run independently so the tone varies according to the moderator. Be sure to reply asap if you see something you want. Stuff goes really, really fast.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2005 at 7:29AM
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Thanks! I did sign up. The group that I joined seems pretty good. Not too many members only about 500.

Thanks for your input. :)

    Bookmark   March 1, 2005 at 9:49AM
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faltered(Hamburg NY Z5/6)

I joined our local group in WNY about a year ago. We got so many emails that I now just go to the board to check messages. Unfortunately, most people do the first-come-first-serve method. Which leaves a lot of people out in left field. I swear, some people sit on freecycle all day waiting for new posts to snag up the free stuff. In the year I've been a member, I haven't been able to get anything from anyone yet. Never in time.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2005 at 10:13AM
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I posted some Brazilian rock roses the other day & got 9 replies.

I gave my phone number to each person, & met each one someplace: McDonald's, etc.

I had to dig out the plants my own self, but I'd have had to do that anyway!

I think it's a great way to make all our lives just a little nicer, as well as a great way to use resources more effectively.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2005 at 3:19PM
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lovetogarden(z4 NY)

How do you find out information about this program? I live in Upstate New York.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2005 at 3:44PM
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I've gotten some great stuff from Freecycle and "freed" myself from a lot of clutter.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2005 at 4:58PM
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Just google "freecycle" and you should find it with no prob. :)

    Bookmark   March 1, 2005 at 6:50PM
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I had a good experience with giving away stuff; was happy it went to a good home.

But frankly, after just a few weeks, I was astonished at some of the "wants" people were posting. Wouldn't we all like a car? unused appliances? fencing for a full sized city lot?

I don't think I'd approach it as the best way to "get" stuff. But it is a good way to get rid of stuff. And you can manage the settings so you get every e-mail, a daily digest, or simply check the site when you want to.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2005 at 9:24PM
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Evidently other people have had the thought that some of the "wants" are a little brassy & have griped about it.
One of the moderators on DFW freecycle posted a message that the goal was recycling by freecycling, & that members were encouraged not to make judgments as to what was a reasonable "want", since we have no way of knowing what someone may be ready to toss.

There was a funny "want", obviously tongue-in-cheek, posted the other day, something to the effect of:

"Wanted: Louis XIV dining suite in excellent condition, for our home in a real nice area. Just bought house, seeking antiques to fill it. Will give your old furniture a good home & cherish it lovingly."

    Bookmark   March 2, 2005 at 8:15PM
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The link below is to the Freecycle Organization home page. You can find your local group through them. The local groups are run by volunteer moderators. As mentioned above, the tone varies as per moderator.
Like some of the other posters above, I've de-cluttered quite a bit of stuff. It's a useful service because over here you can't throw the bigger items away without a lot of extra cost in either money or time.

Here is a link that might be useful: Freecycle Main page

    Bookmark   March 2, 2005 at 10:45PM
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I've given and recieved quite successfully! As far as the wants, on the Raleigh board, the mods only allow one wanted per person per week. If they continually abuse this, they are banned. Some are extreme, sure, who wouldn't want a new tv, dvd, car, etc. But most of the members just delete that sort of thing. We also have a discussion group, that allows comments and rants to everything pertaining to freecycle. I have met some great people, and cleared out lots of unwanted clutter using this resource. Good luck freecycling!
Angie in NC

    Bookmark   March 3, 2005 at 10:03AM
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Berea(z7 Nwest SC)

My experience was a little different from the ones above. I did get one item, which was nice... and gave away one, which was okay. But with some other things I tried to give away, although several people wanted them, the person I ended up offering them to never came to claim them. This happened enough that I got irritated with the whole thing and quit.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2005 at 9:54PM
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garden_fever_girl(5 CO)

My husband I got two truckloads of good dirt, a kitten, some free bushes, and found a good home for his doggy through freecycle. I use it and love it. You do have to respond quickly and be sure to take some sane security measures- make sure someone else is home if strangers are coming to get something-- or take someone with you to meet others, or arrange to meet someplace else. As with all things on the internet, remember not to put yourself at risk and trust your instincts.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2005 at 6:01PM
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Two days ago I replied to a Freecycle offer : giving away a cast iron rocker. I e-mailed to put my name on the list of those who wanted it , thinking that I would be way down the list . The lady e-mailed me back that I was the first to respond. What a surprise!!
Turns out I could not get over there - 35 miles away - and I e-mailed her to offer it to the next person on the list. She wrote back saying it all worked out for the best since the next person had lost everything to the hurricanes and was trying to rebuild her patio collection.
I think this is what Freecycle is all about.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2005 at 11:12AM
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grrltrouble(z6 SE Mich)

I really love the idea of freecycle. It's just the reality that gets me down. When some people hear the word "free" it seems as if all their reason and manners leave instantly. They don't care what it is or what they'll do with it, but gosh darn it, it's free and I'm gonna grab as much as I can. Unfortunately, when people use the first come first served method of choosing who gets something, it makes me feel like only the vultures get rewarded and the people who may truly be in need are left in the dust (as they are most likely at work or taking care of their family or whatever and aren't able to sit at the computer all day).
However, that is just my opinion, and I'm sure there are many wonderful people in the groups who truly make good use of the service.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2005 at 2:53PM
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michiganmom(z5 S MI)

I love Freecycle. I have given away so much stuff that might have ended up in the landfills and I've gotten some stuff.. like fuel oil and garden supplies. I also got a set of dishes. My kids are so hard on dishes *lol*.

It's so nice to share. It's tax free and you meet some very very nice people.


Leslie, MI

    Bookmark   March 6, 2005 at 3:47PM
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drasaid(zone 8)

people go to great lengths to give the things away to someone who wants them!
I've also been amused by the Go Pick It Up notices. 'Nice Chair on the Curb on Maple Street-hurry, it's raining tonight' kind of thing. I email one person who needed four chairs about some put out in my neighborhood and they were GONE. I don't know if she got them or not, but it's better than them getting ruined in the rain and then not picked up because they are not in a bag or bin.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2005 at 8:11PM
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My mother in law lived in a town in NH where they had a municipal program similar in spirit to freecycle: at the local landfill they had a room attached to the office where people could put used but still useful items that they were just going to toss anyway. Anyone could browse through the stuff and help themselves if they wanted something. She got a bunch of canning jars in good shape, and other stuff. Imagine if every landfill in the country had a program like this?! Doesn't cost anything to administer, and reduces the wastestream a bit. No phone calls or potentially creepy strangers. I'd love it if our county had something like it.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2005 at 6:54PM
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rembetika(austin, TX)

it's a fantasitc idea.. but not always easy to make it work right. i've given away a bunch of stuff & everyone who said they were coming did, and they picked their things up, and that was cool.
however every single time i contacted someone about something they had, no matter how fast i was, it was ALWAYS too late. i got tired of getting my hopes up. supposedly there are people who don't work and sit around all day (or, surf at work?) and jump on all the free offers. and, i hear some people re-sell stuff (but hey, whatever).

one thing that really bugs me about FC is that some people seem to FORGET that they are USING GAS and polluting the atmosphere every time they drive somewhere.. it seems stupid to me to drive 30 or more miles to the other side of town to pick up a half-used bottle of perfume, or a couple of cardboard boxes. sometimes people just don't think!! they don't measure the "good" they are doing with the "bad" of increasing traffic and using resources. sooo... i think it's good to really consider whether you REALLY need something and if it's worth all that driving.
that being said, a lot of people DO get a lot of great stuff and save trips to the store (and money), & keep things out of the trash/landfill.

as for our local FC yahoo group,, they came with so many rules and regulations, it seemed we were always getting endless e-mails reminding us of the same things over and over (even if you don't do anything wrong).. which gets irritating and starts to look an awful lot like spam. but, unfortunately, people DO forget the rules and do dumb stuff. *sigh*. anyway, i dropped out, b/c it was turning into a waste of time and i got tired of all the "reminders" and being chastised by the moderators. it was really starting to be more trouble than it was worth.

hopefully you'll have better luck with your local group!

    Bookmark   March 16, 2005 at 9:57PM
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gardenpaws_VA(z7 NoVA)

Rembetika, your group may need to split. I agree completely about the gas and pollution, and so does our local freecycle "management". I started out with a group in Arlington VA (which was really too far for me - about 16 miles away), moved to Dulles when it got going, and now Dulles has split into about 8 groups that are very local. Our mods emphasize that we are supposed to be swapping with our LOCAL community, and they also keep a close eye on excess "want" posts. Takers who repeatedly don't pick up, or other rude people, get reported to the mods, and sometimes invited to leave. (We have monthly reminders, too, but I just delete them unless there's a mention of a change in policy - my garden groups on Yahoo do reminders also, so it's no big deal to me.)
I'm quite happy with my freecycle experience - some things have gone before I could reply, but many people say "how would you use it?" and apparently I've given a good answer to that enough times. I've given away large amounts of groundcover to new homeowners, as well as numerous non-plant items, and gotten plant pots, a lawn mower (people-powered), old LPs, and lots of items to help refurbish a family cottage so we can rent it to cover taxes.
Mommymamma1, Maine does the same thing you're talking about, at least in the small towns - wish we had that down here, but it's probably unlikely in major metropolitan areas.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2005 at 12:05AM
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cherylnsw(NSW Aust)

I joined freecycle over here in Australia, there are a few groups around the Sydney area so I keep a eye on them all, though they aren't very busy at the moment. In my first week of joining I got enough laminate floorboards (still in packages) to replace the stained carpet in my hall. I also gave away an almost new feather and down quilt.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2005 at 1:34AM
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I'm on Austin FC too and you're absolutely right. The moderators are getting modestly better, I guess, but they still really hammer the rules. Which is okay in a way, b/c I showed my DFIL in another town how to use FC and when we looked at the one for his area it was ALL WANTEDs. At least that doesn't happen as much in Austin.

I absolutely agree with you that there must be people just sitting on the computer ALL DAY taking things for no apparent reason. I've responded to stuff (by luck) 30 minutes after the post and been TOO LATE. I have also started to respond to things and stopped myself, saying, "I'm not going all the way to Pflugerville for that." BTW, why isn't the group split? That IS a great idea, Gardenpaws.

All that said, I still like FC. I am going to go get some free jasmine when I get off of work today. I wasn't the first responder, but this lady has some left and she wants it gone to put in something new. (This is the first time I've gotten something from responding to an offer!) Also, I DID post a wanted yesterday and got a response in 2 hours. I'm getting 35 free cement blocks to make border/planters!

    Bookmark   March 28, 2005 at 3:44AM
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sydseeds(5A /ON)

At the end of my winter sowing adventures, I freecycled all my left over seeds - I just gave away so many packets of left over seeds to 40+ gardeners out there - mostly common stuff that no one at GW was interested in from my seed list here, or things I wouldn't grow that were part of seed exchanges so glad to see my seeds go to new gardeners interested in growing the seeds. (I also like the no hassle of waiting for sase to come, etc. - the requestors came and picked up their seed stash directly from my outdoor mailbox - I didn't need to be home and no one took advantage by taking someone elses envelope of seeds.) I'll do it again next year once all my GW swaps and winter sowing adventures are completed.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2005 at 9:12PM
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Our local freecycle group has a weekly get together so that we can swap our things back and forth safely, and without using a ton of gasoline driving all over. We have a set time and location (stays the same) every week and most of us use that as a pick-up / drop off location unless an item is large. Some of us have also gotten into the habit of just loading a box or bag with what is clutter to us and hauling it with -- even if we haven't had time to list it. Most items go to a new home as soon as we open the box, ROFL.

I usually end up bringing home something each week -- maybe a few items, even -- and getting a rubbermaid tub full of stuff out of my life (though the rubbermaid comes home to refill!) You might suggest meeting places for your groups. Saves on gas & the public location / group meet makes it safer if you get some nutjobs in your group.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2005 at 1:41AM
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chuckr30(z5, GR-MI)

Freecycle is great, but it's hard to be the first one to get something. Popular things go fast, especially if they are working electronic items.

The one bad thing is when you give stuff away, there are often people who respond purely out of the "wow, it's free" mind set. You get a lot of no shows. It took 3 weeks and I got 5 no shows in a row on one item, until finally person #6 showed up and took the darn thing.

It's common to leave stuff outside and tell the picker upper where it is so they can get it any time of day.

Things I've gotten from freecycle: daylilies, trumpet vine, empty boxes for moving, wood for building shelves in the garage.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2005 at 12:53PM
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thorspippi(z9/s14 CA Sacramento)

On Monday, I was gifted with a fabulous patio set. In great condition, except some of the seats--easily repaired.

I'm just astounded. I can't believe I finally have patio furniture!

    Bookmark   April 14, 2005 at 3:30PM
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cherrisa(z6 MID TN)

I posted twice to get rid of my ferret cage. Went down the list twice emailing if the person before didn't respond and still never got a response from the people that emailed me. Twice now. If you are going to respond that you want something.. Goodness at least come get it or email me back.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2005 at 4:02PM
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pastvast(z5 NW Ohio)

I've had both really good experiences and so-so experiences giving stuff away. I concur that there are lots of folks who don't actually read the full listing and just see offer: X

My biggest gripe involved a huge mirror that was 4'x7' that had been in the attic. I offered it up, gave dimensions said it was heavy and that at least 2 strong people would be needed to take it down from the attic. The guy showed up with his wife, looked at it and said, Wow, that's big (well... duh... I gave dimensions). Then proceding to say he'd have to come back with a friend to move it because it was so heavy (well... I did say so originally).

My really good story involves the rose bushes that I loved to hate. I offered them up saying the person would have to dig them themselves. A woman and her family drove almost an hour to get them, brought their own tools and storage, and was totally ecstatic to get them because she had always wanted a rose garden. I also offered up refreshments and zucchini to take home and I think both of us really had a great experience.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2005 at 9:36PM
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suzieh(z9 Altadena CA)

Hello All...new member here.

I belong to two freecycle groups in the Los Angeles area
and a discussion area lafreecyclecafe. It's been great because the moderators are really on top of things.

Got a much needed gas dryer. Just picking up my second load of used brick so I can set some garden pathways.

Anyone in CALIFORNIA or elsewhere if interested can join a yahoo group known as CASAPE (seed exchange but really gardening topics) and I also belong to the-worm-bin yahoo group. I learned about both through freecycle.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2005 at 3:24AM
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I see what you mean about the "wow, it's free" mind set. I have seen where someone posted a bunch of stuff that didn't even go together like size 4 womans shoes, 2 bags of cement, and 1 15" rim. and someones says, "I'll take all of them" I had a few no-shows which I emailed them and asked them if they were still interested, I never got a response. After posting a Want, The Mod emailed me to tell me it was appropriate to give first. I emailed her a told her she had the nerve since I posted 6 give items already. I quit that FC group that same day. I was just surfing around a few weeks ago and found another had opened up that was more localized. I decided to join that one. I will be putting some full cans of paint up and some other stuff that would take a while to get rid of if I put it out by the road. Since we live on a busy street if I put something out this morning it WILL be gone by 5PM. Most of the stuff I don't bother putting it on FC because I hate having to describe everything little thing wrong with it, and then having to wait around for someone to pick it up.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2005 at 7:08AM
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new2gardenfl(Z9 CentralFL)

The funniest post I have ever seen was when a woman wanted "one nightstand not a one night stand"

I've gotten some really good things on freecycle and given away quite a few as well.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2005 at 3:51PM
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lakedallasmary(8 - North Central TX)

I never give to the first person that responds. They are the gimme types. They either sell the stuff, or hord it all in their attic, that is if they bother to either to reply to your e-mail or come get it if they do.

I think some have auto reply to all freecycle e-mails and sort through the offers later. Lame I say. That tactic does not work with me. I take e-mails for about 1 week and then give to the person that either needs it most of I feel is most appreciative, or just made me laugh in their response. "I'll take that" does not meet any of those requirements.

I love it when folks say HI "my name" say what they want and a little about why they want it. And are polite enough to sign their name.

I just posted a freecycle list of things. Subject was somthing like "102 misc items". I got over 40 replies. That was a month ago and I am still trying to sort it all out. I reply to 1 or 2 at a time, to not get too confused and offer the same items to more than one person. All seem very greatful for what I give them, and stay to talk a little, which is great for me, since I can not go into public due to severve chemical sensitivities.

I usually drag them out to my garden for show and tell. I ask if they are interested in seeing my garden first though. The last lady that came, offered me tons of leaves from her propery when she heard I was allergic to the moldy hay I picked up from a farm. This lady is even going to chip up the leaves for me. I am so happy. I need the leaves since the ground under a few of my trees is bare either from the leaves blowing away, or me stealing them for mulch. She said she had like 2-3 feet of leaves under her masive trees. She is trilled to have found a home for them.

I also learned a lot of useful gardening tips from her. She said that she has no fire ants due to the fact sugar ants eat fire ants. She said you can't kill your sugar ants if you want he fire ants gone. Wow, what a tip! Fire ants like poor dry soil and the sugar ants like the nice loose stuff. She said if you do not have that kind of soil, to leave out flower pots of good loose soil for them to live in. Due to her good gardening and ant control techniques, she has converted her whole street to organic. Major feat, since my whole street uses toxic chemicals that they do not bother to sweep off the sidewalk. I have to walk in the street to avoid the junk.

She sets a good example, others are anxious to copy. I was so impressed. She offered to bring the leaves to me, since I can't drive due to car fumes, but I am eager to see her property and said my hubby will bring me over there.

I said, I wish I had something to give you then I said, oh I just gave you a lot of things, including a brand new printer. I guess when you give someone something you no longer want it really does not feel like you are doing much. I feel the leaves are worth more to me than the printer, and other things.

Free cycle is great despite the no shows, the rude e-mails from the demanding sort, the folks that want and never give, and the folks that make tons of appointments to pick up their things and still never come. I give um one chance now and move on, especially if the do not e-mail to say they were sorry they forgot. I have a list I keep with names and e-mails of

folks that came but took a long time to do so
folks with auto e-mail replies, I'll take that"
folks that do not bother to answer e-mails
folks that show up
folks that are very nice

So if I get more than 1 request for an item, I can look through my list and stick with those that come and are pleasant.

When I am more selective in who I offer stuff to, I have less problems with no shows.


    Bookmark   July 4, 2006 at 10:21PM
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I like freecycle. I don't have a car, so having people pick things up has been a handy way for me to get rid of things I don't need. I scored some Cozy Coats for my tomatoes next year.

I don't participate very often, though, for the reasons others have mentioned in this thread: annoying auto-reminders from Yahoo groups, "nervy" wants, pointless offers that are a waste of gas, and annoying snipers who need to get a life.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2006 at 9:21AM
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zozzl(z9 FL)

I've had people picking up free plants all morning and it has been very nice for me because I hate to throw out plants. I just put them by the driveway and when someone shows up I try to go out and give them info if they want it.


    Bookmark   July 8, 2006 at 12:13PM
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Love Freecycle :) Love it so much, I started a Freecycle group for the town I live in :) The very first week after I started it, a man had posted wanting a walker for an elderly neighbor. That same day, he'd posted a 'received' saying he'd gotten a walker for that same neighbor. Got to like it :)

The rocks I built this bed out of all came from Freecycle -- believe it or not, there are NO rocks in my area!

    Bookmark   July 15, 2006 at 8:32PM
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jentxk(8 TX)

I love Freecycle. Just discovered it last month. I offered a filing cabinet & a college student got it. I got bricks & birdhouses for my garden & a tarantula for my kindergarten class. I named him Mr. T.

To see Mr. T, scroll to the bottom of the Creepy Crawlie link.

Here is a link that might be useful: Mr. T the tarantula

    Bookmark   July 16, 2006 at 10:33PM
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