Running last week I passed a house that had a chair, picture frame and kid's tricycle place on the curb with a sign that said "free to anyone." I thought it was strange that anyone these days would have to resort to this method to get rid of good items that they no longer needed. Was donating to Goodwill or the Salvation Army too inconvenient? Don't they people get monthly calls from Purple Heart and the other organizations with regular pickups of anything you want to donate? I thought it might be a good time with Fall cleaning here to once again remind everyone of the best way to easily get rid of items that you no longer need. Columbia Freecycle is now into its seventh year and has recycled hundreds of thousands of household items among residents of Howard County. The nice thing about recycling is that people who want your items come to your house to get them. And you put one less thing in our landfill. Trust me there is someone out there who would want that broken item you have or that odd item with which you longer know need. On the other end of recycling it is amazing what you can get from people who are willing to part with items taking up space in their homes. As an example I furnished a newborn bedroom for a relative with items from Freecycle. And these weren't heavily used items but almost new furniture, clothing and baby items.
So often we hear how we are a "throw away society." When was the last time you have shoes or a cell phone repaired rather than throwing them away? There used to be these types of business in our town. I remember the shoe repair store in the Oakland Mills Village Center.Recently I heard about a "pop-up store" in New York that would repair almost anything for a modest price. The picture above is of that store. The people who started this store were surprised how easily it was to repair many of the items that people brought in. It seems that easy repairs to cell phones were very popular. They are looking at establishing a network of these types of stores in other locations. They rely on a network of people with a variety of skills in repairing the items brought in. Most of the profits of the store are plowed back into the store to be able to expand. Seems to me like a great start up business for our community. Maybe in conjunction with a local non-profit as a new revenue source. There must be some commercial space for donation or partnering with a local merchant who has some space and wants to drive some new traffic into their store.
You can find instructional videos on how to fix almost anything on You Tube
From HoCo Library:
"Meet the Author: Vaddey Ratner
" A survivor of the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia, Vaddey Ratner wrote The New York Times bestseller In the Shadow of the Banyan. A descendant of King Sisowath, Ratner and her mother escaped Cambodia in 1979, although many family members perished. Based on that childhood experience, her debut novel explores the unbreakable bonds of family and the power of stories to transcend loss and suffering. Selected as a finalist for both the 2013 PEN/Hemingway Award and the 2013 Indies Choice Book of the Year, In the Shadow of the Banyan was a New York Times Book Review Editor's Choice and appears on multiple lists of the best books of 2012, including The Christian Science Monitor and Kirkus Reviews."
Thanks for writing this post, Duane. I'm a fan of, user of and promoter of Freecycle ... and occasional critic of it as well. https://hometowncolumbia.wordpress.com/?s=freecycle&submit=Search
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