Reusing with online classifieds 101

We often hear the term reduce, reuse and recycle, but I feel like reuse gets lost in the shuffle sometimes. Finding ways to reuse stuff is a great way to help out the earth – and it’s also very friendly on the wallet.

We are big “reusers” in my family. I am always looking for creative ways to make leftovers more appealing to our toddler, and we’ve repurposed many objects as toys recently.

But you don’t need a toddler’s creativity to find ways to reuse items you no longer want. You just need craigslist, freecycle or your local paper’s classifieds.

All of these services are easy to use, and the first two are free. If your area isn’t big enough to have a thriving online classifieds option, newspaper classifieds also offer many great options in the form of garage sales, etc.

We downsized with our last move and had lots of furniture and stuff that we didn’t have room for. I’m not one for wasting anything, so we put LOTS of items up on craigslist. And found takers for everything from a couch and piano bench to a bedspread and throw rug. These all went to people who wanted them and we knew they would get used, and not take up space in a landfill.

Using these services does take more work than throwing them out, but it’s well worth the effort.

For craigslist, go to the website and select the area where you live. Once there, you can click on post to put up your unwanted items, and follow the prompts to post your ad. Or you can click on any of the links to see what other people have for sale or are giving away.

Most of the ads on craigslist are sent through an anonymous email, so you shouldn’t get any spam for posting on the site.

As for freecycle, you also search for your area. I had to apply to be a member for the freecycle in our area. But I don’t think that’s the case for every area. Once you’re in, you also just have to follow the prompts for posting.

As with all free services offered to the public, there are people who will abuse the system, so be careful.

If you get a query from someone who wants you to mail your product, make sure you get payment for shipping FIRST.

If you’re worried about people coming to your house, set up a time during the day and meet at a public place.

If you are selling items, insist on cash or a cashier’s check.

And be prepared for people to not show up. As a frequent poster, I can tell you that this is a whole lot more common than I would like. But I realize this is a free service, and it’s helped us clear out a lot of clutter (as well as add a whole lot of new-to-us clutter.)

Do you have any tips for using online classifieds?


2 comments on “Reusing with online classifieds 101

  1. Melanie
    January 5, 2009

    Hi Meredith! Thanks for the great post. There are definitely a lot of resources out there for recycling your unwanted items. And I have to agree, so many times people don’t show up! But many times, luckily, they do and the item gets a great new home.

    I run a website similar to craigslist/ebay called, where we actually pay users simply for listing their ads…we don’t pay a fortune, but every little bit helps! Especially if you have a lot of stuff to list.

    We also offer video classifieds and video auctions, which can really show the details for the item you’re selling or giving away. Especially helpful to prove an item works, which you can’t do with just text or even a photo. (Think cars, blenders, vacuum cleaners, etc).

    We’d love to hear what you folks out there think of! So stop by and take a look around, then shoot us an email at with any thoughts or suggestions.


  2. Jon
    February 27, 2009

    We are launching a site that is dedicated to re using items. You can browse or post items that you want to give away or trade. No Items For Sale Please.

    Give it a try.

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This entry was posted on January 4, 2009 by in Green and tagged , , , .

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