Neither had I.
Until we went to one.
We’ve now been to two of these, the most recent one took place at our local church here in Cromford.
We turned up, deposited a number of items we were ‘giving’ on one of the tables then proceeded, with the kids to look through all of the other items laid out on various tables which were free for us to take.
You heard me – free for us to take – anything we wanted and as much as we wanted.
At first this felt a little weird.
What, I can just take what I want?
Think about it – this is stuff whoever brought is happy to get rid of so yes, take what you want…
One man’s junk…
We found lots of useful items – a really nice old pepper mill, lots of clothes for my 9-year old son, some books, some fluffy toys for my daughter and a few bits and pieces. Somebody took a really impressive looking tent in a rather new box which looked to have all the necessary bits and pieces with it. A kind lady tried to get me to take a really nice Judo Gi (suit) which would cost a lot of money in the shops. As I’m not really sure to use it (I have been thinking about doing some kind of martial arts again with my wife & son but probably won’t) I told her I’d rather leave it so if someone else more likely to use it wanted it, then they could have it.
After about 30 minutes of looking around and taking various items, we had a cup of tea (juice for the kids) and a small cake each whilst the other people in the room continued to mill around the tables and others arrived with more donated items. After our tea we had a further look around, took a few more items then went to the park for a picnic.
The give and take day was lots of fun. Great for the kids – when else can you say to kids (within reason) – ‘take anything you like’? Everything was free apart from the tea and cakes (and they didn’t cost much) and a lot of things people bring to these kind of events are in surprisingly good condition. People also seem to really take care to present items well, find necessary instructions, adaptors, packaging…
It may seem strange the idea of turning up somewhere and just taking everything you want for absolutely free – but that’s exactly the idea. These are things that people no longer want or need. You don’t even have to give items to be able to take them – it’s just a very simple and effective facility to allow people to give items they no longer need and take items they do. Obviously we would encourage you to have a good look around your house before you go to such an event and think of what you’d be happy to give.
We find that when you are looking for what you might give, you want it to be something nice that people will enjoy and you have a good feeling about giving decent quality stuff. Giving in this way may also help you de-clutter and realise some of the things you don’t actually need which you may not have thought of before. It works very well indeed and you’d be surprised at what you might find at one of these events.
It’s the second time we have been to such an event, the previous one was a much bigger give and take day in London – and was a little more chaotic too with a few people jostling for position to get things and people being assigned time slots both for giving and for entering into the taking foray. These events are often arranged by freecycle (as the London one was) otherwise check your local papers and adverts in local shops.
In terms of money saving ideas, this one can’t be beaten because it’s absolutely free! … but much more than that besides, good for the community, good for the environment.
Tip: If you’re going to one of these events, remember to take a bag.