Mike Morone is trying to start a trend — the giving stuff away trend. He explains global Give Your Stuff Away Day on his website:
“Because of all the shopping we’ve done, many of us now own lots of great stuff we never use anymore. And for some reason, we don’t sell or give it away. Lots of valuable suff – just wasting away. Let’s take all this stuff and over one weekend, make it available to others for free.
“On May 14th, bring your unwanted stuff to your curb. Some guidelines – no trash, recyclables, illegal or dangerous items. No food, drugs, chemicals, or weapons. Just safe, valuable items we would like to donate. Then watch the fun – or better yet, take a walk and find some free stuff you can use.”
I’m going to add: PUT A SIGN ON THE STUFF telling people it’s Give Stuff Away day and that these items are free to take.
Feel uncomfortable just putting stuff out? Try posting it on Freecycle. We’ve freecycled a LOT of stuff. It doesn’t necessarily have to be nice. You never know what people are looking for, or why they are looking for it. We had a lazy boy chair that the cat had scratched up the back fabric. Someone took it to stage an empty house. Put the back against the wall and who knew it was damaged? We freecycled some pretty ugly old paneling to someone building a basement sound studio. He was happy – we were happy – nothing went to the dump.
You can also try posting in the free area of Craigslist.
On Sunday (Mother’s Day) I held an art and book giveaway at my house in honor of my mother. I asked everyone for a donation of their choice to my mother’s favorite charity, I Love A Parade: Art by our homeless neighbors. In addition to passing on a ton of books and other articles, we raised almost $700 in contributions, plus we had a great time with friends, family and neighbors.
Can’t resist telling three more stories of being on the receiving end! (1) Long ago, my kids and I were going through a very tough time and were low on food. I received some yummy-looking steaks from one source, and thought how much my daughter, who loved beef, would appreciate them — but I had no broiler pan. Was thinking about how I really wanted one to cook them as I would like . . . and the next day or so, passed by a pile of giveaways in front of someone’s house. I got out to go see what was there, and a man came from INSIDE THE HOUSE, carrying a broiler pan, and handed it to me with both hands, saying, “Here. The universe wants you to have this.” My jaw dropped all the way to the ground! (2) While living in Japan, I was really, really wishing for a comfortable armchair for my 70-year-old father to sit in when he and my mother were about to come visit for several weeks. Next day or so: there in the trash area, someone had set out a BEAUTIFUL BLUE VELVET ARMCHAIR, the likes of which I had never seen while in Japan, and which filled the bill perfectly for my father! He loved it! (3) About 10 years ago, a visitor was coming from out of state and was going to stay a few weeks also. He wished for rental housing instead of staying in a motel. Lo and behold, I found a great one for him that rented by the week at an affordable price — but it had no furniture whatsoever. I took it anyway, and thought about how to furnish it. OK, you should know by now what happened: a day or so later, I saw, set out by the curb, with “FREE” signs attached, a complete set-up for an empty house: bed, hide-a-bed couch, armchairs, kitchen table and chairs and even a couple of lamps! Unbelieveable! My guest was very comfortable during his stay in town, and when he left, the rental house owner asked if she could keep them there for other people to use, and I happily said yes! We agreed I would take only my favorite item, the couch. Left the rest, and no doubt, the giving kept going even beyond that exchange. So much fun!
Um, of course, I meant, “to people who were tickled to receive them.”
Example: some long, thick bars of steel, discarded from an aborted welding job. The recipient seemed to be perhaps a Vietnam vet; arrived with his handmade trailer to take the steel home in; said he was talented at crafting useful things and felt sure he could put them to good use. And I got them out of my backyard. Yay, everyone was happy as clams!
I have also had some heart-warming experiences giving away things to people who were tickled to give them. And I have had some STUPENDOUS experiences being on the receiving end, a number of times — simply amazing. One might feel cautious about inviting a stranger to one’s home . . . but intuition can tell you a lot when you get the expressions of interest from the right people. I do think “the universe” is pleased when these transactions of win-win giving away of stuff work out as well as they usually do.