Most of my most useful reading comes when I am on an exercise machine. Why I find it so useful is that I read magazines I would not normally read: People, US, Esquire, Maxim, Smithsonian, US News and World Reports, Woman's Day, Redbook. Whatever is around, whatever looks decent, I pick up and read. I push myself out of my little safe box of Harpers, The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, and Oprah. New information, different viewpoints, viewpoints I can put back into the magazine rack after I am done, shaking my head. But I learned something about something (like, what mental illness Britney Spears likely has).
In one of those magazines, I found out about freecycle.org. There was an article about how people managed to furnish their apartments and homes with furniture and appliances and goods people gave away. Free couches and tables and chairs and toasters. Free utensils and vacuum cleaners.
All of this used and unneeded stuff went to someone who needed it and didn't care it was used. Nothing new had to be manufactured to set up these people in their homes. No one threw this stuff in a landfill.
So if you go to the freecycle.org site, you can find a chapter near you. I did, joining the Oakland freecycle yahoo group. Because I recently moved in with my boyfriend, we had many overlaps of things--coffee makers, cheese graters, nesting steel bowls, whisks. Over the past month, I have given away to complete strangers bar chairs, an ironing board, a mixer, a toaster, a coffee maker, and so much more. Into the world it goes. Someone who needs it has it. No one has been weird, no one has been thoughtless or scary. I am sure there is the potential for strangeness with strangers, but you can find that anywhere.
I suppose I could have sold all of the above on Craigslist or on ebay, but I don't want to get involved in all that. ten bucks here, five bucks there. 50 maybe, if I'm lucky. This really feels better, like I'm sending good vibes into the universe.
So if you--like me--have a garage full of stuff you keep thinking you will use but don't, check this out. It feels great.
Causes Jessica Inclán Supports
Women for Women International Goodwill Industries Lindsey Wildlife Museum Freecycle.org