Big Question Marks

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A Little Freecycling Never Hurts

A very wise man once said to us: "If it's free, it's for me!" As long-term travellers who were constantly in flux of settling in and packing up, it's not a bad philosophy to live by-- and also not bad for two people returning to Toronto with minimal furnishings for their new and snazzy (and empty) apartment, either.

We moved into our new place near Trinity-Bellwoods Park in Toronto on Friday, taking as much of our old gear as we could find in our families' houses, as well as whatever discarded/left behind items we could scrounge from siblings, etc. After a weekend of crazy wedding fun (congrats, Paula and Sean!) we returned to our lovely apartment to begin the unpacking, the cleaning, and the organizing. And that's when we realized -- whoa-- that while we were well suited up with clothing, appliances, and kitchen supplies, we were almost completely furnitureless. And after checking out what was on offer in places like Sears, Ikea, and even Canadian Tire, we realized how much setting up a one-bedroom apartment might actually cost.

So we started searching a bit on Craigslist, a fantastic free classifieds website we're sure you all know about. It's the same site where we found our apartment; the same site where we've bought other people's old patio furniture, a couch, and random other things; it's also the same site on which we've subletted our apartments and sold our old stuff on as well. It's absolutely great, as was the Aussie/UK equivalent site Gumtree for us along the way. (Though these free classifieds sites aren't so great for the plight of the newspaper! But that's another story.)

But since we're all for recycling and don't really care all that much about having matching furniture, we found lots of goodies to be bought for great prices. And then we checked the "free" section on a whim (usually it's just "clean fill" and kittens on offer there) and found an ad titled "Free Furniture." Too good to be true?? Well, maybe. But definitely worth an email, we thought. Turned out the place with the free furniture was a short walk from our apartment-- and thanks to a lovely landlord, who was cleaning out the contents of one of his rental properties, we returned home with a great desk, bookshelf, table, and the perfect cupboard for the microwave. All for free. Hooray!

We're definitely not the only people into free stuff either. There's the Freecycle network, where people exchange used goods for free, keeping more useful items out of landfills. USA Today did a story on the culture of getting things for free; Freebie-Man (aka. Mike Essex) wrote a book on how to get anything for free after the success of his Blagman blog, in which companies would send him free items in return for him reviewing them online. Not to mention his book is downloadable for free as well! And we just stumbled upon, a handy website where you can learn about free stuff in the city, as well as post listings for free things to help out others. Not a bad idea at all! Now back to unpacking... and possibly a little more perusing too.
Bonus! We found this in our free desk's drawer today...

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