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One Man's Trash Is Another Man's Treasure
October 20, 2011 4:57 PM   Subscribe

Treshr makes it easy to give things away, or, the other way around, find free stuff. Everyone has stuff they don’t need anymore. Maybe your child outgrew their old clothes, or you moved to a new place and have old furniture to get rid of. Whatever it is you’re looking for, someone somewhere is trying to throw it away. Treshr is basically a search engine for Freecycle, a nonprofit movement of people who are giving (and getting) stuff for free in their own towns. It's all about reuse and keeping good stuff out of landfills. [via]

You may not find any hits for items in rural WV, yet. This is a brand new startup so it hasn't yet expanded to small towns, but give it time.
posted by netbros (28 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite

 
Am I wrong, or is it showing "clusters" only in San Fran. and near New York and no place else in the country?
posted by HuronBob at 5:06 PM on October 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


If you zoom in, there's a sort of DC-to-Philly-to-NYC corridor.
posted by box at 5:12 PM on October 20, 2011


Dvowlr takes regular English words and turns them into trendy and incomprehensible Web 2.0 brand names
posted by scrowdid at 5:17 PM on October 20, 2011 [22 favorites]


speaking of freecycle. I was a member for a year or two, found that 90% of the stuff offered was pretty much useless to the normal person (do you really need 10 bags of used ketchup bottles?). When I posted stuff there either it was someone sucking up free stuff to resell (as oppose to filling a personal need), or I would get 10 people saying they wanted it who never showed up. In the long run, it was just easier to put it on the curb a few days before trash day!
posted by HuronBob at 5:21 PM on October 20, 2011 [4 favorites]


Hmm, so what advantage does this have over just posting something in the "free" section of craigslist?
posted by jcreigh at 5:26 PM on October 20, 2011


Seems like a cool idea- I have boxes of old computer parts to get rid of, as well as lots of other stuff in my basement that isn't work dong a yard sale for. However it doesn't seem to have hit critical mass yet. There isn't a single post I can see in Canada.
posted by Canageek at 5:27 PM on October 20, 2011


If it were possible to crawl other sites in addition to freecycle--perhaps craigslist and local sites--then it might be useful. Thing with freecycle in particular, not to mention cl, is that the good stuff is gone like THAT, instantly. Threshr would have to crawl those sites VERY often in order to be of use.
posted by skbw at 5:36 PM on October 20, 2011


When I posted stuff there either it was someone sucking up free stuff to resell (as oppose to filling a personal need)...

Why does it matter to you how they are going to use it? Requests that turn out to be resellers I can understand. But when I'm getting rid of stuff, I don't care where it goes, as long as it isn't in my house.

Thing with freecycle in particular, not to mention cl, is that the good stuff is gone like THAT, instantly.

Yeah, no way will there ever be anything good here. If someone offers something remotely good on Freecycle you have to respond literally within minutes.

That said, you can request some pretty great stuff and get it. But, you know, there's lots of people that want food dehydrators or whatever, more than the number of people willing to give them away.

...what advantage does this have over just posting something in the "free" section of craigslist?

Lack of creeps on the internet showing up at your house whenever they want? Freecycle is big enough that there will almost always be someone willing to take whatever you want to get rid of, but not so big that it's impossible to police.
posted by DU at 6:01 PM on October 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


What I'd really like to see is more physical thrift stores popping up where you can donate/buy this stuff. I don't get why these died out. Everyone wants shiny stuff, I guess.
posted by DU at 6:02 PM on October 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Lack of creeps on the internet showing up at your house whenever they want?

Are you saying the Freecycle in your area is generally more personable and tiny? Because, well, my freecycle is full of.... ah.... yeah, those types. At least according to the offers I've made... Just an odd distinction.
posted by cavalier at 6:05 PM on October 20, 2011


do you really need 10 bags of used ketchup bottles?

sold, when can I pick them up?
posted by mannequito at 6:12 PM on October 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


We have found that on Craigslist it works best to ask a few bucks whether you need or want the cash or not because when you're giving it away for free people often don't show up. Since there's no money involved people will sign up for anything then realize they don't have time or just change their minds. If you ask for money they think about it first. This is kind of a structural problem for Freecycle. We've done a few nice transactions through them but the no-show problem is a real nuisance.
posted by localroger at 6:13 PM on October 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


We gave away two big things on Craigslist before we moved, and it worked out OK, strangely enough. We gave away our old, stained, cheapo IKEA futon couch to 3 college guys who were, like, so psyched bro! And we gave away our cat tree to 2 girls who were thrilled at the sight of it. That may have been all our Craigslist luck for life, we may have to avoid it from now on.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:37 PM on October 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm a big fan of Freecycle and have now used it in 3 cities. I find that people are pretty reliable, but it's worth it to develop a certain set of Freecycle skills: first, how to describe your item honestly and clearly to weed out people who only think they're interested; second, how to demand a pickup time commitment in the first email; third, how to only share your address after you have gotten a firm commitment; fourth, how to put your stuff outside your house and set a time but not have to meet the people unless the object is huge, and five, how to move on down the list if the first person flakes. I've had a few no-shows, but everything was eventually taken, and I've met some nice people who value the same things I do about not throwing shit away.

If people pester me with emails about size or color or if it's the type they want, I move on. They're clearly not desperate enough. It's nice you can kind of choose your recipient.

Also, when I've had a need and posted a WANTED it's been amazing. My keyboard died one day and I requested another (on my partner's laptop) and I had an even nicer one by dinnertime. We needed kitchen island when we moved in here and got one within weeks. Last summer we couldn't get the house cool enough and I requested a box fan - had it within hours.

It used to be I could put stuff on the curb and it would be gone within an hour. That was when I lived in Maine. Now we live (at least for the moment) in an affluent 'burb on the North Shore of MA, and people turn their nose up at curbside finds. At least Freecycle lets your object find someone who really wants it. WE're in the midst of moving and I've successfully given away some weird stuff, like 4 1980s stereo receivers, when I'm sure that they'd have otherwise gotten rained on and rusted until a neighbor bitched at us to take them to the dump.

All that said, it's probably pretty localized as to whether it's a good list or not.
posted by Miko at 7:05 PM on October 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


weird stuff, like 4 1980s stereo receivers

Sold! When can I pick them up?
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 7:21 PM on October 20, 2011


Freecycle makes me wonder if I'm a hoarder enabler though. Some of that stuff will just end up rusting in someone else's house.

What I really need is a matter converter.
posted by emjaybee at 7:26 PM on October 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


weird stuff, like 4 1980s stereo receivers

Sold! When can I pick them up?
posted by Multicellular Exothermic




Dammit! I wanted those, it seems I'm always five minutes too late.
posted by 445supermag at 7:27 PM on October 20, 2011 [4 favorites]


I compost all of my used electronics and non-recyclable durable goods.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 7:51 PM on October 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Canageek, it's Fullcircle (http://fullcircles.org/directory.htm maybe?) in Canada - something about the Freecycle movement rubbed them the wrong way and they split off and renamed themselves. I don't know much more because the movement seems kind of redundant with Kijiji around.
posted by Yowser at 7:58 PM on October 20, 2011


Such a great idea, Freecycling. But such horrible experiences I've had. I won't use it anymore.

Thing with freecycle in particular, not to mention cl, is that the good stuff is gone like THAT, instantly.

Yep, which really grates, given that all users who wish to give things away are advised in their introduction email to WAIT a day or so and then respond at random
to the most worthy candidates.

Freecycle is big enough that there will almost always be someone willing to take whatever you want to get rid of

I've been amazed to find that some of the really useful stuff in good shape I've posted got no (sincere) responses. For example, I offered brand-new-in-the-box Honda wiper blades (they cost like $16-17 new) twice and never got a single response.

Then there was the woman to whose house I drove like half an hour to look through her many bags of clothing. I was in the midst of going through one bag to see what fit me and what I liked, when another woman showed up. I assumed she would look through bags too, but while I was bent over pawing through my bag, she apparently simply walked away with ALL of the rest of the bags, without looking at them and the woman who had posted the clothing let her do so. Unbelievable.

When I've requested things I've never gotten a single response. And this is after establishing a recent reputation as someone who placed many items up for offer.

And ditto on not wanting to be a hoarding enabler. When I was moving and giving a lot of stuff away, I kept getting cut and paste responses to EVERY item I posted from a handful of people. I seriously think they must not have done anything but respond to Freecycle offers right away.

I'd like to see a real community, where members were penalized if they no-showed or misrepresented items, and rewarded for good transactions. As it is, there is no consequence for shitty behavior, and it makes Freecycling not worth it to use.
posted by parrot_person at 10:55 PM on October 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


I replied this morning to a cl ad giving away a ticket to tonight's hockey game. I took the time to write out a solid email about how I am a huge fan but can't afford tickets at those prices ... anyway 2hrs before game time the woman wrote me back, saying out of 200+ emails mine was the only one longer than a sentence or two, and gave it to me.
posted by mannequito at 10:58 PM on October 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


Freecycle varies from place to place, for example, my local one bans pleading and says nothing about 'deserving' recipients. It hews pretty close to just keeping stuff out of landfill.
I don't think the idea of formalising penalties or rewards is very sensible either. Just state in the offer post preference given to on time collectors and if they miss the time you will offer it to the next respondent.
Freecycle isn't about karma or gifts or generosity, its about keeping stuff out of landfill if it can be profitably used by somebody else. If that isn't enough motivation for you, it is likely you will have a bad experience with freecycle.
Remember, from the respondents point of view, they are doing you a favour by saving you a trip to the dump.
posted by bystander at 12:26 AM on October 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


And to rerail.
This search engine is a technical solution to a theoretical problem that doesn't exist. The good stuff will be gone within minutes. The listings will be hopelessly out of date as the person giving away the jet ski heads off to the supermarket and comes back to find thousands of responses, and some entries will linger when posters don't bother to send out a PPU message.
posted by bystander at 12:29 AM on October 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


I discovered my local Freecycle a couple of years ago and have had pretty good experiences with it. SOme stuff never found a taker, while other stuff had mobs looking to take it off my hands. Unlike CL, it isn't overrun with scammers

It's a great concept that manages to retain its small-scale beauty.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:05 AM on October 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Freecycle varies from place to place, for example, my local one bans pleading and says nothing about 'deserving' recipients. It hews pretty close to just keeping stuff out of landfill.

I didn't mean to imply this was my metric and I should have been clearer. By "not desperate enough" I just mean the person is being picky about whether or not they want it, and IMO Freecycle is no place for that kind of hemming and hawing - it's not a store. You want it or you don't, and if it's going to take you 5 emails with photos to figure out whether you want to take a flyer on it, that's too much work for the poster when there are probably 5 other emails in your inbox saying "I'll take it, I can be there at 6."

Our list has the same guidelines - no pleading or sob stories, and it's not about who needs something the worst. I just mean that I don't ever get involved in trying to 'sell' an object to anyone. There's always another taker who isn't as iffy.
posted by Miko at 4:58 AM on October 21, 2011


Also, I agree with bystander. There a bunch of reasons why this search engine isn't really needed. Another is that there's only so far you're going to drive for what you need, and chances are you're already on that Freecycle list. If you're not you won't get the stuff anyway.

I have often wished for a site, though, where you could post things you are looking for - even things you're willing to pay for. The passiveness and weeding-out involved in searching sites like eBay for things is frustrating. But the inherent problem with a "wish list" site is - who would have the incentive to read it? I think it might need to work on a system like PaperBackSwap, where you earn credits for exchanging stuff, so there'd be something in it for the people with stuff to give away or sell that would make them read the "wanted" listings.
posted by Miko at 5:01 AM on October 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I finally quit Freecycle after getting tired of all the no-shows. I then got an e-mail from the local organizer asking me why I was leaving; I told her and she said I should have let her know who the deadbeats are. I don't know what she would have done, but I wish I'd known she might do SOMETHING!

It can be a fantastic service--I got free exercise equipment for both my sister and me! free ceiling fans!--but you have to be quick and, please, be courteous.
posted by WorkingMyWayHome at 11:26 AM on October 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


You may not find any hits for items in rural WV, yet. This is a brand new startup so it hasn't yet expanded to small towns, but give it time.

True you won't, but that's not why: the real reason is that all the cool stuff is still in my granddad's flea market warehouse in beckley, or in my uncle's yard in oak hill.
posted by toodleydoodley at 1:08 PM on October 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


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