Cracked pots for Craigslist.

How To Get Rid Of Old Stuff Quick—For Free

Here’s how to give away unwanted things at lightening speed to save the planet and avoid a dumping fee.


Stuff You Can Find For Free On Craigslist


OUT WITH THE OLD | As a murder mystery aficionado, I generally identify with the forces of law and order. Lately, however, I’ve felt a certain sympathy for murderers with awkward corpses to dispose of.

In the bad old days, getting rid of unwanted items was so much easier, cheaper and less guilt-ridden. Recently I found myself with a number of awkward corpses of my own to dispose of: dead trees I had felled before the winter winds did the job less carefully. The tree cutters advised that taking the larger pieces to the dump would be expensive and suggested advertising them as free firewood on Craigslist. It seemed unlikely anyone would want freshly cut unsplit hemlock, but lacking a better idea I posted an ad. Imagine my surprise when within hours I had half a dozen responses.

This got me thinking about what other castoffs someone might take away for free. I advertised a wooden shelving unit with glass shelves. Once again, multiple responses within hours. I then unloaded some shabby outdoor furniture, a barbecue and a built-in vacuum cleaner. Maddened by success, I eyed some plywood that had been used for walls in the basement. They were odd shapes with wallpaper on them, but less than an hour after posting the ad, I received six queries.

Now I’m wondering if anyone could use some damaged pottery…

6 Tips For Giving Stuff Away
  1. Craigslist isn’t the only way to dispose of unwanted stuff, but like putting things out at the curb with a “Free” sign only with a wider reach, it’s easy, costs nothing and recycles instead of dumping.
  2. Unless something is really desirable, posting it free gets rid of it faster than putting a price on it.
  3. To avoid unnecessary queries and reach the people who want what you have, clearly describe the item(s), including materials, dimensions and defects, in the ad.
  4. Unless it’s something obvious, like firewood, include a photograph, or even several from different angles.
  5. Be considerate. Respond to every query, letting people know where they are in the queue and that you will contact them if no one ahead of them takes it.
  6. Once the item is gone, or it is clear that it will be, delete the post both as a courtesy and to avoid additional emails flooding your inbox. —Felicity Stone

Photo: C. Phaisalakani

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