Monday, December 03, 2007


Yesterday the first snow that stuck on the ground fell in New Jersey, just days after the bulk of the trees fell from the leaves. Today violent winds blew, throwing the excess leaves across the road in a frenzy of activity. We will now officially have a winter baby.

I recently discovered a great new resource called Freecycle. Mark’s co-worker recommended it to us as a way to get rid of unneeded things and made sure they go to someone who needs them. It’s also a way to get used stuff you need for free.

In preparation for the baby, we moved the TV to the living room. I figured I’ll be spending quite a few hours at home, and wanted the option of entertainment via DVDs borrowed from the library. But we didn’t have a DVD player.

I first looked at the classifieds and at Craig’s List to see if I could find a used one for sale nearby. Nothing. Then we figured we’d buy a new one, though neither of us were eager to do so since we didn’t need anything special. Then I remembered the Freecycle recommendation and decided to check it out. I didn’t see any DVD players available. So I posted an ad saying we could use one. Within 24 hours, I’d received two responses. Today, we drove eight miles and picked up an Emerson VHS/DVD player that meets our needs perfectly. The prior owner says it eats VHS tapes but that the DVD portion works fine. The cost - $0.

I was so impressed, and grateful, that I posted another ad today offering a brand new portable desk that we never got around to using for free. At least 15 people responded wanting this item. I told the first person to respond that I’d leave it outside for him to pick up. Cool. Less unneeded junk around the house for us, no need to transport it to charity and no need to add to landfills. And someone who wants this thing and can put it to use gets it for free.

It’s a wonderful way to mediate supply and demand, to circulate items to the places they are needed with a minimum of transaction costs. I’m grateful to whoever got it off the ground.