Thursday, January 25, 2007
saving the planet, one item at a time (with a super long post to boot)
three or four years ago we bought a lot in a pennsylvania at a tax auction. well, "lot" is too fancy a word. it is a campsite, really, and sitting on the site was a 1972 nomad trailer. my husband and father were convinced we could live in the trailer with our two small children on the weekends. whenever they would tell me that, i would roll my eyes because i knew in my heart of hearts that this thing was uninhabitable. not just because it skeeved me out but because it really was uninhabitable. in a condemned kind of uninhabitable way. both were positive that with a little elbow grease and a lot of bleach, it would be livable. i refused to believe it.

then my dad, who owns the lot next door, was able to pop the lock on the trailer (remember, we bought it at auction so we didn't have keys) and have a look around. what he found was not pretty. water damage. rodent infestation. food that had been left in the fridge and cupboards for years (decades, maybe). he called me up and said "whatever you do, don't open the refrigerator." as if.

i was able to give this thing away. that's right. i got a guy to take the thing off my hands. and it didn't cost me a dime.

i found a little site called
freecycle, which promotes giving away perfectly good albeit unneeded items to people who really have a use for it. their mission statement is this:

Our mission is to build a worldwide gifting movement that reduces waste, saves precious resources & eases the burden on our landfills while enabling our members to benefit from the strength of a larger community.
i wrote my ad:
free travel trailer. offered as is. you move it; everything inside the trailer included. needs work. probably better for parts or scrap metal.
you would not believe the number of inquiries i received. one woman was so excited, she wanted to see it that very day. i had to break it to her that i was in brooklyn but could show her the trailer later that week. "that'll be great! i have a gynocologist's appointment in town on friday. does that work for you?"
"you do realize that this thing needs a lot of work, right?"
"oh, i've fixed up plenty of campers before. i'm not afraid of a little work."
"it has mice. and food from the dark ages in the fridge."
"why are you trying to talk me out of it?"
"well, it's really not a livable trailer, i don't think-"
"i'll just take a look at it. see you friday!"

so the lady showed up, and that was the very first time i set foot in the trailer. she inspected every inch of it while i pretended to not want to throw up. in the end, she refused to take it not because of the rodent problem, not because of the musty smell, not because of the fridge but because the seam on the outside had pulled away at one corner and she felt that was going to be a lot of work to repair. "you know, dry rot," she said.

one girl called me again and again. she wanted to give the trailer to her dad to put on his land so he could have a place stay when hunted. one guy wanted to travel cross country in it. i was getting responses so, my ad was reaching people but perhaps my message needed to be clarified?

i reposted:
free 1972 nomad travel trailer. offer includes all items inside, including
rodents and an experiment in pennicillin growth in the fridge. this trailer has water damage and is best for parts, scrap metal or just the frame it sits on. no air in the tires. you will need to move this yourself. uninhabitable. available for showings this weekend.

no one called or wrote. that was more like it!

i drove back to brooklyn, prepared to give the property owners association a lot of money to dispose of the trailer. then my phone rang. it was the lady who'd seen the trailer. she saw an ad on freecycle for a guy who needed.......a trailer for parts! could she give him my number?

prospect #2 called. could he go look at it? "sure. i'll let the security office know you're coming. if you are interested let me know." then he called back. he would take it. "really?" i asked, trying not to sound shocked. "yes, you see, i'm building a camper out of an old school bus and need things like rv-sized light fixtures, sinks, appliances. it'll take too long to order them from the rv supply place." bing. o.

the moral of this story is there is a lid for every pot. and, when looking to get rid of something that you simply no longer have a need for, there is no need to throw it away. there is someone out there who needs it or wants it. you'll be helping out your fellow man and your planet. and it is quite easy. you join freecycle (using your yahoo id), post a message in your local group and arrange with the recipient how they will pick the stuff up. that's right. you don't have to go anywhere (unless, of course you want to).

happy recycling with freecycle!


Blogger Andie said...

I've discovered this site. It's amazing the things people get rid of. In 1 hour I received roughly 75 emails, then I changed my profile not to receive so many. It's fantastic! btw, funny story.

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