Do you know about freecycle? craigslist? They are places online where you can get stuff, and get rid of stuff. It's a great way to keep things out of the landfills, and it can be a lot of fun.
Freecycle - www.freecycle.com - is free ONLY. You have to mess around a bit to find the local group, but it's not too hard, and you can get daily emails of all the offers for that day, if you're interested (that's how I do it). Craigslist - www.craigslist.org - is similar, but you can also sell things. Just like freecycle, you probably want to find a local group. Posting a for-sale on craigslist is free. You can also announce yard sales and such on craigslist. They even have pages for room mates, job searches - pretty much everything.
If you have a ton of stuff to get rid of, consider doing one thing first, so you get a feel for how it works, how much response you get, all that. I recently got something from a gentleman on freecycle. It took him several days to reply to me. When he called, he said that he'd listed a bunch of stuff, and gotten 'hundreds' of emails, all in one day. Bless his heart!
Oh yeah - wanna see what I got? This is not all of them. This is not even half of them! Oh, and they have lids too, but they are drying in this picture. I realize there is no reference in this photo - they are one gallon size. (Woot!)
He had advertised 2 dozen glass gallon jars with lids. By the time we got together and I picked them up, he had found a few more. We ended up with 36 (yike!) one gallon glass jars. Since we dehydrate a lot of fruit, and we keep wheat and oats and such on hand, I can definitely put them to good use...but 36 is a LOT of jars!
So, why did this nice, older man have 36 huge jars? The jars were used to store honey. Turns out he's a beek! ("Beek" is slang for 'beekeeeper'). Even more exciting, he's a beek who is pretty well tired of being a beek...and he's planning to get rid of a bunch of equipment 'some time soon'. Well, I'm a beek too, but right now I'm bee-less. When we were building the house, and then getting the kidlet, I wasn't so attentive, and things deteriorated. The woodenware that I have (the hives and frames) is dry rotted, so I need new stuff. He has stuff to get rid of, I need stuff, and that is just one happy situation.
We got to talking, mile a minute, and he showed me the little camping trailer that he converted into a honey house. I thought I'd died and gone to heaven! Sure, it's full of junk, but it's a HONEY HOUSE! Squeeee!! It's on wheels, I have a truck...I'm hoping he wants to get rid of it at some point! It also turns out he has some hives out here, not far from me (but pretty far from him). He may, or may not, have bees in them. We agreed that 'some time soon' we would meet out here, ride out and check his hives, maybe strike some sort of deal. I am BEYOND excited and hopeful. Once I get all these jars washed and put up (15 down, 21 to go!) I'm going to send him an email, thank him again for the jars, and see if he's given any thought to what he'd like to do about equipment, bees, all that.
I love it when the Universe throws people together who would not have met otherwise, and it turns out so well! Yay for freecycle!
But, before you get all giddy and start handing out your address and phone number to people, it's time for a
Maternal Motherly Moment:
If you are getting something from someone on freecycle or craigslist, TAKE SOMEONE WITH YOU. (I took hubby and the kidlet.) You don't know this person! They might be a weirdo! Play it safe, because free is not so great if you end up in trouble!
If you are offering something on freecycle or craigslist, be extra careful. That very nice person who comes to pick up your unwanted item will know where you live. Have people there...show off your big scary dog (or play a big scary dog barking tape in your stereo, and yell 'Fang! That's enough!' a few times)...clean a shotgun while they load their car...something! (Okay, if you're cleaning a shotgun while someone is picking up items, that might make YOU seem like the weirdo from the first caution!)
Just play it safe, y'all...if it's a small item, have the person meet you in a grocery store parking lot or something. Use your head, trust your gut, and you'll be just fine, I'm sure. Just BE CAREFUL!
Oh yeah, and if you're a major packrat...pretend you never read this post! That's the danger of these sites - the potential to gather stuff that 'might be useful some day' is huge. So consider that too!