Working for a municipal recycling department has really allowed me to keep my finger on the pulse of reducing, reusing and recycling in the Twin Cities. In our journey into home-ownership, all three of those will be important, but for the moment, the number 1 thing that makes our life easier is the second one: reuse. Luckily for us, our community seems to be really good at reusing, as shown by the multiple websites that allow for those giving stuff away to connect to those who want it:
- Twin Cities Free Market is a website run by Eureka Recycling, with the purpose of reducing the amount of materials going to the landfill. I got a papasan chair cushion from a lady in Robbinsdale (retail $60) about a year ago. Appliances, furniture, electronics and building materials are common items. The one issue with this website is that the good stuff really moves fast–some things could be spoken for within an hour of being posted.
- Another website meant to connect people with stuff others are looking to give away is Free Cycle. This one is a nation-wide site that has local sub-sites that you sign up for. In general, I find that the things offered on this website are smaller items–strollers, lamps and clothing more than appliances and furniture.
- Craigslist is probably the best-known website for directly connecting people with the goods and services they may be looking for. There is a free stuff section that is similar to the aforementioned two websites. This is another site where the good stuff goes fast. And of course, because it’s better-known, there are more creeps that you need to watch out for.
So, you’d be crazy to think that I haven’t already started scouring these sites for all the things we’re going to need–we will be needing all new appliances, bathroom fixtures and some furniture. Here’s our score so far:
Pedestal sink with faucet:
"new" pedestal sink
- Found on Craigslist “Free Stuff” section
- Received from an Apple Valley residence
- Was being replaced by the previous owner due to a bathroom remodel
- Approximate retail: $160 (new)
The kitchen the cabinets were taken from. Sadly the island wasn't included.
kitchen cabinets, currently banished to the garage
- Found on Twin Cities Free Market (less than 2 hours after they were posted)
- Received from Northeast Minneapolis
- Taken out of a kitchen for a kitchen remodel
- Approximate retail $1800 (used)
These are just things we’ve found in the past week. It will be very interesting to see how much we can find over the course of the next couple months!