Recently we decided to move house.
Was it the ants’ nest being constructed in the bathroom cabinet, under the eight watchful eyes of a rather large and furry huntsman spider, that led us to this decision?
Was it the waves of mould colonising the shower recess, the bathtub and even the bedroom wall?
Was it the leaf blower man who dutifully appeared every morning to ensure that none of the surrounding properties were harassed by leaves?
No. It was the letter from the real estate agency informing us of the latest rent increase.
Right, we said. That’s it. We’ve had enough.
But I decided to hold off looking for a new place until I’d gotten rid of a whole lot of stuff, so that I’d know exactly how big the new place should be. So I culled and cleaned, boxed and bagged, and made numerous trips on the 326 bus to my local Salvos Store. The bus drivers were mainly sympathetic. But one particularly cold hearted fellow took to flying right by the bus stop rather than stopping to pick up the bag lady.
But I persisted. I was like an ant. Except that I was deconstructing my nest. It felt good. It was actually addictive to shed stuff; stuff that had accumulated for the last six years. There were clothes that I didn’t know I had. There were props from plays I couldn’t even remember producing – hundreds of toy plastic soldiers, wooden daggers, a beaded 1920’s drop waist evening gown, a Burmese dictator’s uniform, feathers, crockery and candelabras. Out it all went! But not all of it went on the bus ride to the op shop. There were objects that wouldn’t fit through the bus doors. Like the couch.
So I decided that this would be a good opportunity to use Freecycle – an online forum where people post the goods they want to give away and other people, who want those goods, simply email and organise to pick them up. I logged on to the website. Filled in my details. Took handsome photos of my objects. Wrote a careful, but brief, description of each object:
Vintage evening gown. c1920’s. Style: beaded. Good condition.
Vintage wooden dagger. c1430’s. Style: stabbing. Good condition.
Vintage couch. c.1995. Style: comfortable. Good condition.
Vintage peppermint rock candy. c. 2010. Style: home made. Good condition.
And then I posted. While I waited for responses I decided to make a cup of tea, and pour some peppermint oil into the ants nest. Apparently ants hate peppermint oil, and I had plenty left over from my attempt at making rock candy. I was optimistic, despite the attempt at rock candy, but I wasn’t expecting the avalanche of emails that sent my Inbox into melt down. There was even an email from my service provider warning me that my Inbox was going into melt down. In the three minutes that it had taken to boil the kettle, and annoy a few ants, I had received almost one hundred emails. All of them wanting to take one of my objects. Some of them wanting to take all of my objects. Who were these people? Was it just a computer generated automatic response? And the emails kept coming! I didn’t know what to do!
In a panic I replied to the first few emails. YES! TAKE IT!
Then I posted – STOP IMMEDIATELY _ OBJECTS TAKEN _ STOP IMMEDIATELY_ SURRENDER. I hoped that hostilities would cease.
In the meantime I kept myself busy negotiating who would pick up which object when. After several weeks it was all organised. 5 people would arrive at various times over the next 5 months to pick up my 5 objects. Perhaps it would have been easier, and quicker, to just pop a few items out onto the sidewalk after all. Never mind. I did learn a lot. Mainly that only an idiot begins the moving process before they have somewhere to move to. Because of course we decided that we really didn’t want to move. Never mind. At least my unwanted objects weren’t sitting in landfill. They were safe and sound in a loving new home.
Yes. We decided not to move after all. We liked where we were. Despite the ants. And it was, as they say, rather silly to cut off your nose to spite your (landlord’s) face.
So I went online to pay the new rent. And while I was there I browsed the Freecycle website. And found links to a whole lot of other similar sites: Oddswop, Tushare, Yours2Take, Givit, Reuse Moose and my favourite, Ziilch. Now that we aren’t moving perhaps I can get my stuff back. Or at the very least I can bombard someone else’s Inbox and get a whole lot of their stuff!
Free Stuff Websites