Dear PoP – Craigslist or Freecycle?

Photo by PoPville flickr user julianne’s

“Dear PoP,

I am moving soon and would like to get rid of several pieces of furniture. It is all serviceable but well-used and mostly of Ikea origin (so has little/minimal value). I would be perfectly happy if someone just showed up and took it away for free. Do you (or anyone) have any opinions on using the “free” section of Craigslist v. Freecycle? Or any other suggestions (like a charity that will come and pick up my stuff?) Thanks a lot!”

Anyone have a preference? I feel like I’ve heard good things about freecycle.

35 Comment

  • I recently listed several pieces of furniture on Craigslist as free and was overwhelmed with responses. You might want to put something in the ad that its first come first serve between a certain hour of the day, otherwise be prepared to be innudated with emails and people asking if they can pick this or that up at certain times, and then not showing up at those times.

  • I routinely put stuff on CL for free. I say, I’m putting it out front and will remove the ad when it’s gone. Inevitable, it’s gone in 20 minutes.

  • with that much stuff, I’d do a ‘curb alert’ on CL, as CAHBF said.

    Or, better yet, find a charity that can give the stuff to a needy family. I don’t have any ideas on that one, though.

  • Freecycle might be worth investigating, since the way you start is by having something to give away – then you can look for things you want, for your new place!

  • Freecycle FTW! If you don’t want to curb it that is. I find that Freecyclers generally want to use the stuff they respond about; CL free folks more often than not are looking to turn it around for a small profit. Not that it’s unethical (I’m willingly giving them sh*t for free after all), but I always get the feeling that if they can’t sell it in short order it’ll end up in the dump. The no-show rate for CL’ers is also an order of magnitude worse than the Freecycle crowd.

    Or if you have anything cabinet-like or table-like Community Forklift will take it ( That way you know it will be getting good use. Always best to call ahead to them with any furniture to make sure it is something they need. In general if it’s upholstered they probably won’t want it.

    Captcha: “$82,000,000 focus”. I thought we were talking about free stuff?

    • SouthwestDC

      I rented my basement out to a guy who sold stuff he picked up from Craigslist. I WISH he’d have dumped some of it! Few things are more unsightly than a pile of old workout equipment in the backyard.

      • Yeah, I guess the other side of the free CL coin is the hoarding …

        Same issue, though. I’d still like to think the stuff I’m giving away will be put to good use.

  • A couple of times when I needed to get rid of something I just put it on the corner with a “yours for free” note and it was gone pretty fast.

  • We just moved as well. I gave away a lot using Freecycle. I don’t have a curb but it was quick and easy. I also gave some mattresses to the group “A Wider Circle”. They take other used furniture as well. Check there website for a wish list.

  • I’ve always found that on the whole, people on Freecycle are much more likely to actually come over and pick up the item(s) when they say they will. But if one doesn’t pan out, well, try the other.

  • This was originally my question and I ended up posting a bunch of stuff on Craigslist last weekend. I was afraid of the flakiness of many craigslist users — either not showing up or responding to an ad but not actually having the means to transport the furniture.

    I was totally overwhlemed with the response. Over 50 responses in less than 30 minutes for some well-used Ikea furniture. So I quickly took down the ads and contacted the first serious seeming response for each item. I was able to schedule everyone to come the next day and had a 100% success rate with people showing up and taking things away.

    I think a “curb alert” would have been a lot easier but I was worried that people wouldn’t come because they would assume someone else had beat them to it already. Or that too many people would converge and create other drama. Anyone ever had a bad (or good) experience with the “curb alert” method?

  • Agree with Freecycle recommendations – I seldom have a no-show, and if I do there’s always someone else in line.

    Putting things out on the curb works if the weather is good, and if items are still sitting there a day or so later then try another method.

  • I put things out on my sidewalk and mark them FREE. Most often they are gone before I come back to check.

  • BOO on curb alerts. Especially if larger furniture is involved, which casual passer-byers just can’t pick up and carry away.

    If something isn’t picked up, it just sits there, gets rained on, gets used as a dumping ground and ultimately becomes a large piece of litter. Don’t know why people insist on doing this when both CL and Freecycle exist – not to mention various charities that will pick up.

    And BTW – no one wants your used mattress and/or box spring, even if it is free.

    • “And BTW – no one wants your used mattress and/or box spring, even if it is free.”

      You know, I always thought this too, but have been alarmed over the years to find that people I know have bought and sold used mattresses.

      I think it’s super gross, but apparently there are plenty of people who are okay with it. Ick.

    • SouthwestDC

      A few years ago we put out some old rugs with the trash. Mind you, these were rugs that the dogs had had multiple accidents on, and they reeked. So we were somewhat appalled to see them in the neighbor’s backyard a few weeks later. They’re still there; maybe by now the mold smell has overpowered the dog pee smell.

      Moral of the story, there’s no limit to what people will take, as long as it’s free and convenient.

      • Reminds me of a few years ago before my now husband moved in. He had a massive problem with camel crickets in the basement and after some investigation the exterminator found they had colonized a few boxes of VHS tapes under the basement steps. We put them out for the trash in the alley and about an hour later found someone had come by and picked them up; crickets, eggs and all.

  • If it’s in good shape, maybe Habitat for Humanity. During a move a couple of years ago, they came to pick up some stuff from the house I was living in.

  • CL is majorly fast, but freecycle is more about the community, so I think it’s a first try, and then when you’re desperate, craigs. They’re the kind who will be like “I’m coming NOW!”

  • I’ve had a radically different experience from most people on here. It is impossible to get rid of furniture on freecycle, whereas Craigslist free makes furniture evaporate. I’ve found freecycle to be full of flakes, crazy hoarder people, people who don’t read the listing, and people who wish to acquire your large item but have no plan for how to transport it. Freecycle is definitely better for small items, but when it’s furniture Craigslist is the way to go.

  • I usually just put things on the sidewalk and they are gone in 10 minutes. However, I recently tried to get rid of a rug in fair condition (no holes) just needed to be cleaned, and no one came for it on CL (I posted it) or even a passerby.

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  • I’ve encountered a few flakes and one jerk with Freecycle, but for the most part have had positive experiences with it. I just got rid of an old bicycle with Freecycle just this last week. The only problem is with folks who don’t catch the post saying the item is taken pending pick up. I would recommend asking for a phone number and calling the person who wants it. Cuts down on the flake factor. Also it weeds out the auto responders.

    Craigslist is hit or miss, and is more flakey. Like a good pie crust.

  • Contrary to one of the posters above, I had no problem at all getting rid of furniture on Freecycle. Another benefit is that it provides an easy way to notify people when the item has been taken – all you have to do is post a notice in the forum.

  • If you’re getting upward of 20 responses on your Craig’s List items, that means you’re under-selling them…. you might as well make some money for your move! See what other people are charging and charge about the same. I sold a bunch of furniture this week, and I didn’t make anywhere near what I paid for it, but it’s nice to have some extra cash.

  • Call A Wider Cicle ( They give used furniture to families moving from shelters into apartments. If the stuff is big, they’ll even come get it from you.

    Obviously, you can’t give them your pee soaked rugs, but they’ll take worn but not broken tables, chairs, bookshelves etc.

    Plus the folks running it are just super nice, cool people.

  • Just selling something for $5 on clist gets serious responses and makes you feel psychologically better sometimes.

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