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Neighbors: Recycling Unused Items

Red Bluff Daily News (Newspaper) - 5/17/2008 by Craig and Charlene Love
Trading unwanted items for wanted items is a way to save money. It also clears out space that was being taken up by things that we don't want anymore. This is not a new concept, but we have found new ways to do this. People who read a lot usually have boxes and boxes of books stashed in the closet, garage or some other storage area. Most books are read only once and no longer looked at again. Trading them for other desired books is a great bargain.

The internet has become a place that gives more options to recycling unwanted items. Paperbackswap.com is one place we started using to trade our unwanted books for others we do want. The website that allows members to post their unwanted books on a list that is available for other members to request books from. Membership is free.

The only cost is postage for sending the books. When we request a book, the person sending the book pays the postage. When someone requests a book from

us, we pay the postage. The average postage is under $3 per book. If someone wants several books from your list they can be mailed together. That saves on postage.

Beginning members receive two bonus credits after posting their first 10 books to trade. Credits are used to request desired books from the list.

Every time a member mails a requested book to another member, they receive one credit. Each book is worth one credit. Audio books are two credits.

We only signed up a little over a week ago. At the time we are writing this column, we have mailed 20 books to other members. Three of those have already been received by other members giving us three credits.

Using those three credits plus our two bonus credits we requested five books.

Two of those have already arrived. As soon as others receive the books we have mailed them, more credits will be added to our account. We will then use them to request other books we want.

Another website that is helping us clear out unused items is freecycle.com. This site has many groups all over the country. There is a group right here in Red Bluff.

This is a site where members can list items they no longer need but are still usable. When other members see something they can use, they contact the owner and arrange to pick up the item.

There is no cost to sign up. All items to be given away must be free. The person requesting an item must arrange to pick up the item at the owner's convenience.

We just signed up on this site last week also. So far we have listed an offer of several cross-stitch kits. Our craft kits collection is too big and some need to find new homes. Several members made requests for them. We are in the process of arranging for one of them to come pick them up.

Other items we have seen listed include furniture, car parts, a baby carrier, a freezer and a bicycle.

Members can also request items they need. There is a limit of once a month for posting a request for a wanted item. There is no limit to asking for items others post that you want.

There are other websites that deal with selling unwanted items such as eBay and craigslist.com. We have used eBay for several years as a place to find items we want.

So far we have not gotten into the selling end of it.

The sites that are the most appealing to us are the ones that let us post for free. Either giving items away or trading is what we like best. The best part of it is clearing out things we no longer need.

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Craig and Charlene Love are walnut farmers in Red Bluff. Comments, questions and news of what you are doing can be sent to cclove.neighbors@yahoo.com. Reader responses will be posted at the neighbors blog site at http://www.redbluffdailynews.com/blogs, click on 'Neighbor to Neighbor'.