This winter, I decided to overwinter the fish in an aquarium in the house. Our comets are now four times the size when we got them in the spring. Starting with these fish in the spring will make the pond that much more interesting. But, like I said, I am not a fish guy. I needed an aquarium and etcetras necessary to keep the fish over the winter, about four months. I figured a 10 to 20 gallon aquarium and a bubbler at the bare minimum. But going out and spending a $100 to keep a dollars worth of fish seems out of proportion. I mean, I could have left the fish in the pond an hoped for the best. And when the inevitable happened, spend a dollar next year and restocked the pond. Callus, yes, but also frugal.
Instead, I spied around and sure enough, freecycle brought me a used aquarium and a bunch of peripherals. A pump and filter, bubble rock, gravel and lots of other stuff. I did end up spending $12 on fish food though. I guess maintenance ratio of 10 : 1 is better than 100 : 1.
Freecycle is the point of the story. Freecycle is a concept that there are lots of things we all decide we don't need that really aren't ready for the landfill yet. Rather than landfill them, why not give them to someone who wants them. Freecycle is a little less complicated than EBay, you just send a message to Freecycle about what you have to give away and other participants can message you back that they want it and setup a way to make the exchange. The rules are that everything must be exchanged free of charge. This is a way to get rid of useful items cluttering up your garage, not line your pockets.
When I first signed up for Freecycle, I figured I would just get the daily digest (my local free cycle is hosted on Yahoogroups). But I quickly found that if you don't pounce on freecycle items, you are not likely to get much. Checking yesterdays posts is a good way to find some great item that has already been given away. To date, I have gotten food grade barrels, DVDs and aquarium setup. And I have given away that rabbit hutch that sat in my barn for almost ten years. It was a nice hutch, I was sure I find a use for it....
The beauty of Freecycle is it is pre-recycling items. In the recycling programs around the nation, material gets collected and sorted, cleaned, crushed, shredded and reconstituted and then is a suitable raw material to make new things. With Freecycle, items continue to be useful with no processing. No new energy. For some of you, read this as shallower carbon footprint. It's not just about saving money.
So, Google Freecycle and find out what someone has been keeping in their garage for you!