Giving furniture away

Did you know you could get free stuff on eBay?Even as the economy seems to be getting better, finances remain tight for many people. No one wants to spend money too frivolously, and many even find some of the things they need for free. Would you like to be one of them?

There are a number of online sites that exist just to list free stuff. Others have portions of their sites dedicated to those who wish to give things away. You can find air mattresses, clothing, plants and furniture. I've even seen stylish, fairly expensive appliances listed on such sites on occasion. You never know what you'll find until you look.

Here are 5 places to get you started.

Just go to the For Sale section and click the Free link. Some interesting things I discovered in our area just this week included: an entertainment center, landscaping rocks, a 32-inch flat-screen TV, "nearly new" baby clothes and a sectional. That's several hundred dollars in stuff right there, even at garage sale prices. All you have to do is go pick up what you want!

One caveat: Craigslist users have been plagued with some bad incidents in recent years. Be sure to use caution before allowing a stranger to come to your house or before going to their place. People who use Craigslist often choose to meet in a public place, such as the parking lot at a Starbucks, where they'll be in view of others. And it's always a good idea not to go alone.

Freecycle. A lot of what you throw away ends up in a landfill, even when it's still perfectly usable. Many people are using local Freecycle sites to find a good home for their useful castoffs.

The concept of Freecycle is to keep things out of landfills needlessly. It works on a membership basis, and you generally apply to join a local site in your area.

Once you are a member, you can post items you'd like to give away. As a member, you'll also see what others are offering for free. Nothing is to be sold. Many of these groups don't work on a first-come, first-served basis, so be sure to read the rules of the group. Additionally, if you only take and never give (especially if you post too many "wanted" requests), you could find your membership curtailed.

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