There might be no such thing as a free lunch, but a free chair – that’s entirely possible, thanks to the efforts of people like Kristy Hymans.
Hymans is the moderator for a Facebook group called Freecycle – Eden Prairie, MN. The private group allows members to offer items free of charge or to solicit free items from others. Hymans started the group in August 2018 after noting a plethora of Facebook Marketplace listings for free items.
“I had the idea that having a smaller group of Eden Prairie residents who wanted to share free items would be useful to the local community and also help keep items out of the landfill,” she said.
Today, the group has more than 1,000 members and is a great resource for people who have items that they no longer need, but still have plenty of life left in them.
“I really wanted to help residents connect so that they could share items they no longer needed,” said Hymans. “The intent of the group is to reduce waste and create a strong community of sharing.”
Freecycle isn’t the only giveaway group for Eden Prairie on Facebook either. Buy Nothing Eden Prairie has 1,800 members and a similar concept.
Boxes and pillows and panels, oh my!
On any given day, those browsing Freecycle – Eden Prairie, MN, might find a nice packing box, unused printer cartridges, outdoor pillows, fence panels, dishes, a cozy chair or a large dollhouse. Hymans said children’s and baby items are among the most common items listed as well as books, household goods and small appliances. The only rules are that the items listed must be free and not illegal or dangerous.
For her part, Hymans has used the site to both give and receive. “When my family decided to sell or donate everything to travel in our RV full-time, I used this group for everything that we didn’t need or didn’t want to sell,” she said. “I have also picked up a lot of baby items now that we just had our second child. We’ve received a stroller, crib, baby swing, car seat and so much more.”
Nothing is too big or small to be on offer. Hymans said when she received more jalapeno peppers than intended in her grocery order, she immediately listed the extras, and a few hours later, someone came by to pick them up.
Joy of sharing
“The community has been very grateful, supportive and helpful,” said Hymans. She hopes the group continues to expand. Thus far, growth has been all through word of mouth, and members seem to be invested in its success.
“It really is amazing to see how much joy it brings people to share and be shared with,” said Hymans. “With more local members, we can continue the pipeline of secondhand goods making their way into homes where they will be used rather than ending up in landfills.”