Why I get rid of stuff on Freecycle, eBay, and Craigslist.

Sometimes I have something that is old, worn out, or even broken, but I -know- that someone in the world could use it.  For instance, the heating element of my coffee maker broke, but I knew that someone could use the coffee maker's carafe and filter basket.  I listed those two parts individually on eBay, and they sold right away.  I didn't get a lot of money for them, but I got enough to cover my costs.

Why bother? 

Yes, I didn't make a ton of money selling my defunct coffee maker's carafe and filter basket.  So what's my logic for selling them on eBay?
  • It's better for my stuff to be used, instead of it being thrown into a garbage heap.
  • It's better for my stuff to be used by someone who needs it, instead of having it sitting idle in my attic to rot.
  • It's better for someone else to be able to fix their own thing with an inexpensive used part, instead of them having to throw away their old thing and buy something new.
  • It's better to repair stuff than to buy new stuff.  Manufacturing new stuff takes a lot of energy and creates a lot of pollution.  Minimizing the production of new stuff is good for everyone.

What's the savings?

When I sold my carafe and filter basket, these things did not go into the garbage heap:
  1. My carafe
  2. My filter basket
  3. The coffee maker of the buyer of my carafe - with a new carafe, its buyer was able to use his coffee maker again.
  4. The coffee maker of the buyer of my filter basket - with a new filter holder, its buyer was able to use his coffee maker again.
Also, these things didn't have to be made:
  1. A replacement coffee maker of the buyer of my carafe
  2. A replacement coffee maker of the buyer of my filter basket
So in all, two fewer coffee makers had to be manufactured.  Two fewer coffee makers went to the landfill.  I got some money.  And the people who bought my used parts saved some money to help reduce their credit card debt.  WE ALL WIN.

Why not just give it to Good Will?

Good Will is great.  They take your stuff and turn it around to help people in need.  But it is bad for them and bad for everyone if we just dump them stuff that they don't know how to deal with.  That includes weird coffee maker parts of unknown manufacture and unknown quality.

The beauty of me selling this stuff instead is that I know exactly what this stuff is and I know exactly what's good and bad about it.   For instance, I know the exact model number of my old coffee maker, and with that someone can be reasonably sure to find it on eBay.  A firm like a Good Will doesn't have the time or ability to assess and research every minor thing that comes in their door.

eBay is likely best for stuff like this, because the market place is enormous and because just about anything can be listed there.  Need a karafe for a Krups model 37G125 coffee maker?  Only eBay and maybe the manufacturer is likely to have something available.

Very common items, like computer parts and iPods have a robust local market, and therefore these parts can be listed on Freecycle or Craigslist.

So if you have junk, think twice about throwing it out - you might be able to stop a whole lot more junk from ending up in the landfill.

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