When I officially moved in to my humble home, my excitement died down as I was hit with the hard reality that I had no furniture, no appliances. 9m2 seemed very spacious then. I could even fit in 10 heads to give justice to "9m2". Worse, my heater wasn't working so I had to think of creative ways to warm myself up as I waited for the plombier.
Fortunately I had the Ikea single mattress given by my friend Sol and the comforter from Timi. Sufficiently enough to be a notch higher than the homeless sleeping in the metro.
As the days grew colder, the essential stuff started piling in, thanks to a lot of generous Pinoys. From zero, I started having a small drawer, table, chair, extra warm duvet, a pillow, utensils, etc...
It was great. But it just got better when I discovered Freecycle. I already knew the site, but I didn't know how good it was until my Parisian independence.
In Freecyle, you'll find not just freebies, but amazingly good freebies! In about a months time of being a member, I've seen people giving away television, computers, printers, cameras, ovens, fridge, toasters, bikes, clothes, microwave, tables, chairs, cabinets, baby stuff, lamps, plants, beds, mattresses, doors, windows, tickets, etc. Some new, some old, some broken, some weird.
I, for one, am a recipient of pretty neat and useful stuff from several generous souls. It took my worries off spending. And so week by week I cross out items from my checklist. I was able to get a halogen lamp, throw pillows, microwave, vegetable steamer, hangers, books, wine crates and even a Longchamp back pack. There was even a small fridge, but I lost it to another because the transport guy whom I hired, was suddenly scheduled for a job interview at 7 in the evening.
Director's chair from a French lady
pendants from a French woman (childhood mementos)
Freecycle is a combination of flea market and ebay. Except that the items are 100% FREE. As Paris is notorious for its space-challenged dwellings, Freecycle becomes an avenue for people to get rid of stuff that they don't want or need anymore. It is for the non-business-minded people who find more convenience in giving away their stuff rather than undergoing through the stress of selling. Mostly it is for people who believes in recycling. Rather than throwing things out, members wait for someone who will benefit from their "trash". Good for the environment, eh?
Around 85% of things that fill up my sanctuary are treasures from different people and I am not a bit ashamed to admit it. I think practicing freecycling is just practical for expats like me for they do not know how long they will stay in this fairytale land. With a little bit of imagination, the bits and pieces acquired from Freecycle might turn into something truly magical.
Freecycle is not just a hunting ground for freebie addicts. It is, for me, like a club where people share their stuff, as well as their desire for a sustainable world. It's also a good way to meet people from everywhere. From the short span of time that I've been a giver and taker, I've met and chatted with French, Romanian, American, Chinese, British...It also gave me an excuse to rediscover Paris, widen my French vocabulary, and once again thank God for my good fate.
Cheers to good souls! Cheers to more freecyclers!
There are other sites where you can give away or get free stuff:
If you're lucky, you can find really cheap deals in www.leboncoin.fr. I was able to get a funky coat rack for mere 1 euro, a mirror for 3 euros and an Ikea stick-on mirror for free!