No, I don't have a free bicycle I'm giving away. I'm talking about a website called Freecycle. Freecycle.org is a site where people can place and respond to want ads, under the restriciton that the item is being given away for free. Think of it as the "Free Stuff" section of Craigslist. Here's the description from their site:
Welcome! The Freecycle Network™ is made up of 4,996 groups with 8,828,922 members around the world. It's a grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving (and getting) stuff for free in their own towns. It's all about reuse and keeping good stuff out of landfills. Each local group is moderated by local volunteers (them's good people). Membership is free.
When you go to the site, you can then look up your town and go to a separate Freecycle forum just for your town (or thereabouts). The messageboard format is pretty simple. If you have something you want to give away, make a post whose headline starts with "OFFER:" followed by a short description of what you're giving away. Likewise, people who are looking for something will post "WANTED:" followed by what they want. Once an item has been picked up by somebody and is no longer available, you can post "TAKEN:" and the item.
So why give something away for free if you can sell it on a site like eBay or Craigslist? I suppose it's charitable and all, but hey, I'm sure as hell not going to give away an item for free if it's something I paid hundreds of dollars for. Or at least not without trying to sell it first. Unfortunately, the sad reality is that some things are next to impossible to sell. I've come to realize this first-hand. Even if you have an item that you think is rare, sometimes you can see 5 people trying to sell the same exact item on eBay, and get no bids. Also, if something's simply too big, you typically don't want to put it on eBay and have to deal with trying to ship it. I can't imagine trying to mail a couch to Canada.
I know that some packrats will hold on to an item with the idea that "I can sell that on eBay". I did that myself for years, and I'm sure I still have stuff somewhere in my home where I use that same rationization to keep it. What often happens though is that the packrat never really gets around to selling it, and the item continues to sit there, not being used at all and taking up space. There is a whole host of other reasons for why hoarders keep items, but that's a whole other subject, and something I've already written many posts about.
My point here is that you have to eventually make the effort to get on eBay or Craigslist and follow through with getting rid of the item. Or if that just won't work, try to give it away.
WARNING: Freecycle.org is quite the double-edged sword when it comes to clutter. Keep in mind that I'm only mentioning Freecycle.org as a recommended way of getting rid of your stuff. Resist the urge to use to get stuff you really don't need! I know that presenting a compulsive hoarder with a site of free stuff can potentially backfire here. But if you're already on your way to clutter recovery and you have those extra pesky things that you really just need to get the hell out of your house, then Freecycle can be a powerful tool.