Fearsome Freecycle.

This weekend Chris outdid himself. As usual, my over enthusiasm on eBay had resulted in the purchasing of a large and unwieldy object, in this case a bath, which although lovely and cheap and secondhand would require a lot of upheaval and hard work from Chris to make use of. It’s not really fair of me I know. If Chris doesn’t deal with said object then it sits about in our flat tripping us up or blocking fire exits. It would be fine if I stuck to buying small items or things that I can deal with/ install myself – but I never do. I’m also rubbish at driving so it’s Chris who ends up driving the hire van to collect the item. Added to that I’m now so tubby I can’t even help carry things up and down stairs! Spare a thought for my long suffering husband.


In some ways it’s good – my illadvised purchasing of 50s units and sinks and worktops pushed Chris into fixing up the kitchen – and I think he did a bloody good job!

50s secondhand kitchen put together by Chris

50s secondhand kitchen put together by Chris

But right now it certainly puts the pressure on. When a new baby might make an appearance out at any moment what’s a sensible thing to do?  Rip out your bathroom surely?

Saturday morning bathroom carnage

Saturday morning bathroom carnage

I guess in some ways it does make sense. We’ve got a birthing pool in the spare room all ready to be pressed into action so, if push came to shove we could always get clean using that. However, if I’m honest, I’m not so keen on the idea of giving birth in what is effectively a giant paddling pool in which Chris and I have been scrubbing our feet for the past month!


So, this weekend Chris set himself the challenge of ripping out our bath and installing a new one ready to get clean in on Monday morning. All I had to do, apart from make tea and cheer-lead, was to responsibly dispose of the old bath. Not a problem I thought


I confidently got on Freecycle with the intention of listing the bath plus a couple of doors no longer needed, a heavyweight large changing matt I found on the street and cant find space for and a slightly damaged cat carrier which is useful but unlikely to sell in a charity shop. I was jubilant about clearing yet more crap from my life.


Within hours I had collected two more doors. Poor Chris. I should put this in context. I am 8 months pregnant. I am starting to nest and my hormones loom large. On Saturday morning I was raging about the amount of crap lying about the flat getting in the way- hence my freecycle purge. And yet seconds later I am running about the borough to collect more crap.


Very patiently Chris pointed out that I was welcome to go collect two more doors but that he wasn’t sure he had the skills to hang them and wasn’t I already pissed at the doors we were trying to get rid of? I listened carefully to all of this, considered it … and then went and collected the doors.


On the way I got a phone call from a man about the bath. I felt better. I may be collecting more, large, crap for Chris to deal with but my new best friend Steve was going to come take the bath away. Sadly my bezzie mate couldn’t make it until tomorrow morning but I was cheerfully confident. The extra doors were a temporary setback. Tomorrow we would be able to walk our corridor and even open the front door unhindered by an ugly unplumbed bath. Someone else enquired about the bath and I said that it was being collected but if I was let down I would let them know


Of course the next morning Steve did not materialise and ignored all my gently enquiring texts. I offered it to the other enquirer who told me she had no way of collecting it and had changed her mind. I was still tripping over the bloody bath and I was now two doors up on the weekend … disaster.


By this point I was being snowed under by requests for the sodding cat carrier which I had promised to a lady who couldn’t collect until Sunday evening. I got an email from a lady who was convinced that I was giving away a baby bath but cunningly not advertising it as such. She made this deduction from the measurements I had included in the ad. (1700mm obviously being a perfect length for a baby bath!). No one contacted me about the freaking doors.


It’s worth noting that I’ve been having a stop start email relationship with an infuriating lady about the baby mat for over 2 weeks! Having not contacted me for days she sent a horrified email asking why my listing had moved. I managed to not send back an email full of vitriol pointing out that since she had consistently failed to contact me on the mobile number provided to arrange an actual, you know, collection then I had pretty much given up on her. Instead I let her know that she was welcome to come and collect the mat on the date she had mentioned, days in the future and would inform her if anyone collected it before then. She ignored this email and I am still awaiting any contact from her by email or otherwise. I am resigning myself to the walk to the charity shop carrying it.


I had initially advertised on both Freecycle and Gumtree but my infuriating lack of serious interest in anything except the damaged cat carrier led me to researching alternatives. I discovered this article

Fed up with Freecycle.

Yes! Yes! I am totally fed up with Freecycle. This isn’t the first time I’ve found the site clunky and unhelpful. I looked into the alternatives

Don’t Dump That seems to be based only in the North of England – Somehow I didn’t imagine anyone in Grimsby was planning on coming down to London to collect my old bath.

Freegle is based on Yahoo goups. It’s looks suspiciously like Freecycle circa 2001 which from memory was a special sort of hell to be involved with – I’ve totally forgotten my Yahoo password and I didn’t feel I could face the nightmare even to get rid of the bath. I guiltily ignored it

My Skip and V Skip are the same site – so I whacked on an ad for the bath and doors

Myskip-e1376994074540-640x240I also found http://www.freeads.co.uk/ and uploaded my items to that.


Late on Sunday I had two email enquiries for the bath and one for the babymat via gumtree. I responded to all three with my phone number to discuss collection– my messages were ignored.


The cat carrier was collected at the time discussed with the lovely lady who initially contacted me after she kept in contact over the weekend. I could have kissed her.


While I spent the weekend unable to tear myself away from my email account Chris ripped out the bath, repaired a hideous number of damp damaged floorboards, plumbed in the bath and tidied up. It’s impressive just how much of a driver the promise of a hot bath can be to efficient working.

Sunday evening beautiful bathroom

Sunday evening beautiful bathroom

We ran a celebratory bath while I looked at the even more cluttered corridor filled with 4, yes 4! doors a bath and a baby mat which I dread having to carry to the charity shop. Weirdly what really upset me was the number of enquiries I had from people some of whom sounded desperate to get their hands on my junk but who appeared to be frightened off by the idea that the items might still be available for collection.


There is a happy end to this story apart from a gorgeous bath plumbed in by my clever partner in record time. Yesterday afternoon a man called me up and asked to come and collect the bath within an hour.   Two and a half hours later – when I had added him to the pile of previous contacters who seem to delight in asking for my address and then never contacting me again (probably slightly better than someone who asks for my address and then stalks me I suppose) He turned up grabbed the bath and took it out of my life forever. I loved him.


Is it just me? Is it south London? I remember in Edinburgh and Hackney I feared using freecycle and gumtree mainly because I would be swamped with people trying to collect my junk. We did struggle with no shows but for every time waster there were always another 10 people willing to actually turn up in their absence. Since we’ve moved to Brockley I seem to struggle to give anything away on Freecycle – even the magic cat carrier was advertised with no luck 3 weeks earlier – two people set up collections and then never appeared. Gumtree is marginally better – I usually get one or two people interested in things eventually.


Sadly me and the Lewisham freecycle group seem to be incompatible – unless I want more doors of course!




4 thoughts on “Fearsome Freecycle.

  1. Now that is a lovely bath! Pity you must now be too big to actually get out of a bath without a crane. Remember those days well! Are you planning a homebirth? I had two, so much better than both the public hospital birth, and birth centre birth before them. Home birth midwives are the calmest, most reassuring people I know:)

    • lol. I’m just about getting in and out but I’ll be relieved when we manage to get a shower installed – just hoping the baby doesn’t appear before the shower! waiting on a plasterer at the moment.

      Home birth is the plan and all going well so far. I have an amazing midwife from the Guys and St Thomas’s community team which is wonderful. I feel so lucky! fingers crossed no last minute problems take me into hospital. Thanks for the reassurance. It’s good to hear of people who have had a positive home birth experience. Makes it all the more exciting and less scary.

  2. I imagine that by now you have had your baby and certainly no time for blogging – so congratulations! I am in SE London and found freecycle awful – responses say things like ‘can I have it’. recently gave away a unused spin dryer ( bought to keep as emergency if washing machine failed) a man came so quick I now suspect he was a scrap dealer.

    Have tried to sell on preloved but people only buy dirt cheap and haggle so much I tend to take the item off and take it to a charity shop. I would rather give something away than let people twist my arm! Best wishes.

    • Hi Andrina,

      Thanks for your message. As you imagined Im now an exhausted new mum but just starting to find my feet.
      Im glad Im not the only one who struggles with Freecycle. Ive never actually used preloved although Im worried I’m probably destined to be an annoying haggler.
      It’s hard sometimes. I do prefer giving things to charity shops if I know they will be sold but if something is unusual or niche then it sometimes feel better to sell it on eBay – even if you don’t get a huge amount of cash for it at least you know it is going to someone who actually wants it rather than sitting in a shop being ignored. I’d be really annoyed to suspect that something usable like your dryer got taken for scrap! grrr

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