Freecycle – my favourite way to shop!

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When we moved from our flat in Tufnell Park we had to decide whether to bring our furniture with us, normally this seems like a no brainer but bearing in mind we were moving into a house that we were intending to gut we thought it might not be such a wise idea.  Instead we decided to travel light and freecycle most of our stuff.  Bookcases, unwanted gifts,wardrobes and beds you name it, we got rid of it.  We didn’t even have to pay to get rid of it, we advertised our belongings on Freecycle and a steady stream of people came to collect.  Whilst you don’t usually get to know much about the background of people collecting we know that some of our items went to great homes, including a band who wanted our ripped sofa for their studio (…I hope they remember us when they’re rich and famous).

When we moved the previous owners had left a variety of unwanted furniture, so we ended up Freecycling again to clear out before we started building.

We did bring a few things with us that we couldn’t bear to part with, one of which was the cat’s scratching post which had been too large for it’s former owner:

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We spent months and months with only a garden chair (from freecycle) and a sofa chair to perch on while we watched TV in our kitchen.  We slept on an airbed from Freecycle (which we still have – it’s an aerobed which needed a puncture repairing and it’s fantastic – we slept on it until I was about 8 months pregnant!)

This was our only chair for many months...sadly the cats claimed it so we had to sit on deckchairs most of the time...

This was our only chair for many months…sadly the cats claimed it so we had to sit on deckchairs most of the time…

Once our house started coming together it meant we were sorely lacking in furniture so we started scouring Freecycle for anything that would come in handy!

We got a bed, wardrobe and a mattress from Freecycle eventually when we had a bedroom, but that wasn’t the best thing about Freecycle.  When it became really lifesaving was when we had a baby!

We have so many thank yous to give to our lovely local Freecyclers, I couldn’t possibly list them all, but to give you an idea of what they kindly donated to us:

  • moses basket and stand;
  • Changing table;
  • Wardrobe (for adults but we use it in the baby’s room);
  • chest of drawers;
  • storage unit (we use it for toys);
  • newborn sleepsuits;
  • Bouncy chair;
  • a Bumbo;
  • a door bouncer;
  • Older baby clothes;
  • Muslins;
  • bibs, lots of bibs!;
  • a pregnancy pillow;
  • a nursing pillow;
  • a breast pump;
  • reusable nappies;
  • baby toiletries;
  • two baby baths;
  • an umbrella fold stroller (missing a wheel which we’ve managed without but could buy a new one!);
  • bath toys;
  • a Mothercare playcentre;
  • a BabyDan portable stairgate;
  • a playpen;
  • a travelcot;
  • toys;
  • an Ikea rocking chair; and
  • an Ikea egg chair.

I genuinely don’t know what we would have done without all these generous donations.  Some of these have already gone onto new owners via Freecycle, some of them we only used to try things out before we invested money in them (like the feeding cushion) but others we have kept and will love until we come to pass them onto a new home.  Our financial situation has been very difficult so it has allowed us to prioritise

The best thing about Freecycle is that it has given items which might otherwise have been thrown out another chance to be used.  Pretty much everything we have received or given away (even old paving slabs or bits of wood) has some life left in it and I just hate to throw things out if they can be used!

I’ve put a couple of photos below so you can see us enjoying some of our wonderful gifts.  To all who Freecycle:

THANK YOU!

Our trusty stroller

Our trusty stroller

Jem puts the rocking chair to good use but has less interest in the play centre...

Jem puts the rocking chair to good use but has less interest in the play centre…

This wonderful suitcase allowed us to buy a travelcot mattress and take it away with us...it's also large enough for babies...

This wonderful suitcase allowed us to buy a travelcot mattress and take it away with us…it’s also large enough for babies…

The egg chair...as you see he likes to stand rather than sit in chairs!

The egg chair…as you see he likes to stand rather than sit in chairs!

The controversial Bumbo, we were warned against it but I was so desperate to have "somewhere" to put the baby I wanted to try it out...he hate it, so glad we didn't pay for it!  You can also see the leg of the changing table behind him...and my changing bag...and my foot...

The controversial Bumbo, we were warned against it but I was so desperate to have “somewhere” to put the baby I wanted to try it out…he hate it, so glad we didn’t pay for it! You can also see the leg of the changing table behind him…and my changing bag…and my foot…

Fantastic bouncy chair, missing it's toys but it worked well for us...it even sent him to sleep three times!

Fantastic bouncy chair, missing it’s toys but it worked well for us…it even sent him to sleep three times!

Ungrateful mummy…?`

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So Jem had lots (and lots) of wonderful presents over Christmas, he was very lucky.  I had been looking at V-Tech baby walkers for ages, I think they’re really good and I was desperate for something to occupy him, but I never got round to getting one.  Anyway, long story short, an unexpected gift arrived from one of our fab rellies and guess what, a V-Tech baby walker!!!  I don’t know if you have seen one of these but they are all singing and dancing, music playing, activity stations as well as being a baby walker (forget wooden blocks in a tray akin to my own childhood, this is something else).

It’s brilliant, Jem loved it and recently has taken to walking along with it, and climbing on it (oh yes, really), he likes to dance along to the tunes and has a special way of trying to reach the buttons by leaning over it from the back…

Now Jem loves something new, but he has a very short attention span.  For example the pride of my Christmas gifts to him was the Lamaze shape sorter (I LOVE it, LOVE), but trying to persuade him to play with it can be a bit painful (he will tolerate it, but mainly to appease me so I let him get back to his baby walker).  However 3 months on this most entertaining of walkers is still one of his favourite things (that he is allowed to have, obviously if the alternative is something that is generally prohibited then that takes priority).  It’s not that the music is driving me slightly potty, or that I worry about him skittling down the stairs, it’s genuinely a fantastic thing and I thoroughly recommend it to anyone (I think pretty much all the babies in my NCT group have one though so they are fairly prolific and not for those parents who like a more individual toy), I’m just slightly sad that my gift isn’t his favourite…