Did Someone Say ‘Free’?

The leaves are changing, stores are putting holiday cards on the shelves, and everyone is trying to get into the giving spirit. Many choose this time of year to give time, money, or goods to those in need, but you don’t have to be “in need” to tap into some great resources. There are plenty of opportunities to be good to the planet, help your community, and get free stuff in Corvallis – and not even just during the holiday season.

Whether you need to furnish your apartment or are cleaning out the house before friends and family come over, Craigslist’s “Free Stuff” section is a must. The items listed are continuously updated and range from furniture to tchotchkes and everything in between.

If you see something you want, make sure to contact the person quickly and go pick it up. Free stuff usually doesn’t last very long. To access the items, go to corvallis.craigslist.org, and under the “For Sale” section, click on “free.” The items listed are from the Corvallis and surrounding area.

Similar to Craigslist, Freecycle is a website that makes it easy to get free items. While there are not as many posts on the website as on Craigslist, the competition for posted items is also lower. If you are searching for something in particular, like a queen size bed, you can also post on the site so people will contact you if they
have what they need. Go to freecycle.org and enter in Corvallis, or your town, to see available items.

Corvallis Families Gift Economy
With well over 5,000 members, the Corvallis Families Gift Economy is continually growing and sharing goods in the community. The group is connected through a Facebook page, and requires you to join before being able to view posts or respond to them.

Posts on this page can have anything from one item to dozens, and typically asks those who are interested to message the person, comment on the post, or go pick up the item on a curb or at the person’s house. If you are looking for a specific item, you can also post a request, typically using ISO (or “In Search Of”) to denote that you are looking for something, not offering.

Go to their page by logging into facebook.com and searching Corvallis Families Gift Economy. There are similar groups for Albany and Philomath as well.

ReUseIt is a large organization with groups around the country, including a Albany-Corvallis group. The group is private, so you have to join before you can give or get free things. Similar to the above options, all sorts of free items are posted here.

Because the group is hosted through Yahoo, you will need a Yahoo account to join; however, it’s easy to make a new account. Go to groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/albanycorvallisReUseIt/info, then click the “Join Group” option.

Clothing Swap
Originally started by the Corvallis Families Gift Economy group with a small set of about 20 people, the clothing swap has grown to include hundreds of people and even more items. Clothing swaps are made possible by people dropping off clean, slightly-used clothing they no longer use. Once everything is out, anyone can pick up items they like.

Most of the clothing at these events are women’s clothing and baby clothes, but other decorative items, accessories, and clothing for kids and men are often present as well.

You may have missed the last swap this passed August, but you can check their website regularly for information about the next. Just visit http://corvallisfamilyclothingswap.wordpress.com.

Willamette Valley
Gift Economy

The Willamette Valley Gift Economy is another Facebook page that functions similarly to the Corvallis page, but services the entire Willamette Valley. You can still find people posting free stuff in Corvallis here, but you may have to travel to other towns for some items. People also post updates and reminders about clothing swaps and other events where free things will be present.

Find out more by searching them up on Facebook.

Little Free Libraries
If you have seen large birdhouse-ish structures packed with books, you have seen one of many Little Free Libraries. Originally started to increase book access, Little Free Libraries are now set up all over the world and help people share millions of books each year. While the idea is that someone would leave a book and take a book, it is always encouraged to take one even if you don’t have something to swap.

There are multiple libraries scattered throughout Corvallis, including two near downtown. Find one near you at littlefreelibrary.org.

Book lovers can engage in sharing their favorite books with others through the Book Crossing website. Participants print and paste a label into a book, then give it away or place it in a communal area for someone to take. The website allows readers to track who has read the book before, leave comments, or make a BookCrossing Zone in their community that houses lots of books for anyone to take.

There is not currently a BookCrossing Zone in Corvallis, but books have been found here. Find out more at bookcrossing.com.

Birthday Freebies
While not everyone’s birthday lands on the holidays, you can still keep these freebie options in mind for when your birthday rolls around. For many of them, you do have to sign up for their email club, which you can find on their website. The following places offer free items from dessert to burritos on your birthday: Applebees, Arby’s, Baskin Robbins, Baja Fresh, Buffalo Wild Wings, Dutch Bros, Cold Stone Creamery, Panera, Qdoba, Shari’s, and Subway.

If you prefer local establishments, Block 15 gives a free dessert with a meal purchase, Clodfelter’s gives a free pint glass with drink purchase, Roxy Dawgs gives a free $5 hot dog with Fivestars account, Pastini Pastaria gives a free entre with email sign-up, My Campus Closet gives a free gift with a Fivestars account, and Mod Pod gives $10 off a purchase with email list sign-up.

If you know of anything we may have missed, let us know!

By Kristen Edge