Saturday, January 1, 2011

Free Time, Day One: 1/1/11

It seems so appropriate, to start this project on 1/1/11.

The purpose: to see if it’s possible to find enough free items advertised on the Free category of Denver’s craigslist to furnish a house. I’m giving myself a deadline. I’m doing this in my free time, and I intend to complete my mission in 30 days. Maybe less.

Then, after spending my free time finding stuff for free, I’m going to give it all away. I have so much, and there are so many people who don’t have anything. I have a few good leads on organizations that know of people who need exactly what I intend to find during my Free Time.

So what better day to start than today?

Today was the morning after Denver’s first measurable snowstorm. It’s odd for Colorado to be so dry so late in the season, but it was ripe for staying inside, ideal for hatching a plan.

So early this morning, I threw together a bit of an inventory list. I looked around the main floor of my house, and figured I’ll try to find items I’d need if something crappy happened and I lost it all and needed to start from scratch.

After making my inventory list, I started trolling the other list. The craigslist.

The day started with some promise. There was a listing for a free washer and dryer, and another listing for a free refrigerator. No phone numbers, so I emailed these folks. No quick response, so I let those items simmer on the back burner while I kept cooking.

Refresh, refresh, refresh.

That seems to be the key to the capture. Strike quickly, like a puma snares a deer. Like a snake swallows a mouse. Like how quickly a ding-dong like me can refresh the craigslist free category.

Among the offerings this morning were a whole bunch of cardboard boxes, a car without an engine, broken furniture, hobbled appliances, a collection of random used toys. Then, there was this offering:

Free unassembled snowman.
Can be picked up on the driveway and sidewalk – bring shovel and containers. No delivery.

So seasonal, so wry, so timely.

Then, a bit later, there was this:

Free rooster. Four months old. Very friendly and handsome. Can’t have roosters where we live, or chickens. Someone gave him to me not knowing this.

This made me and those around me laugh, as they say, out loud.

Eventually, I reeled it in and got back to my inventory list.

Then there was a couch. Poof. Free. Clean. Pick it up today.

So Mr. Fabulous and I did just that.

We headed downtown in his truck and picked up a couch. Very nice, very clean, as advertised. This couch will make someone very comfy.

We procured the couch from Zay Rios, a man in his late 20s. He was so gracious. When I mentioned what I was doing, it seemed so obvious to him, the passing stuff along to people who don’t have anything. He and his woman were moving from downtown Denver to the mountains, and they no longer needed their couch. So they were giving it away.


So we brought the couch home, after a ride of 18 miles, round trip. I had to relinquish my garage to the couch, but I intend to procure a storage area on Monday. My car will be fine outside in the meantime. 

Bottom line, the couch cost me the use of my garage, temporarily; and in terms of dollars and cents, it cost us somewhere around $3 in gas. Score.

On the way home, I did a bit more trolling. I responded almost immediately to two free leather chairs that look totally cool.

Skip called me after we got home. I’ve got the dibs on the chairs. We’re picking them up tomorrow.

I can see that this is going to be an interesting experiment.

I just checked the free listings again.

There’s a goat someone’s giving away. A goat by the name of Bill. Go figure.

Here’s exactly what Bill’s owner posted:

Bill. very gentle and loving, reason we re giving him away is because we no longer have his horse out here with him so he has become very lonley.

It would be just a touch funny if it weren’t just a bit tragic and sad. Poor Bill.

I’m not getting anyone’s goat tonight.

I do have a better understanding of this process after Day One. Actually, day 1/1/11.

I think this Free Time trip’s going to be quite a ride.

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