Monday, August 25, 2008

Finding things instead of buying them

People in my neighborhood are always leaving good stuff out on the curb. There is always furniture and clothing out there, sometimes it's even pretty good. The other day I saw a man push two bicycles up to a garbage can next to the bus stop and leave them there. I would have taken them but I was busy. I'm sure someone in our neighborhood found them and is putting them to good use.

Today I found another abandoned bicycle. It is a classic Schwinn Breeze ladies 3-speed. It was clearly abandoned as it had obviously not been ridden in a very long time and had been left leaning against a palm tree. There was a thick layer of grime all over the drive train that crumbled off easily. The bike had cobwebs and rust. The rear tire was flat and completely unfixable. I was not able to find a replacement tire at the bike shops I visited in town. That is probably why whoever it was abandoned it.

Also, the cable for the gear shifter had been cut and spliced back together in a lame fashion. The cable was too loose and 2nd gear did not work. I managed to fix that ok.

I put some duct tape in the tire so the tube wouldn't pop through and put a new tube in and pumped it up enough to see if the rest of the bike works. It does. It's not geared very well for my hilly neighborhood. But it sure is cute. Perhaps I can fix it up a little bit more.

I put some of my shoes on craigslist today. I don't know if people will buy used shoes, but I put the better ones on, such as shoes I had never worn or specialized shoes like my bike shoes. It's a drag that my feet are now two sizes bigger, but it's even a bigger drag that I have so many shoes that didn't even fit me before they grew that I just held on to and let clutter up my closet. And all those hiking boots I tried before my big hike that didn't fit. I wasted so much money! If anybody comes to try my craigslist shoes I'll offer them the hiking shoes that didn't work for free.

I joined the local free-cycle, too, and I found a local fruit and vegetable exchange, where people in the neighborhood get together and trade backyard produce, and sent a message to join that. I have a lot of avocados. I wish I had more vegetables but our yard has very little sun because of the avocados.

Not everything you need has to be bought in a store. By sharing unwanted things with others you can reduce consumption and help the environment. It's the reduce and reuse part of the recycling equation.

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