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Everything from a printer to a pail of dirt

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I am not a pack rat in the orthodox sense of the term. I don't have towers of accumulated newspapers forming skylines in my garage; I have not kept every greeting card I ever received; and I don't have a horde of cardboard boxes "just in case."

However, like everyone else, I am susceptible to a certain level of "creep." Some things really are too good to throw away, yet there doesn't seem to be a ready depository for them, either.

For example, in the endless treadmill of computer upgrades, one of my printers finally couldn't keep pace. Workhorse though it was, I eventually got a computer to which it could not be connected. What could I do? Nobody else wanted it, and I couldn't bring myself to toss it out (my gosh - it's a working piece of machinery!). I put the thing on eBay, but it didn't receive a single bid, even though I was asking only $1. And so I squirreled it away in the garage, where I tripped over it from time to time for two or three years.

Then, about a month ago, I saw an article in my local paper about a Yahoo! group called "Freecycle." As I read the piece, I realized that this, at last, was "it." Freecycle is a community of people who want to mentor usable but unneeded stuff along to a location other than their own attics. I logged on to my local Freecycle group here in Maine and found upwards of 1,000 concerned citizens who were busy posting what they had to offer or something they were looking for. I had, at long last, stumbled upon Valhalla for the waste not/want notters of the world. I immediately joined the glorious fray.

There was only one mandatory rule for members: Everything had to be cost-free. In addition, there were two guidelines: After joining the group, one's first post should be an offer. Second, the recipient of an item is supposed to do the traveling.

No problem! I posted my printer and within a couple of hours had a reply. The fellow seemed elated at the prospect of acquiring my printer. But as I gave him directions to my home, he interrupted me. "I'm sorry," he said. "I don't have a car."

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