As we celebrate the first week of spring, many of us are taking time to renew our resolutions, relationships, appearance, routines and spirits. The idea of recycling (as in reusing) goods is the original cultural practice and dominate norm until roughly the last century when societal affluence spiked, causing people to become perpetual seekers of the new and untarnished. Cultural patterns aside, recycling clothing or household possessions is a) less environmentally taxing and b) hip in current economic times.

There a some terrific resources to help turn another's trash into your treasure, or to stock someone else's treasure chest with your detritus (particularly relevant for objects you may have uncovered during spring cleaning).

1. Clothing/Book/ Lawn Care Swap
How it works:
Serve brunch, tea, wine or pizza and ask your friends to bring their unwanted clothing or books (or whatever the theme of your swap is). Anyone may take what she likes from the assortment of items. No money is exchanged. Donate whatever goes unclaimed to your local thrift shop, Goodwill or Salvation Army.

Pros: Much easier than organizing, pricing and staffing a yard sale; perfect opportunity to socialize with friends; direct recycling of goods.
Cons: If you're looking for something in particular, there's no guarantee you'll find that perfect sweater, cupcake pan or gardening implement at a swap.

How it works:
Established to divert reusable goods from landfills, Freecycle provides an online global registry and coordinates local groups and forums through which people can offer and get free items. Everything except the exchange of items is done online. Today, Freecycle has more than 6.5 million members and 4,700 groups.

Pros: Free, organized, easy and local.
Cons: Again, not a place to search for specific models or designs. You must join a local outlet through which you give to and receive from. While this increases convenience, it limits selection.

3. I Don't Need It, You Can Have It
How it works:
List items you no longer need or search for ones you do.

Pros: No membership fee, no purchase cost. Not limited to your local community. You can also post your needs for others to fill.
Cons: The community here is still small, which means that true gems are rare.

4. Craig's List
How it works:
Within the Craig's List marketplace, there's a section for free items. Right now, a search for free stuff in Los Angeles turns up desks, filing cabinets, Easter decorations, railroad ties and a plethora of other reusable items.

Pros: Craig's List is a go-to place for unwanted items, which means the selection is fairly large. Quality, as in most things free, is to-be-determined. Items are local.
Cons: There are some pranksters on these boards. Try to call before you go to collect your new finds.

5. Flea Markets
Both the Flea Market Guide and the National Flea Market Association have nationwide, online listings of local flea markets. Check online for area flea markets before heading out to hunt some bargains this weekend.

6. Thrift Stores
Whether you are donating unwanted items or shopping for new treasures, Goodwill and the Salvation Army are both terrific resources. Most communities have at least one of these socially beneficial thriftstores (Goodwill places someone in a job every 53 seconds of every business day). Check these sites for your nearest Goodwill and Salvation Army stores.

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