One Man's Trash is Another Man's Treasure

One Man's Trash is Another Man's Treasure

No this guy carrying the television set down the stairs of the Stratton Center at MIT is not a thief or a moving man; he is participating in MIT's first FreeMeet. It's like a flea market, but it's free.

"And can you keep an eye out for a microwave?" he asks Kathreen Thome and Eva Cheung, the two students taking check-ins. "And if you see one, can you just sort of hold onto it for me? I'll be back..."

Free TV? Free Microwave? Wait a sec...!

This morning I braved the snow and checked out the FreeMeet at MIT. Although it was still early and people were still bringing in their “stuff”, already clothing, kids’ toys, electronic, books, and kitchen items were accumulating on tables around the edge of LaSala Room on the second floor.


Freecycling, as it is sometimes called, is shopping with good conscience; it’s good for the earth and good for your wallet. By freecycling, you reuse quality goods, reduce waste, and reduce consumption - – a win-win-win for everyone. Bring stuff you don’t need, take stuff you do. A giant swapfest.

The FreeMeet is the brainchild of Kathreen Thome, an MIT junior studying nuclear science and engineering. She’s part of SfGS, Students for Global Sustainability, a student organization committed to sustainable local and global development and conservation projects.
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(SfGS is a member organization of the World Student Community for Sustainable Development (WSC-SD), an international partnership for sustainable development in research, education, and day-to-day collaborations among tomorrow's scientists, engineers and policy-makers.)

Stuff Creep

Everyone knows about Stuff Creep: "Stuff" accumulates, and you don't want to throw it out because it's still good, but you don't have room for it and you don't use it.

But you want your "stuff" to find a good home...

“I just found some sweet new shoes,” crowed one woman showing off her new red sneakers (personally, I feel that if you’re wearing red shoes then nothing really bad can happen to you.)

FreeMeet 004.jpgI looked at the technology table: laser printer…answering machine…video games…

“Just look through all the stuff you don't use,” says Kathreen. “Bring your cluttering clothes, books, furniture – your stuff and save someone else from having to buy that same thing new. And you can find stuff you need, too. It’s like spring cleaning…”

“Are you kidding?” I ask looking out the wall of windows to where the trees, roofs, and MIT campus is shrouded in white. “It’s not spring yet!”
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“No, Kathreen says thoughtfully. We’ll do another one in the spring.”

Leftover items will be donated to Cambridge Shelter and Margaret Fuller Neighborhood House.