When we bought Muntanui in 2009, we also bought the furniture and major chattels. It was great to have a functioning house to walk into when we were able to visit but we always knew there'd be complications when we moved here permanently.
And sure enough, there were.
Before we left Australia, we sold those possessions we could bear to part with (read: hardly any) and shipped the rest, including our vehicle, over to New Zealand in a 40ft container.
(Just for the record, Farmer Wan has been heard to declare on more than one occasion that we are, "Never. Doing. That. Again. EVER".)
So, when our stuff finally arrived, we had a house full of furniture that we didn't like and a container full of furniture that we did. The logical next step would've been to sell the stuff we didn't want to keep... assuming that someone - anyone - wanted to buy it. Which they didn't.
"Sorry," said the Nelson auction house owner after Farmer Wan showed him pics of our funky furniture, full of retro charm. He pointed to a modern-looking couch in great condition. "I couldn't sell that for $2 last week."
"Even kids moving out of home don't want second-hand these days," he continued. "They just go to [a massive retailer, whose evil empire spans entire continents] and buy something new on a four-year, interest-free deal."
It was the same story everywhere: our stuff was too old, too used, too pre-loved. Yet it was still in reasonably good nick and we couldn't bear the thought of land-fill or bonfires. I was about to start ringing the local charities when Farmer Wan came up with another option: Freecycle.
The name pretty much sums it up -- recycling stuff for free. It's brilliant. If there's a branch near you, consider using it.
Within 12 hours of offering our furniture, I had half a dozen responses. It seems not everyone in Nelson has the means, or prefers, to buy new. The furniture went to the first person who contacted me. To top it off, our removal company made a second trip to Muntanui with stuff of ours that had been held back for MAF (Ministry of Ag & Fish) inspection. On their way back into town, they delivered our furniture to the Freecycle recipient... for free.
Permaculture has a threefold ethic: care of the Earth, care of people and sharing your surplus. It wasn't until a few days later that I realised the Freecycle solution had ticked all three boxes. Then I felt very virtuous and had to have a nourishing bottle or two of cider to celebrate. Viva Freecycle!
Posted by Farmer Nik
About Ewan and Niki
Scottish mechanical engineer with a deep and abiding passion for good food. Outstanding cook. Builder of lots of stuff. Cattle whisperer. Connoisseur of beer. A lover rather than a fighter.
Kiwi writer and broadcaster who hates cabbage, even though she knows it's good for her. Chook wrangler. Grower of food and flowers. Maker of fine preserves. Lover of dancing and wine. Definitely a fighter.