Online Exchange Options
The Freecycle Network is a nonprofit organization whose mission includes keeping good stuff out of landfills and helping to strengthen local charitable and recycling communities. Freecycle Chicago is a local way to acquire items you'd like to have or pass off items you no longer need; all for free.
The Chicago group is run by a local volunteer moderator and membership is free. After joining the network, you simply email the group to ask for what you need. For example you may want a used toaster oven; and quite often, someone in the group will reply, saying they no longer need theirs and you arrange a pick-up time. Similarly, if you have an armchair that you no longer want, you post it on the site, and someone just might write back, letting you know they'd be happy to pick it up. To get started, click here to find the Chicago group, or click here to go directly to the Chicago Freecycle site.
Because a large number of people are part of this list, we wouldn't recommend receiving emails from the group unless you like a very full inbox. We'd recommend choosing not to receive emails from Freecycle and checking the website when you have the time.
Craig's List is a website that has a local Chicago group that allows visitors to buy, sell, or barter all types of items. There is also a free section similar to Freecycle where you can give away or pick up free goods. To get started, click here and look for the “for sale” section; look for the “free” section under that.
eBay and Edrop-off
The national (and international) on-line auction site, eBay, provides an easy way to find and purchase used items that you can't find locally. You can find most anything from plastic pitchers to cars, and all you have to do is click here , and type in what you're looking for and browse the items for sale. To bid, you must first register. You can also sell items you no longer need.
If you have pricier items that you don't have the time to sell on eBay, there is a local business that will do so for you called Edrop-off Express. They will sell your item for you and take a cut. Click here for more information.