My very good friend Jessica (a.k.a. "the yoga master") started a neat blog entitled Responsible Frugality. The concept of this blog is to document Jessica’s attempts at living a frugal yet sustainable and responsible lifestyle. She uses a bike as her only form of transportation and buys products from local farms. She also makes her own meals and lives green.

When she first told me about her blog, the first thought that came to my mind was Freecycle. "Do you use Freecycle?" I asked her. "I should," she answered

The Freecycle slogan is simple: "Changing the world one gift at a time." It is a concept that revolves around what I like to call the ‘American art of giving.’ Freecycle is a place where people simply give stuff away for free. Most of them are trying to "de-clutter" their lives by putting stuff they accumulated over the years to good use.

When I first heard the idea, I thought "Really, who wants to give stuff away for free?" Well, it turns out that the are many of those givers out there. All you have to do is go to the site, find a local group where you live, and then join their listserve and enjoy.

So far we’ve accumulated a very nice ping-pong table, a wheelbarrow, and a nearly new bike pump — and yes, all for free. This is how it works: You see the item listed, then you send the owner an email to see if they will give you the green light to go pick it up. Many owners leave their giveaways in their front or backyards so you just stop by and grab it; no muss, no fuss, easy and simple.

I’m not really sure if this idea exists in other parts of the world, but it somehow struck me as very American. Giving to charity and donating is something that is very deep-rooted here. Charity work and giving donations are things that many of my friends here are involved in — whether donating to political campaigns, religious institutions or animal shelters. When I hear about this art of giving I get this warm feeling, a feeling that reassures me that there is still hope in this nasty, nasty world we are living in.

Now, enough of the chatter, go check out Freecyle.