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Facebook is a fantastic resource for moms. We can share advice, offer support, like baby photos and, of course, complain. I belong to several very helpful mom groups that offer breastfeeding support, community news (and gossip), and a handful of yard sale groups named things like Everett Online Yard Sale & Melrose MA Yard Sale Group where we can pass on used items for a few bucks. Awesome and convenient. Then one day I discovered Everything is Free Medford and everything changed, especially my sanity level.

The (mostly) moms in this group give (mostly) household goods away, but the list of random booty doesn’t end there. Just this week I’ve seen frames, chairs, Simulac, Sonicare toothbrushes, maple wood gourmet smoking chips, zucchinis, a jug of milk,  a used hair brush, and sand.

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You better believe parents are interested in free sand!

In the past people have given away — for free — everything from half a purple cabbage to a functioning car, and that was the same day. I myself have given away toys, baby gear, and a huge jar of peanut butter to my fellow moms. But please, don’t call me a hero.

My favorite part of the group is that we moms never, ever meet face to face. We communicate via comment, trade addresses via messenger, and then leave the bounty out on our porches for each other to pick up, usually in the dead of night…or more accurately…the dead of late afternoon. It’s all very hush hush, like we are members of a secret society of other peoples used stuff.

The secret society group’s rules are super simple. Once an item is posted, the first person to comment with interest gets to pick it up from the previous owner’s porch at a mutually agreed time. If you weren’t first, but are still interested you can post “next” or “back up.” These are usually very optimistic posts, although I have seen it work out. As you can imagine, things can get preeeeeetty competitive.

Here is a short list of some items I’ve been blessed enough to pick up for free:

  • 10 envelopes
  • Stack of middle grade & YA books
  • One dozen toddler clothing hangers
  • A double stroller
  • A bag for the cat to play in

As you can see, these are all treasures and I am grateful every day that I was able to snag them. But sadly, I am not satisfied. Not NEARLY. Because here are all the things that I WAS NOT FAST ENOUGH TO GET:

  • 6 pairs of size 7 toddler shoes
  • A cat tree
  • Some pre-made 9 Miles East meals
  • A bunch of 5-year-old boys pants

As you can these are even BETTER treasures and I missed being the first commenter by mere minutes. I realized that I needed to step up my game and started visiting the group more often, multiple times a day.

And. It. Kept. Happening.

A small bag of women’s clothes size small? Missed it by five minutes. A kid’s sized Mini-Boden jacket? Four minutes! I didn’t even both to post “next” because there were already two “nexts” ahead of me. Can I just add that I’ve been searching second hand stores high and low looking for Mini-Boden stuff??? This was suddenly becoming personal.

The final straw was when I missed a second cat tree by ONE MINUTE. 60 seconds. What was I doing in that 60 seconds that couldn’t have waited 60 more seconds? Playing with my baby? Please. From that moment of failure on I became a broken person. I now refresh the group page every 30 min at least, and often just leave it open on my desktop refreshing it every minute or so. The second I let my guard down, I miss a velour bed-spread-type-thing by SECONDS. Honestly, I can’t even tell if I really want or need a velour bed-spread-type-thing, but it doesn’t matter. What matters is that I CAN’T HAVE IT.

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Picture: Not mine and it never will be

Maybe it’s something about this time of year. The weather is changing. Money is tight. My birthday is coming up. The kids are having growth spurts. Christmas is coming. Our country’s leaders are a nightmare flock of evil idiots most of which don’t really consider me a person. Typical stuff. So, I have a lot of stress. If I had extra cash, perhaps I would be out there trying to shop my way to feeling secure again. But I don’t! So instead, I’ve turned my attention toward getting free stuff that I could definitely, sort of, kind of use.

Like these!
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So until the stress of stalking Everything is Free outweighs the stress of living through America, 2017, you’ll find me happily refreshing Facebook every minute or into the new year…and maybe beyond.