Sharing is great, but it is not always easy

Yes, I love Freecycle (and in France), Craig's list,, donating to charity, etc. But it can be a hassle for small recurrent items. One can spend a lot time  registering the good, sorting the requests, replying and finally meeting up with the person.

The Curbside FreeBox Solution

Curbside FreeBoxes are generally a grand solution. But in rainy Paris, it is not the most convenient. It actually turned out to be a counterproductive solution when the garbage men threw the whole box into their dump truck before anyone could look through it.

The local laudrette experiment

After the dump truck episode, I started an experiment at my local laundrette.

 Recyclng is good. Reusing and sharing are better.

I started dropping my magazines off.  Since I often drop off green magazines, it is a discrete way to open people's minds to new subjects…yes, I am devious…

Then, I started to drop off books I no longer wanted and hadn't a clue who might want them.

A few months later,  I realised someone else had started leaving books as well. I was no longer alone: I had anonymous "shareable" friends.

I pushed the experiment one step further and started dropping off my FreeBox at the laudrette (photo below). It was emptied in a few hours.


  • My freebox, no longer gets drenched or dumped by the garbage people;
  • People can search through it taking their time in the laudrette, instead of getting that scavenger guilty feeling in the middle of the street;
  • Laundrettes are usually very boring and solitary places even though we all share the same machines… maybe freeboxes might help spice them up and start connecting people;
  • Anyone can start a "shareable laundrette" : there are laundrettes all over the world, they are usally open 7/7, it takes zero investment, and it simplifies donating stuff in rainy, snowy, windy, trashed cities!

Who's up for turning their Laundrette into a Shareable one?

P.s. My next step is to go talk to the owner and see if he would agree to an official freebox in his laundrette and that I put a poster explaining what a freebox is.

Photos: Shabnam, Paris 2011



Shabnam | |

I am Franco-American collective intelligence, sustainability & incremental innovation enthusiast. I have a J.D. on how French 20th century regulation was built to secure main stream industrial models; it also

Things I share: Information, upcycling tips, knowledge, tools, house, books, meals, clothing, sports equipment, bikes, etc...