Quick Start
PKF Guidelines
Subject Lines  
Combining Posts
Gifts Not Allowed
Choose the Giftee
Arrange the Pick-Up 
Pet/Animal Adoption
Need is not a Topic
Handling All The Mail
To Show Or NoShow,
That Is The Question

Portage-Kalamazoo Freecycle Help
How do mailing lists work?
Why does PF use Yahoo Groups?
Who runs PKF?
Why don't we allow coupons?
What do I do if someone is abusive or rude in email or in person?
What do I do if more then one person wants what I have offered?
What is the PKF disclaimer?
Can I just set the item out and say who ever gets here first gets it?
What is the etiquette for pickups?
When making multiple offers should I put them together or list each one?
How do I arrange pickup?
Why do I see praise listings?
Post for prescription medication?
Can I get stuff from PKF to sell?
Can we freecycle gift software?
Can I work out a trade on the board?

Guidelines for the Portage-Kalamazoo Freecycle Gifting Group

Keep It Free, Legal, Appropriate For All Ages. Be nice no matter what.

The goal of Portage-Kalamazoo Freecycle is to reduce waste by connecting individuals to gift usable items in order to keep usable items out of landfills. Whether you're looking to discard or acquire an item, PKF is the place to do it. Freecycle gift furniture, clothing, computers, and everything in between. No money or trading, politics or religion - just acts of kindness.

This is a great goal but not all efforts to keep stuff out of the landfill are within the scope of Freecycle gifting. While we have other goals that must be honored, the most important goal is that group members feel good about freecycle gifting. Listed below are guidelines to help members find the people they need to contact as well as have the best possible gifting experience.

The group is growing steadily but we do have people unsubscribing. The reason they give most of the time is that they are overwhelmed with all the email PKF generates. The goal of keeping all off Topic emails from going to the list by moderation is complemented by posts that have subject lines in a standardized format. Having every post include a descriptive keyword as well as a short description of the item(s) allows members to scan through them quickly to find the posts they want to open to read while deleting the rest. Your post may be edited for spelling and form. The content of a post may be edited only for inappropriate language, security (no addresses allowed in posts to the public list) or for removing inappropriate items.

Many members may not be aware that using all capital letters in email is considered yelling. Yelling at members is not cool on PKF.

There are two ways you can post.

  1. From the web site using the post link on the left side of the Yahoo Groups PKF home page in the white box on the right side. You will notice when you use that link that it will have the list address already set into TO: field. I usually do my posts from that link.
  2. From your email client but you have to have your TO field set to the list's address.

There are only 5 Topics allowed for posts from members to the public list. Your Subject Line must start with one of these keywords to identify the Topic of your post.

  • offer: to gift an item(s) All offers must contain an approximate location or nearby intersection where the pick up will be made. (more on approximate location)
  • pending (or PPU): to let members know something you have offered is waiting to be picked up for which a pick up plan has been agreed to by both the gifter and the giftee. Be sure to save all responses you get to your offers so you have an alternative receiver in case you first choice doesn't work out.
  • taken: to notify members that a gift you have offered has been picked up. You can use this Topic to publicly thank your receiver for a quick pick up or anything else you might want to say about them.
  • want: something that would be nice to be gifted to you. Please keep your requests reasonable.
  • praise (or thank you): to let the group know who gifted to you. You must mention the gifter's name in the subject line of the praise post. The praise is not for the gifter to thank the receiver for a fast pickup or anything else. It is for the receiver to thank the gifter for the gift. You would do that in the taken if so inclined.

    Some members tell me, "there is already too much mail" and others are asking the praise Topic be dropped. If we allow praising on the list for a quick pick or other up, or any other reason the giftee may have to be thankful, the members would get two or more praises for one freecycle gifting transaction.

Your Subject Line must also contain a reference to what the gifts are. (more about short descriptions in subject lines)


  • All offers must include your approximate location or a nearby intersection as a courtesy to responders so they know how far the pickup will be before responding.
  • When making multiple offers or wants please combine them into one post to cut down on the volume of email members receive.
  • You can list your phone number but remember that it is going out to the entire list. · Do not list your address. This is more appropriate for the private mail you will use to arrange for the pick up.
  • No politics. No spam. No foul language. No money. No trading. No wanted's for borrowing. No public service announcements. No garage sale announcements.
  • If you have a message that you think should be sent to the entire group you can send it to:Portage-KalamazooFreecycle-owner@yahoogroups.com. The list owner will decide if it is appropriate to send as an administrative notice to everyone.

Please do not add anything to posts to the pubic list that do not pertain to the freecycle gifting the post is about either in the subject line, the body of the post or in the signature. Many of us have business web site URL's, political URL's, personal web sites or inspirational quotes and messages that we use on much of our emails. None of it is acceptable for posts that go to the PKF public list. PKF is about the gifting and nothing else.

I would ask you to ponder that if you might offend even one member with your non Freecycle gifting content that you are going beyond the spirit of freecycling and more into what makes you feel good. Just participating in a freecycle gifting community says volumes more then any religious, spiritual, philosophical or political statement or reference could. That alone should be enough. Please restrict your signatures on the public list to your name and maybe a one line salutation and a reference to your membership in PKF.

We limit posts for the same items because PKF generates a lot of email.

Some people only get a daily digest or only read the posts occasionally on the web site. Use the "messages" link in the yellow box on the left side of the PKF Home Page to view all the messages. This listing is searchable. Your post will be seen by more members as time goes on.

Many members seeing the same post over and over in their email may consider it spam. Please use discretion when reposting.

OFFER - If you are not successful in getting any replies to your offer or the replies you get do not pan out you may resubmit your offer your item three days after the original offer was made. Please wait three or four weeks to resubmit your offer an item if the second offer is not successful.

WANTED - Please wait at least three weeks before asking for the same items again, especially if it is an ongoing want like from people who recycle things. Messages stay in the message data base searchable and readable by all members.

Responses to posts on the list will only go to the poster, not the entire list. The list is set up this way to keep down the number of emails members receive.

There are two ways to reply.

  1. From the message on the web site click "reply". The reply page allows options in a pull down for the TO: field but you would normally use the default which would be the original poster.
  2. Replying from your email client is easy because the From: field in all individual emails to members should contain the poster's email so just hitting reply will put that into the TO: field.

Members that receive the daily digest should be careful to reply only to the poster, not to the digest email and also not to quote the entire digest in their email but only the post being replied to.

You might offer a number of items such as a rack of clothes without describing them all in detail. You might have people responding in email that need more information before making a run to pick up some or all of them. What is not allowed or considerate is a free for all by inviting a lot of people to come to your home only to discover that they made a dry run because everything was taken by the first to arrive.

It is best to deal with only one person at a time using the pending, taken and if need be, the offer again. If a number of people respond to an offer, choose one to arrange a pick up. If there are more items left, then email another of the responders with that information. If you run out of responders, you can offer the gift again.

Contact/Pick Up
PICKING YOUR TAKER / RECIPIENT / GIFTEE. Pick whomever you like and/or feel comfortable with when giving your item away and have fun with it! We recommend that you gather posts for a few hours or a day so that you have a nice selection of people to choose from. Waiting a bit also discourages those vulture types who lurk around their computers and pounce on a post immediately trying to get an item. We also urge that you consider giving a starving local nonprofit preference, but, hey, it's your stuff, you decide!

Arrange pickup with one person only, rather than "it's on the porch or out by the curb, whoever gets here first gets it." This is sure to irritate the people who make a dry run and that is not what freecycle gifting is about.

Curb alerts to an area or an address where stuff is set out for free are not allowed.The goal here is to not have people waste gas, time and effort trying to get items. The general rule is that you can only use the freecycle list to hook up with specific people for specific items.


  • Money or Currency of any kind - even collectable coins or bills
  • People
  • Borrowing or Trading
  • Contests
  • Land or the use of land for a garden or what ever
  • Drop off donations to a fund raiser or other event
  • Announcements for Events
  • Any Coupons, Vouchers, Gift Cards, Points, Passes, Box Tops, Labels, Rewards, Tokens, Codes or any other types of non tangible items. - They might be pieces of paper cardboard, plastic or bottle caps, but they are a form of money generally promoting a commercial interest no matter how fantastic the offer. The small pieces of paper could be recycled. They can't be freecycle gifted.
  • No Listings for Garage Sales or any other vendor selling
  • Information, Referrals, Services, Recipes or Invitations - Not tangible items.
  • Alcohol, Tobacco, or Prescription-Only Drugs & Medications of any kind are likewise strictly prohibited. Over the counter (no prescription needed) medicine is freecyclable but taken at your own risk.
  • Firearms or other weapons of any kind are strictly PROHIBITED
  • Food by offers only - No wants for food
  • No open food - PKF takes no responsibility for illness, etc. related to food items obtained through PKF.
  • Tickets to events and sports - Allowed as offers but not as wanted's. Do not offer tickets that would otherwise be free.
  • Animals are only gifted as offers and not for breeding or studding - Submitting an offer for an animal stating that it comes with registration papers will be viewed as intent to have this animal offered for breeding purposes and therefore that offer will be edited or rejected.

To unsubscribe, send an email to the unsubscribe address. Portage-KalamazooFreecycle-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com

This address, as well as other links to other important list addresses are right on the footer of every list email you will ever be sent by the list. It is also on the bottom of our yahoo groups PKF home page under Group Email Addresses

Related Link http://www.pkfhelp.org
Post message   Portage-KalamazooFreecycle@yahoogroups.com
Subscribe Portage-KalamazooFreecycle-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
Unsubscribe Portage-KalamazooFreecycle-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
List owner Portage-KalamazooFreecycle-owner@yahoogroups.com

You also can use the "Leave Group" button on the Edit Membership page on the yahoo groups PKF web site


Please take reasonable measures to protect your safety and privacy when posting to the list or participating in an exchange. By joining the list, you agree to hold neither the list owners and moderators nor anyone affiliated with The Freecycle Network responsible or liable for any circumstance resulting from a Freecycle related exchange or communication.

Be aware! It is up to each individual member of Freecycle when arranging for pickup of the item being given away to be appropriately aware of the potential risk of having "a stranger" come to your home to pick something up. Freecycle, as a gift listing service, assumes no responsibility for this risk. If you, for example, are a single woman living alone, you may want to say that you'll leave the item on the front porch while you are not home or arrange for a drop-off downtown, etc.

"Be nice." We are all volunteers and we've got a great little community here so when you arrange to pick up an item from another freecycle gifter it is basic good manners to accommodate them as much as possible in terms of scheduling, and then be punctual. They are, after all, giving you something you need and asking nothing in return except that you will show up when you say you will. (Leaving someone hanging is never a nice thing.) Also, unless the giver tells you otherwise, assume that they would like you to come by as soon as you can to take away the item; no more than three days after the offer is made is usual. (Think of it as The Three-Day Rule.)

CREATE A SEPARATE EMAIL FOLDER & AUTOMATICALLY HAVE ALL YOURFREECYCLE EMAIL GO TO IT. Create a separate folder in your email software. Have freecycle stuff sent to it automatically with a new rule under tools/message rules/mail/.
SET TO "DAILY DIGEST" OR "SPECIAL NOTICES" (which means you'll just browse the messages online). You can set your personal preferences on the PKF home page (under "Edit Membership" in the top right corner).

This guideline is an evolving document. Please contact the list owner:
with your comments and any revisions you would like to suggest.

facilitator, PKF

Gift: Something that is bestowed voluntarily and without compensation. A valid gift requires: (1) a competent donor; (2) an eligible donee; (3) an existing identifiable thing or interest; (4) an intention to donate; (5) delivery; i.e., a transfer of possession to or for the donee and a relinquishment.