There are any number of scenarios where you could find yourself in possession of a perfectly fine item, albeit second hand. It may be that someone is clearing the house of a recently deceased relative, or breaking up with a partner with whom they have decided to give away their “stuff” to make the relationship separation quick.
Each week an automated Freecycle email digest is delivered to my inbox and usually lists appliances, furniture, garden tools and miscellaneous accessories.
There is an implicit code of conduct surrounding the Freecycle network which can be summarized as “please don’t sell this on, because I’m giving it away for free, and in good faith.” My counter argument to this is that you are doing the owner(s) of the unwanted items a favour by agreeing to take them, since these people may not have the time, knowledge or inclination to sell their old gear online or elsewhere. Are they generous, or lazy?
In each email digest there are a few details describing the items plus a short disclaimer. For example, the owner of a bed or washing machine might say something such as, “Please collect by Sunday otherwise I will be taking this to the tip.” For this reason I consider it totally reasonable to do as I see fit with any acquired goods, considering the alternative.
So, if you work out a system for collecting, storing and selling certain items you can quite easily make a part-time income. Scrap & junk merchants do this full time but you could do it on evenings and weekends for extra cash. If you know someone with a van, how about coming to an arrangement in order to compensate him or her for their time and fuel costs? A partnership could be agreed and the two of you can systematically collect, clean and sell goods.
Washing machines and refrigerators have been given away totally free of charge in my area and were in perfect working order. Furthermore, the council charges a fee to remove these items such so if somebody has less than 24 hours to get rid of an old appliance you can both benefit.