Five Things

I think we’ve all had those moments where we lose hope in people. Maybe it’s a click of the news, someone cut you off on the road or poor customer service. What if I had a solution, nay a suggestion, for gaining that hope right back in one swoop. Craigslist.

I know I’ve talked again and again about my experiences with people I’ve met through Craigslist. I could write a book and title it, Strangers Aren’t So Strange : A Craigslist Story. I could fill the pages of the walks of life I’ve met but it would mean nothing if others didn’t experience it too. So here is my suggestion. Pick out five things in your home, things you just no longer use or need, things you could let go of. Log onto Craigslist and post them in the free section for someone who could use them.

Here’s the catch. Arrange to meet and give them the item, once you are contacted by someone. Don’t stick it in front of your door and tell them it will be waiting outside. That misses out on the experience. This is coming from an introvert who has such trouble starting conversation but I’ve found that people don’t care how you reach but that you do reach.

What you will find, what I have come to find, is that people will surprise you. When you give freely you get all the good in that person. They are so happy you didn’t just dump it off at a thrift store and instead allowed someone to have it for free and connected with them.

Every interaction I have, when I post something for free, goes differently each time with one exception. I’m greeted with open and honest kindness. I had a man give me $60 for free clothes for the “good deed” of helping his friend who had no clothes. I’ve had people offer me a place to stay with my RV, say they’re willing to help me move my stuff into the RV, give me a bottle of wine, passed on my blog link, and promoted my business ventures all because I put something up for free, making it easier on their lives to get what they are looking for. It’s a grand thing, giving.

Yesterday I posted some wheat flour for free because I’m going a month without flour and didn’t want the temptation around. When the woman (Laura) showed up she brought me some fresh chopped rosemary from her rosemary bush as a way of saying thank you. And now I have them in bundles hanging up to dry. Never do I expect anything in return and every time people surprise me. I’ve had conversations that went on for five hours, cried with strangers, hugged them and arranged to meet again. People can not only be kind, but they are kind if we give them the opportunity.

So: five things. Grab, post, experience and be surprised by humanity.



13 thoughts on “Five Things

  1. heather says:

    Wow! What a great story. I’m always skeptical about Craigslist and can’t help but wonder what kind of crazy person I’m going to open my door to, but. This definitely gives me a new perspective, and some hope.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Aubrey says:

      One of the things I do, sometimes, is meet them in front of my apartment building, so that both of us feel comfortable. There have been times I’ve been nervous but I’ve found you’re really not going to get that with free stuff.

  2. Martina says:

    This really made me think about the documentary Craiglist Joe – it’s on Netflix, and it’s as you can imagine it’s about the generosity of strangers on craiglist. It’s one of the doc that make you remember that we’re all in a community together and that there is still kindness in the world even if we can’t always see it.

    • Aubrey says:

      I loved Craigslist Joe. I’ve been posting on Craigslist for years now and a few weeks ago I heard of that movie, watched it and related very much to it.

  3. Holly says:

    That’s amazing about the experiences you have had. I like using craigslist but admit I am too shy to meet the people. I always have my husband do it. I’m such an introvert and I can’t make small talk for the life of me. My son had his birthday party this week, and I put the used party decorations on the free section and someone is coming tomorrow for them. I just don’t know if I could do it, it is so outside of my comfort zone.

    On a different note, why are you giving up flour? I don’t remember you mentioning it on here.

    • Aubrey says:

      Oh Holly, I’m so introverted it’s not even funny. Let’s just say when I read “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking,” I felt at home. When I watched “The Perks of Being a Wallfower,” it went straight to my favorites list. I know when I start conversation, I’m awkward and don’t always say the best things but I’ve found that people don’t care. More often than not they start the conversation because they are getting something for free. So I ask them what they plan to do with it, show interest in their lives. Or in my ad I mention that we are soon moving into an RV and nearly every person brought it up and we got to talking. I guess I decided to stop using my introversion as an excuse where I miss out on opportunities. I will always be an introvert and I embrace my qualities and like Quiet points out, I let those qualities run the show but every now and then I try to reach and see where it takes me. I’d love to see how it goes with the person meeting up with you. Sometimes people just want to drop by and then leave, you can tell but reach a little and see what happens.

      I’m not giving up flour permanently. I have about 10-15 pounds to shed and I think dropping flour for a month or so will help to do the trick, from what I’ve read. I do plan on adding it back into my life but it will work more as a treat.

      • Holly says:

        I’ve heard of that book before, maybe it was from your blog, but I haven’t read it. I’ll have to look for it. It’s something I’ve been struggling with a lot lately, because I’ve been trying to make changes and be the person I want to be, and my shyness is the biggest one. On Saturday morning, the women emailed me to say she couldn’t pick up the items and honestly, it was the biggest relief. But once I find someone else to take them I will try to meet the person.

        And good luck without the flour, hope it can help you meet your goal. There’s a website called if you are looking for weight loss motivation. You put in money to the pot and if you lose 4% of your weight in 28 days you get a share of it. I’ve made $70 on there the past couple weeks as I try to lose weight.

  4. McKenzie says:

    Oh I love this! You are such an inspiration. I honestly had never known this existed until reading your blog posts. I really want to try it.

  5. Heather Harmon says:

    I can get nervous listing things on Craigslist but this is such a nice perspective to have. I just moved into a new house and am finding I have a lot of stuff I don’t need/want anymore. I was going to sell a lot of it but I think I’ll list some of it for free like you suggested :)

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