Freecycle

Something for everyone: Judy Ulberg, center, a seasonal visitor from Michigan, sifts through Freecycle offerings with grandchildren Orion Haley, 7, and his sister Annalise, 5, of Vail, at Green Valley Library Saturday.

Few left empty-handed Saturday from Green Valley library’s first “Freecycle” event held as part of a Pima County Post Holiday Swap of free stuff.

True to its name, there were some holiday-themed items in the mix — all brought by winter visitors, year-round residents, out-of-towners and grandparents with kids in tow. Everybody learned more about the recycling concept and maybe even got some grins trying on wigs, handmade scarves, hats and other things that materialized.

What did? Better to ask, what didn’t. Early arrivals included throw rugs, a floor scrubber, shoes, books, wall paint, exercise equipment, a bathroom faucet, kitchen items and several brunette wigs. As the event progressed, more appeared: health care supplies, craft materials, a computer printer, handsize stereo, a wine cooler and something called an Aerogarden indoor growing system.

Some scored; others, not seeing anything they wanted, took what they’d brought back home with them. The idea is more to take gently used items you don’t want and trade them for what you do. No money exchanges hands, and it’s not necessary to take anything away. At the end, unclaimed items go to the Country Fair White Elephant thrift shop next door, said Karen Greene, coordinator of the event for Joyner-Green Valley Branch Library.

Some dropped donations off and left, some held out for their treasure to arrive.

Unsure freecycling would go over well next door to White Elephant, Green Valley opted out of last year’s event involving other Pima County libraries. In fact, last year’s event was almost called off, as it was scheduled for the afternoon of Jan. 8. Officials considered cancelling after the Tucson shootings that morning, but pressed on when people started showing not so much to swap as to connect with others in the wake of the tragedy, Greene said.

“It ended up almost being a healing opportunity.”

Locals expressed interest, so she decided to try it here this year.

Green Valley’s event drew several dozen throughout the afternoon. It was worth hanging around, as a good percentage of items changed out every few minutes.

Some were first-timers; others, particularly desert newcomers, veterans after having taken part in local or online versions in downsizing for their move (curious? go to www.freecycle.org). A few came not sure what to expect.

“It’s a great way to find the right thing for the right person,” said Sandra Rooney, a Green Valley transplant from Ohio.

Never judge anything by its box, added freecycler Joe Rocco, who stopped by with wife, Maria, from Tucson, to leave a picture frame and leather brief case. He found a thermal Airpot, still in its original wrapper. It appeared unused although its outer box had seen better days.

“My daughter just moved to a new home. She’ll like this,” he said, smiling.

Feedback was generally positive, Greene said.

“A lot are asking when we’ll do this again. I’m looking at Earth Day to see if the room is available.”