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Today’s blog post is all about FREEBIES!!!!

Yes, I know there’s no such thing as a free lunch and that some of the freebies I’m about to mention have been paid for in one way or another, sometimes indirectly by me. But “freebies” has a much better ring than “stuff I didn’t have to shell out extra money for,” doesn’t it? So I’m going to ignore the semantics and dive right in.

The picture heading this post is of the window ledge next to my reading/editing/lounging chair. The chair is super comfy (in front of the pellet stove, which will be running in the very near future), and the window overlooks the backyard, where I can see the turkeys and deer as they wander by, the birds that visit my feeder, and any less frequent animal guests: a fisher, a family of skunks, a fox, an owl, and a raccoon. I consider it free entertainment. In keeping with this post, the chair was actually free as well, picked up from the side of the road and treated to some elbow grease and a garage quarantine. This was also how I got my treadmill desk.

But I digress; it’s what’s in the picture that I actually want to talk about. Each of the books was free in one way or another.

The four books in the middle came from one of my favorite sources: interlibrary loan. There are days that I wonder if there are any couples who take advantage of this service more frequently than we do. Whatever the topic du jour, we can depend on our library to supply us with books to entertain, enlighten, satisfy our curiosity, or teach us a new skill. Whenever and wherever I have moved, getting a library card has been second on the list after signing up for utilities. It comes before unpacking boxes.

If you haven’t been to your local library recently, I would encourage you to visit—you’re likely to find that a lot has changed. Libraries have expanded their services and have something to offer almost everyone: writing critique groups, poetry slams, story hour, author readings, book sales, craft group meetings, puzzle and game swaps, children’s activities, book clubs, etc. One service I’ve been exploring locally is the library’s makerspace. While it’s not free to print/burn/create projects, it is pretty cheap, and it’s been fun to learn some new computer programs. I’m playing around with creating a laser-burned Christmas ornament of my logo to mark this year’s big change. And I’m also checking out the vinyl sticker printer. I’m printing some stickers of my favorite ads to decorate my laptop cover and water bottle.

The How To Be an Antiracist book came from another favorite source: a Little Free Library. My family wanders often, and we always have our eyes peeled for these magical boxes that are sometimes filled with treasure. When your bookworm child runs out of reading material before the trip is over, a Little Free Library can save the day. Ditto if your Kindle runs out of battery or you’re facing a long wait for unexpected (and very unwelcome) car repairs. While I often strike out in finding anything that tempts me, the possibility of finding something awesome keeps me coming back. In that, Little Free Libraries have something in common with thrift shops and used bookstores.

While the previous five books are all visitors on my shelf, soon to be returned or left in another Little Free Library, the last one is mine to keep and one of my best scores. Those of you who know my ads know that I am a member of many Facebook groups. Locally we have a Buy Nothing group that is very active and extremely generous. For those of you unfamiliar with Buy Nothing, it’s a national movement to form local gift economies (and thereby reduce waste) and create a community of neighbors who lend, give, and receive goods and services (no trading, bartering, soliciting, buying, or selling, and you also can’t refer folks to sources outside the group). When I started my business, I asked for the Chicago Manual of Style on a whim, not really believing that anyone local would have it or be willing to part with it if they did. Well, I was wrong and saved myself a large chunk of change.

Your turn: What freebies have you found that really made your day? Got any great sources for freebies you’d like to share?

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