Was going to hold onto this for a "Works For Me Wednesday" but it's been working so well for us that I thought I'd share it today instead.
I stumbled onto an interesting local barter system ran as a Yahoo group. Have you heard of Freecycle yet? A search of their site led me to my community's message group on Yahoo. It almost seemed too good to be true. EVERYTHING is free! You list things you want to clear out of your house and the only requirement is that they are free. And, using email, phone calls, and cautious, self-protection means like meeting in public places, etc. you can bless others with your extras and gain a few things for your home, for yourself, or for others for no cost.
First, I found a nearly brand new bread machine (something I wanted to try but didn't want to put out the money in case I didn't like it) in which I baked several loaves of bread for the Christmas party of soup and sandwiches we threw a few weeks ago for a few couples from church. I've also got standing posts looking for a kids' bike helmet (was going to use it for Viking #1's ice skating debut) and a hand cranked meat grinder, for example.
Then, this past week when the kids were down for a nap, I did a "toy purge" throughout the house to make room for the new gifts. I came up with about 3-4 brown paper garbage bags filled with stuff. I posted them on Freecycle and within 24 hrs. I had 5 emails. You can pick and choose who you give your stuff too or take it on a first-come-first-serve basis. I chose a woman who I had previously given baby clothes and gear to who is looking out for a single mother at her church.
It feels doubly good to bless someone like that as well as the thrill of finding a little treasure that costs nothing. I've heard that not every community's site works as well as my experience has been with ours but it might be something you want to try. Good luck!