Munster Express (Waterford)
23rd June 2006

One man’s junk is another man’s treasure!! For anyone who has ever attended a car boot sale, perused a charity shop, taken a friend or family member’s unwanted items or found a use for something from a skip, this saying will, no doubt, ring true.
As a nation we have materialism and consumerism down to a fine art so it’s no wonder that our houses are brimming with unwanted items stashed in the attic, boxed up in our garages or hidden at the back of cupboards. When my family moved house after twenty odd years we couldn’t believe that it took a day to clear the main house and no less than four days to pack and clear the stuff from the attic!

Our home’s history lay in single rolls of wallpaper. There were many of them. The spare ‘just in case’ roll, the pattern which had been taken down and replaced many times since, but still these single rolls lay in the attic as a reminder of crazy early seventies wall coverings. In fact the ridiculous truth is that we took most of the attic junk with us to our new home. It was stored in a shed in the new property and every year since then my poor mother has sifted through it and thrown some out each year.

Earlier this spring she announced that the shed was finally cleared of all the stuff from the old attic of nearly fourteen years ago. Why didn’t we do that the day we moved!
Perhaps it is a sense of guilt and waste that we are trying to avoid. No one likes to throw things away. Many dream of going to a car boot sale. It’s a great idea. ‘We’ll box and price everything up, take it to a cold windy field at 5am on a Sunday morning, we’ll make a fortune’! This is always a ‘great idea’ while sitting in a warm room of an evening, but very rarely gets fulfilled and being a car boot sale vendor is not for the faint hearted. Plus you have to buy a flask and bring sandwiches if you are going to sit behind a table selling your wares all day. Of course the cost of the flask, the lunch, the warm coat, the fancy box to put the money in and the petrol to get you to there often negates the potential profit and therefore it is very easy to talk yourself back out of this enterprising notion.

Then of course there is the charity shop, which is fine for clothes and knick-knacks in good condition, but not for the bigger stuff or the unusual items. You could always put these on E-bay. The Internet’s answer to the car boot sale! That’s all very well but then you have to register and sort out the whole money thing and the shipping and basically inertia sets in so the items just stay in the house. The answer is

What’s It is a great Irish based innovation where people put unwanted items on the Jumbletown website and you can take them for free, as long as you are willing to go and collect them. It is a fantastic idea, really user friendly and you should check it out today. For those of you with the internet handy just key in and for those of you that have the equivalent of an internet chauffeur (like my mother - you don’t physically go near the computer yourself, but if you want anything from it you get someone else to look it up and they will download/order/book etc.for you) get them to check it out. Everything on is in Ireland and some stuff is, obviously, in the Waterford area.

It is still a relatively new concept so at present it is quite quick to trawl through all the items but hopefully the more people who know about it the more stuff it will have and it will catch on pretty quickly. Of course the big bonus is that it is all free. There is also a ‘Wanted’ section so if you are looking for something in particular you can ask for it and who knows, somebody, somewhere might have it.

A site like this has many benefits. No longer will you have to wait until the dead of night to put that old chest of drawers, sink or bath into the neighbour’s paid for skip! No longer will you have to store these items in the attic, hoping to furnish your firstborn’s first house, even though they are only twelve at present. No longer will you have to have pipe dreams of cashing in at a car boot sale or loading up the trailer for a trip to the charity shop and then that guilty feeling of never actually doing it. Just post it on from the comfort of your own home and no doubt someone, somewhere will find a use for it.

On top of de-cluttering, and the nice feeling of giving something away for free, it also has huge environmental benefits. We have to make a better effort at recycling as much as possible and this is such a great way to do it. Not everything on the site will suit you, in fact some items are pretty unappealing but this really is where the ‘one man’s junk...’ saying comes into it’s own. Differing tastes and styles will ultimately dictate its success.

Other websites of this nature have become very popular all over the world; is huge as is However most of the stuff listed on these sites is in the UK or US and the swapping element doesn’t really mean freeing up space but just replacing it with something else. Obviously there is also an expensive shipping issue with items from abroad. has it cracked, but it is very important to get the message out so that everyone can benefit. Niall Power of Beat 103/104 featured news of Jumbletown on the Beat breakfast show recently and since then some items from the Waterford area have popped up on it.

For the cynics among you, no doubt you are wondering what’s in it for the people who set it up? Somebody, somewhere must be making money, even if the items listed are free for the taking.  The answer is simple. Along with all the items listed on the site there is some paid-for advertising and that is where the revenue to keep the site going comes from. However these small ads do not appear on the items list so no need to worry about it. I can’t stress enough how simple the site is to navigate, even for a novice internet user it is really easy. Unfortunately not all items have accompanying photographs but that is being rectified by the day. You’ll know if the item has a photograph as a little camera icon appears beside it on the listing.

For those of you worried about sites like taking over from charity shops, they won’t, because there is nothing to stop charity shop workers or even car boot sale vendors from using the site and selling the goods on. It is free, after all, and if someone is prepared to put in the effort then good luck to them if they can turn it into cash. However that is not the spirit of Jumbletown and it is just an environmentally friendly way of bringing givers and takers together. If only everything in life was so simple.