I remember the days before Pleasanton Freecycle even existed. When I joined there were 33 others on the list, now there are over 3,000 people on the yahoo group and about 200 messages each week.
In my opinion, Freecycle is the easiest method to get rid of stuff. You can read the official rules here. But each local group can have their own rules that may differ from the national rules.
First you have to join the yahoo group, then to get rid of something you send an email with OFFER in the title and the item you are offering. You can write more details and a rough location in the body of the email. Someone replies to the email offering to take your unwanted stuff, and very quickly it's gone. I have got rid of a lot of stuff this way.
You can also post WANTED items. Just remember if you ask for a brand new laptop or a sports car the likelihood of someone having an unwanted one lying around is pretty slim!
My rule, as someone who helps people deal with clutter, is that you have to get rid of more than you get from freecycle. It was designed to keep things out of landfills, and not so you can get lots of free stuff.
Because Freecycle is so widely known, it gets a lot of spam, so the Pleasanton Freecycle moderators have decided to moderate every message. This means there may be a delay between you posting your offer and having the message appear in your in box. Generally, however, the messages are moderated at least once a day.
Here are a few suggestions if you are using Pleasanton Freecycle.
When I have decided to get rid of stuff I want it gone quickly. Nothing is more annoying than someone who says they will pick up and then doesn't. The Freecycle rules don't let you repost until a few days have passed, so that makes a no-show doubly annoying.
Please, if you are replying to a post, leave your name. I now make it a policy not to give to anyone who doesn't give me their name. The reason is simple, I often get rid of many items at once, so I like to leave little piles or bags with people's names on. It makes pick up difficult if someone won't give me their name.
You don't have to give to the first person who replies. I like to wait 24 hours and then choose the person to give it to based on their email. This means I'm more likely to give to someone who asks politely.
Although there are a lot of emails, it doesn't make sense to read the messages on digest because by the time the digest comes in, most of the good stuff has gone.
If you are just getting rid of stuff and not getting stuff you can put your yahoo settings to no mail.
I've had nothing but good experiences with Pleasanton Freecycle, and I've made a few friends through it too.