These challenges were created by many moderators over the years. Some of these were written as group Admins, some as responses to posts. Some may offer inspiration for Social Media posts.
- 1 Promote Your Group Challenge!
- 2 Craft and Hobby Challenge
- 3 Monthly decluttering challenge ideas
- 4 Back to School Challenges
- 5 Christmas Shopping Challenge
- 6 The OHIO Method
- 7 Monthly Mystery Room
- 8 Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!
- 9 Traveling Treasure Box
Promote Your Group Challenge!
Let your members help you build and promote your group
Hello Freecycle Members,
This months challenge is: Promoting Your Group.
Currently we have over xxx members and this month I challenge you all to see how many more people we can get to join in keeping good things out of landfills and helping out our community.
Tell your friends, boss, co-workers, family, neighbors, or even a stranger at the check out line about our amazing Freecycle(TM) Group and how they to can help our community and also helping others by parting with useable items that maybe someone else could use that would otherwise end up in the landfill.
If each of you got only 1 person to join it would make a huge difference in expanding our purpose and making our community a cleaner place.
Thanks for your support in our monthly challenges, it's members like you that make this group what it is today. (Courtesy of, Shannon, LSFreecycle, Mo.)
Craft and Hobby Challenge
See what you have lying around from your crafts and hobbies that you can share with someone else!
This month's challenge is....Craft and Hobby Month!
I know that our XXX Freecycle(R) Members have all sorts of talents and skills and hobbies. Now's the time to share them. See what you have lying around from your crafts and hobbies that you can share with someone else!
For our crafters out there, do you have extra supplies? Extra scrapbooking material? A surplus of yarn or materials? Wood for woodburning projects?
People who enjoy hobbies, do you have extra things lying around? Books about your hobby? Stamp collecting kits? Models?
Be creative! What are your hobbies? What do you do make? Look around and see what you have that may make someone else interested in YOUR hobby or craft! You never know what might spark someone's interest. I'd like to see some interesting items!
Have fun and as always, thanks for choosing XXX Freecycle!
- January-New Year's: New Year's Items: party decorations, party favors, noise makers, wine glasses; Release the Clutter Challenge
- February-Valentine's Day/Friendship, Sharing Day. Make someone's day happier with an item you no longer have a use for
- March-St. Patrick's Day: Celebrate St. Patrick's Day by taking a few minutes to look around your home and find something GREEN to give away.
- April-Earth Day: Find one thing in your possession that you can offer here between now and Earth Day
- May-Mother's Day, Spring Cleaning
- June-Father's Day: post one thing that could be of use to a Dad.
- July-Independence Day: Independence from clutter! lawn ornaments, games,
- August-Book Appreciation Month
- September-Back to school
- October-Halloween. Old decorations, cauldrons, window decorations, spider webs, old costumes, wigs, party favors, Halloween CD's, masks, party favors, paper plates and cups w/Halloween theme, fabric and other crafting supplies. old sheets for ghosts, old pillow cases for candy bag.
- November-Thanksgiving, "buy nothing" day
- December-Christmas Shopping Challenge. Toys: Sort through the old toys so you can make room for the new ones, and donate the slightly used ones to shelters. Winter themed decor, window decorations, African decor and fabrics, table cloths, artificial Christmas trees, Menorahs, scented candles, stockings, stocking stuffer knickknacks.
Back to School Challenges
YES, summer is over and the kids go back to school...
Hello XXX Freecycle(TM)!
Here we are sitting smack dab in the middle of summer and shortly down the road lies the harsh reality that, YES, summer is over and the kids go back to school. I can hear most of you parents screaming a victorious and collective "YES" amidst the multitude of groans from the youngsters who are returning for another year.
I have a great idea to make the transition easy for everyone, parents and kids alike! Let's all go through our homes and find those clothes/jackets/shoes that don't fit quite like they used to (from all family members), backpacks and/or book bags that are collecting dust, extra office/school supplies taking up needed space, Autumn sports equipment no longer in use, and fall home/garden items that are no longer needed and *POST* them on XXX Freecycle!
You never know what you will find that is no longer in use or required until you look... your items maybe exactly what someone else is looking for! Let's help others while decluttering our homes, workshops or garages and freeing up more time to spend with those we hold near and dear.
Thank you for your time and attention. We look forward to seeing what treasures you have found for the rest of the community to reuse and enjoy!
Back to School Month!
Freshmen are getting ready to go off to their first dorm room and the stuff you started out housekeeping with but recently replaced is just right for their needs. Go through the garage and the spare bedroom and see if you can find some dorm basics for a lucky freshman. Got small sets of shelving, microwaves, mini fridges, bulletin boards, clocks, radios, or computer components? Offer them to our future leaders!
Younger kids are getting ready to head back to elementary, middle, and high schools. Look around to see what you might have lying around. Got an old backpack, lunch box, packages of highlighters, an electric pencil sharpener? Have your children recently outgrown their uniforms, jeans, dress shoes, sneakers? Do you have ten million hair scrunchies? Declutter your home and give these items new life at the same time!
Remember to use your normal "Offer" heading in your posts, but if you want to mention in the body of your post that this is a special monthly challenge offer, feel free. But it's not required! Thank you!
Summer is over, the kids are back in school. Time to clean your closets!
What do you have to OFFER today??
Summer is coming to an end, the kids are back in school and it's a good time to think about cleaning out another closet! The start of the holiday season is upon us yet again (it seems to get earlier and earlier every year, doesn't it?) and I know a lot of us probably have a TON of holiday themed junk we'd love to get rid of!
Here's a few ideas of things you may have lying around waiting for a new home:
Easter: Baskets, stuffed bunnies, easter dresses, ribbons, craft items
GARDENING AND SUPPLIES SPRING, FALL, CHANGE OF SEASONS Spring is an ideal time to ask your members for gardening items of any type. A lot of us have yard art, old hoses, planters, gardening gloves, tools such as rakes and hoes, and even plants and topsoil that we don't need or acquired too much of.
CRAFT SUPPLIES Early to mid summer. Many kids are off to vacation bible school or summer school where they do a lot of crafts. Now may be the time to sort through all those unfinished projects with a realistic eye. Are you really going to finish knitting that stocking for Uncle Henry who died last winter?
-Thanksgiving Decor: Turkey platters and cooking pots/pans, serving dishes, fall themed items such as ornamental leaves, tablecloths and other serving items.
Re-launch of the “Return to School” Freecycle challenge and promotion
Hello XXX Freecycle(TM) Members!
This month is the re-launch of the “Return to School” Freecycle challenge and promotion.
This is a two fold challenge and promotional ability – of which you can choose to do both or just one.
Have fun. Enjoy – and remember, it’s all for the kids!!!
A. Member Challenge:
Do you have one of those kids who insists on new things every school year?
Is it just “time” to do the out with the old and in with the new?
What do you do with the old, slightly worn but not garbage items?
1) Tell your child that before the official school shop they must complete the following:
Clean their room properly.
Find all their old pens, pencils, pencil crayons, markers, erasers, sharpeners, rulers, tape, paper clips, post it notes, liquid paper, glue sticks, etc. and gather them into one box.
Find all their binders, duotangs, folders, report covers, text books, notepads, ruled paper and plain paper into one box.
Find all their construction paper, craft supplies, paints, glitter glue, pipe cleaners, felt, pompoms, and any other craft supplies into one box.
Okay, you now have 3 boxes to sort through with your child and you make a “Keep It Box” and a Freecycle box.
2) Next you review all the old reader books in your child's room.
What have they outgrown that a younger child would love to read during this next school year?
Make another new Freecycle box.
3) Review your current dictionary, encyclopedias, thesaurus and reference manuals.
Are they ones you use?
Does your child do everything online and these never get touched? Pass them on.
Make another Freecycle box.
4) Next – fling open the closet doors.
What clothes will he/she not wear anymore?
What have they outgrown?
What’s not “cool” anymore (like we all care – not)?
Make another Freecycle box.
5) Next – visit the computer desk (if they have one…)
What programs do they not run anymore?
What programs have they aged out of?
Time for newer more advanced ones…..?
Put the in the Freecycle box with the dictionaries, etc.
6) Proceed onward to the kitchen... and no not to eat!! Maybe a drink at this point though.
Where are the lunch bags, lunch boxes, snack boxes, juice containers, etc.?
If you don’t know – ask Mom!!!!!!!! She ought to know.
Are they going to use the same lunch kit?
No, put it in any of the Freecycle boxes.
Containers getting worn – put it in the box.
7) Onward to the hall closet – or wherever they hid last years knap sack, back pack, carry all.
Will they use the same one this year?
If yes, put it away.
If no, put it in the misc school supplies Freecycle Box.
8) Last but certainly not the least – visit the garage or wherever they throw the old sports equipment.
When did they use that soccer ball last?
Or the old mitt that doesn’t fit them anymore?
Soccer cleats that they’ve outgrown?
Ballet slippers that are now just sitting.
Find all the “not being used anymore” sports equipment and uniforms and put them in a box!!
The end result:
A box of school supplies misc
A box of children’s / teen’s books
A box of reference materials and computer supplies.
A box of clothes.
A box of sporting goods.
And what do you now have – ROOM!!!
PS: Don’t forget that there are also college kids who will be looking for all the essential basics – plates, cutlery, cutting knives, small desks, desk chairs, small dressers, small bookcases, bed sheets, towels, desk lamps, posters. So if you are thinking it is time to get a new set of cutlery, please do – and post up the old uneven set of unmatching stuff cause they will really need them!!
School District Promotion Challenge
We know how awesome you all are and how generous you all can be, but here’s the next piece of the puzzle.
We really want to get School District # XXX aware of Freecycle and what it can accomplish for all the teachers out there. Heck, our forums are a way for them to reach out and say, “I want to do this craft with the Grade 3s but I need 30 empty film canisters!!” What better way for them to get the help they need to accomplish goals with our children.
So, I am challenging everyone out there who is involved in their local school PAC/PTA/PTO to contact me within 48 hours. I will work specifically with one person from every school to help them with posters, handouts and information sheets for the school principal, teachers and ultimately the students.
Obviously the principle will need to be educated first… but once you have him or her enrolled into what the Freecycle Network can offer the teachers, then it will not be hard to enroll the teachers. Every teacher I have ever spoken to loves our network and what they can accomplish with it.
I am also challenging each school rep to become an advocate to talk to classrooms about Freecycle, or to have me invited to do so. Teaching the children about what can “also” be done with their parents “garbage” is the quickest way to influence the future for Mother Earth. I am available to visit schools in my school district anytime between XX and XX, Monday – Friday (Note - change as you need to obviously).
Come on parent – it’s time to Clean the Clutter, Get Creative, Get Feisty and Get those kids “Returning to School”!!
Have fun using The Freecycle Network.
Christmas Shopping Challenge
Well, it is that time of the year again. Halloween is over, dentists are happily taking appointments for orthodontic toffee removal, and Freecycle members everywhere can emerge from their homes safe from persecution by mini-ghosts and elves...only to be faced by the terror of pre-Christmas shopping crowds.
Anyway, we all would like to find a special something for someone equally special. Here are some ideas to keep in mind: Go through your closets and drawers for new or hardly used things you may have been given last year (or last decade!).
- Like that pair of fuzzy tartan toe socks Great Aunt Tillie gave you which remain (mercifully) unworn.
- Drag down from the loft those duplicate toasters, kettles & George Foreman mini grills garnered from your wedding loot collection.
- What about that throw rug your fave catalog clubbie sent free with your last knickers/bedspread/fruit of the month order?
It's lovely but totally not your colors and too good for the cat.
Stick them on Freecycle - maybe someone else can enjoy them this year! When you do make Offers, please try NOT to do "fastest finger gets it" thing. There are many members not surgically attached to their computers or on 'Daily Digest', reading their email only once a day.
They won't get a chance to respond to your Offer if you automatically take the first reply. Unless you need to get rid of the item very quickly, try to give others a chance to respond first and chose the person you feel would best benefit from your item.
This way everyone gets to feel the thrill of getting something cool for free :) There are lots of ways you can choose to whom your item goes:
- put all the names into a hat and choose one,
- give it to the politest responder,
- ask responders to send you a poem or joke, or
- even write the most creative story they can think of!
Of course it is up to you who you choose but at least when possible try to give everyone a chance.
Please don't put Wanteds on the board asking specifically for Christmas or Birthday presents, especially not the latest and greatest toy crazes! Many people can't afford anything but the basics and Freecycle helps fill this gap by keeping otherwise useable items out of the landfill and getting them to those who genuinely need them.
The OHIO Method
Try the OHIO method and the 10 Second Rule to move that stuff on out.
If it's in your hands it goes to its final destination, not to an intermediate pile.
10 Second Test - Once an object is in your hands you have 10 seconds to answer the following:
- When was the last time you used it? Can't remember... get rid of it.
- Have you used it since the last time you gave it the 10 second test? If not, it's time it went.
- Does its value justify the space it takes up? Nope - then get rid of it
- Will you have a use for it in the next month? Again, if not, it needs to go.
- Why is it here? or What the heck is it? Don't know? it goes.
No matter how many questions, if you can't decide within 10 seconds if the object should stay, it's an automatic purge.
Now don't forget to keep safety in mind while hoeing out. It's not safe to run and play in a yard full of last season's sun toys. So a great way to make the needed space is to use this Freecycle(TM) list and find those items a new home for the sunny months.
And do not limit it to just table tops; think floor space. Maybe you should just get rid of that old chair instead of moving it? There's probably a Freecycle member who'll actually remove it for you.
There are members waiting in the wings to pick up your stuff. Let us have it... we can take it.
Monthly Mystery Room
Declutter your home, one room at a time, one month at a time!
(Note: This is the 'Monthly Mystery Room' that I do in my home group. It has been well received and we do see an increase of OFFERs from those particular areas during the second week of the month. Courtesy of Michelle K, Kingston Freecycle Group - adapted/edited accordingly for use)
Each month has been assigned a room or area of your home. Now depending on what type of home you live in, you may not have all the areas mentioned. If not, choose another area that is in need of deep de-cluttering.
For the Month of XXX your mystery room is: (fill this in based on the list below)
Now look on your desk, in your drawers, on shelves, what is hiding under that pile over there? Check cabinets, bookcases, closets and anything that might be applicable to the room picked for the month. Keep this in mind while looking - 'If I don't use it, I don't need it'. This should be your mantra as you go digging through your unneeded items. Declutter your home and allow others to reap the benefits of your cleaner house.
The following locations can be used for different months of the year. Edit your post according to what you might find in each area. Be creative!
Jan - Master Bedroom Feb - Basement Mar - Bedroom Closets (clean out the old/never worn clothes) Apr - Living Room May - Kitchen June - Child(ren)'s bedroom July - Office (or computer area) Aug - Garage or shed (outside area) Sept - Storage room Oct - Dining Room Nov - Playroom (or just toy boxes) Dec - Closets (Linen/hallway)
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!
Reducing waste saves both materials and energy, and removes the need and expense of disposal. You can reduce waste by not buying disposable items, choosing items with less packaging, refusing unnecessary shopping bags, and stopping junk mail.
Reusing reduces the need to buy new items which saves resources.
Recycling saves valuable raw materials. Check your local area for recycling programs and locations around town for drop-off of recyclable materials such as plastics, newspapers and cardboard.
All these items can be salvaged and reused for one thing or another. Let's all pitch in and save the landfills from unnecessary wasted space for items that can be utilized for alternate uses they were intended for. Everyone has something to offer!
Bedroom / Closets
- Disposable bed pads you get from the hospital-think labor and delivery (a multitude of uses!!)
- Old cushions - somebody's dog might use as a bed!
- Old holey jeans (dissected, they make great patches)
- Old holey socks, mismatched socks, panty hose. Make pillows for the humane society. Camping, we use to put a bar of soap in an old Knee-high and hang on the spigot for washing hands. They can also be filled with potpourri for sachets to make your clothes smell good while in storage.
- Old sweaters can be un-raveled to re-knit into something 'new,' like mittens
- Material in large or small pieces - crafts/ sewing projects
- Old worn out Quilts, comforters, throws - can be used as dog bedding.
- Old sheets, towels - used to cover plants in winter, as drop cloths, cut up as rags, etc.
(towels make great barn/garage rags)
- Old towels, blankets and bedding for use in animal shelters
- OLD, no longer safe to use, HEAD BOARDS: Some people take those and make "flower beds" or use them and remake benches
- Ratty t-shirts (make great barn/garage rags)
- The pocket off of old jeans can be sewn together to make a small purse. Or the jeans can be used to make rag rugs.
Kids / Toys
- Bicycle parts or old ones for parts
- Broken crayons
- Jigsaw puzzles that you are never going to do again
- Kids Toys
- Pet toys, even used and chewed, and accessories
Garden / Yard
- Garbage cans - old ones to used for yard trash, or composting bins.
- Garden Hoses - even with holes, it can be cut up and used as drainage from a rain barrel.
- Miscellaneous yard things, the old wheelbarrow that needs a tire.
- Sod/ rocks / plants/ seeds/ bricks
- Landscape material/ renovation leftovers
Kitchen / Pantry / Bathroom
- Broken appliances that people can either fix themselves or can salvage the scrap metal from
- Empty jars - 101 uses from making votive candle holders to keeping nails, nuts and bolts or other small objects together
- Plastic yogurt/margarine and larger ice cream or dog bone containers
- Old calendars/ catalogues - for pictures for use by preschoolers to practice their cutting abilities on or classroom projects
- Grocery bags - for pet rescue/ pet obedience school and portable poop scoops!
- Used bubble envelopes, packing popcorn, frozen food boxes and larger moving boxes - for those who are pen pals or who do shipping
- Used mismatched cutlery - for art and for work lunch rooms, shelters, drop ins
- Plastic pop bottles or Styrofoam take out containers - for winter sowing of seeds and containers for growing
- Used plastic pots/Styrofoam flats used for plants
- The plastic off a new mattress
- Take out soy sauce, ketchup packets, etc.- great for school lunches and picnics
- Dishes and china - even broken, they can be used in crafts, mosaics and jewelry
- Egg Cartons - The Styrofoam ones are often used by preschoolers for various projects.
- Plasticware - Some hate the sound of metal forks on ceramic
- Pots and Pans - even old ones no longer used for cooking
- Prescription bottles (labels removed)
- Empty Cat Litter Buckets
- The box of old plumbing or electrical parts in the basement
- Leftover building materials
- Candle stubs
- Old bowling balls, even chipped and cracked (for crafts)
- Old magazines
- Old paint cans (with or without paint, the cans can be cleaned and reused)
- Ice Cooler - an old Styrofoam one with holes can be used to start a vermiculture (worm) bin.
- Old paper - have a box of tractor-fed printer paper still lying around? Kids could use it to draw on!
- Old cars and car parts, Tires that no longer fit your car
- The old vacuum cleaner, taking up closet space
- Empty baby wipe tubs
- Magazines - kids can use them to do collages
- Old stamps, stickers, popsicle sticks - think school crafts!
- Umbrellas - use an old one hung upside down under chandeliers to
- catch run-off when you clean them.
- Sewing Supplies
- Old electronics - there might be someone who can use that old turntable, cassette deck stereo, computer stuff...for parts or play
- Moving boxes and packing paper (neighborhood favorite)
- Plastic containers from laundry and dishwashing detergents
Traveling Treasure Box
There are several versions of The Traveling Treasure Box that exist on The Freecycle Network(TM), one of which is listed below. The premise behind this concept is to find new homes for smaller items, foster community spirit between the many swaps that occur on the Box's journey, and make a friend or two along the way!
The Freecycle(TM) Traveling Treasure Box travels from Freecycle member to Freecycle member, all across your community. The journey begins with moderator who fills the Treasure Box with items and posts it as an OFFER with the items listed.
The person who receives the Traveling Treasure Box takes out the items that he/she wants, adds more items to fill the box, and posts it as an OFFER, once again listing the items that are in the box.
The person who receives the Traveling Treasure Box after that continues the process, and so on down the line. The Traveling Treasure Box includes a "travel journal," where Freecycle members can write information such as their name, the date they received the box, the items they kept, the items they put in, along with written good wishes to other Freecycle members.
If members want to include a picture of themselves with the Box, that would be fun, too. Use your imagination!
Just make sure everything is FREE, legal and appropriate for all ages.
Since the box is "traveling," each Freecycle member who receives the box can create a "travel stamp" to put somewhere on the box to show the travels the box has made. The stamp should include the person's first name and username. Your travel stamp can be as simple or creative as you like.
The 12th person to receive the Treasure Box returns it to the originating Freecycle owner/moderator or member after taking out the items wanted and refilling it.
From here, the process is checked to ensure everything is going well and the process begins all over again!
Here are further details:
- Do not, under any circumstances, email the person who receives the Traveling Treasure Box to ask for items from the box. Whoever has the box gets the items. No exceptions.
- Do not request the box if you are not willing to follow the steps in the process. If you're unsure about what to do, the instructions will be included in the box or you can message the moderator.
- You may not receive the Freecycle Traveling Treasure Box more than once. Give everyone a chance to participate.
- Handle the Traveling Treasure Box with care when it is in your possession. You'll be responsible for making sure all the items are intact.
- Everything must be FREE, legal and appropriate for all ages.
- Include only good, clean items that someone can use.
- Do not include anything that won't fit into the box. (Post anything that won't fit in the box as a regular OFFER on the Freecycle web site).
- If you include something fragile or liquid, pack it well so it doesn't break or leak. Keep the box as full as possible - you must replace whatever you take out with something else.
- Be prepared to receive a lot of email requesting the box!! Just like every other Freecycle transaction, you will be required to email everyone who inquires about the box to let them know the status of the offer.
- Keep the box moving. Do not hold on to it for more than a week. For example, if you receive the Treasure Box on a Monday, try to refill it and post it as an OFFER by the following Tuesday. It doesn't matter how you choose (first come-first served, draw names out of a hat, wait a day), just make sure you keep the Treasure Box moving and don't keep it for more than a week.
- Make arrangements for pick up as soon as possible. You must meet the person you are giving the box to/receiving the box from. No leaving it on a porch or having someone else pick up or give away the box for you. Part of the magic of Freecycle is making connections with people in our community.
Treasure Box Instructions:
CONGRATULATIONS! You have received the XXX Freecycle(TM) TRAVELING TREASURE BOX! Here's what to do (please refer to the Guidelines in the Travel Journal for details):
- Look through the box and take out what you would like to keep.
- Take a sheet of Freecycle flyers (as applicable) and give them to your friends and colleagues.
- Post that you received the Treasure Box.
- Refill the Treasure Box with items you would like to give away (legal and appropriate for all ages).
- Write a note in the Travel Journal including your name and username, and any personal comments you would like to include. Don't forget to put the Travel Journal back in the box!
- Create a "stamp" to put on the box that includes your name and username.
- Post the Traveling Treasure Box on the Freecycle web site as an OFFER. Example: OFFER: Freecycle Traveling Treasure Box
I am passing on the Treasure Box with these items: (List the items you are giving away.) Add any personal comments that you would like to include.
- Decide who you want to give the Treasure Box to from the emails you receive and meet to exchange the box.
- Post the Traveling Treasure Box as TAKEN once you have given the box away.
Traveling Treasure Box Notice
I want to try something new here in YOURCITY that will hopefully generate a lot of excitement.
I am creating a "Freecycle(TM) Traveling Treasure Box" that will travel from Freecycle member to Freecycle member, all across our community. The purpose and goals of the Traveling Treasure Box are:
- Freecycle members will recycle their odds and ends of good but no-longer-wanted items to other members, thereby keeping good items out of the landfill.
- Freecycle members will meet other members and this will aid in building community.
The journey will begin with me and I will fill the Treasure Box with items and post it as an OFFER, with the items listed. The person who receives the Traveling Treasure Box will take out the items that he/she wants, add more items to fill the box, and post it as an OFFER again, once again listing the items that are in the box.
The person who receives the Traveling Treasure Box after that will continue the process, and so on down the line. The Traveling Treasure Box will include a "travel journal," where Freecycle members can write information such as their name, the date they received the box, the items they kept, the items they put in, and send good wishes on to other Freecycle members, etc. If you want to include a picture of yourself with the Box, that would be fun, too. Use your imagination! Just make sure everything is FREE, legal and appropriate for all ages. Since the box is "traveling," each Freecycle member who receives the box can create a "travel stamp" to put somewhere on the box to show the travels the box has made. The stamp should include the person's first name and Yahoo! ID.
Your travel stamp can be as simple or creative as you like. Once the 12th person receives the box, they will return it to the Moderator, after they have taken the items they want and refilled the box.
The Moderator will make sure everything is going well, add more items to the box, and send it out again. I will post the Box as an OFFER over the next few days so keep your eyes open for that. If you have any questions, please let me know!
____________________________________________________(Traveling Treasure Box Instructions and Guidelines are courtesy of Tracy Owens, Springfield Illinois Freecycle Moderator - adapted/edited accordingly for use)