You guys. I don’t want to brag (especially because I know that the second I do, this will stop being true)(rhyme!!!), but I am pretty dang good at Craigslist.
In the last couple of weeks, I have bought and sold about six pieces of furniture, which will make moving easier (sayonara, mammoth china cabinet) and make our new apartment prettier (he-llo, gorgeous leaning bookshelves from Crate & Barrel). Here’s a quick round-up of my favorite success stories:
1. Bar cart from Crate & Barrel
Original price: It’s not on the site anymore, but given the price of similar ones they have listed, I would guess at least $125.
Price paid: $25
We picked this baby up from a chic apartment building in one of the most desirable areas of Brooklyn. (Was the guy we bought it from wealthy? Put it this way: He had a doorman who was exactly what you would get if you combined Arthur and Lucius and who when we said who we were there to see told us to “knock because of the baby.” You know you’ve made it when you have a doorman who knows your personal life despite living in a 15-story building.)
The guy was nice as can be and had two adorable 6-month-old twins. He was obviously just selling the rack because it was easier than throwing it out, and his lack of concern about money was our thrifty gain.
Lesson #1: Try searching by the names of brands you like. I wasn’t actively searching for a bar cart (even though we would need something like this eventually), but searching for “Crate and Barrel” brought me treasure.
2. Black bookshelves from IKEA
Original price: They’re about $90 each on IKEA currently, but I’m pretty sure they were on sale when my roommates and I bought two of them almost four years ago.
Sold for: $90 for both, including delivery.
I listed these at $40 each, but a woman offered me $70 for them both and I took it. (I am always willing to engage in a reasonable haggle.) When she came to pick them up, though, she only had a small car and they didn’t fit. I offered to drop them off at her house the next day, and she threw in an extra $20. Win-win.
Lesson #2: Craigslist is supposed to be like a community. So if you’re polite an neighborly, you might end up getting more money than you even planned to charge.
3. Leaning bookshelves from Crate & Barrel
Original price: $130 each
Price paid: I’m getting two for about $100 total.
I wanted to find two slim, ladder-style shelves like the ones at the link above, but I wanted white ones. Target had a version for $80 each, but I really wanted to thrift something and I was confident I could find a better price (and quality) with a little patience.
Then yesterday, I found two sellers that were each selling one white leaning shelf from C&B. I contacted them both and offered each $50 (they were asking for $75 and $100 respectively). Both agreed (one of them actually turned out to be a girl from work who is moving to California…small world), and we picked them up on Wednesday.
Lesson #3: Patience is a virtue. (Although Joey might argue that I’m not that patient. He has asked me to please not buy anymore furniture until after we officially move.)
4. Coral rug
Original price: It’s now listed for over $200, but I paid around $90 because it was on sale and I had a coupon.
Sold for: $60
I was honestly starting to think this rug would be my downfall in terms if my Craigslist success. I’ve been trying to sell it for a couple of months, but people are understandably skeptical of purchasing fabric-based goods on Craigslist. So even though we only really used it for about a month, it was hard to convey just how good of condition it was in on a (sometimes sketchy) website.
I lowered my price and renewed my listing last week without much hope it would sell.
And then — here’s where a choir of angels starts singing — I go an email from a woman who wanted to put it in her kid’s playroom. She haggled a bit, and honestly I was nervous she would turn into one of those Craigslist phantoms that says they want your stuff and then just vanishes into the night. But she didn’t. And she even emailed me for follow-up information because her aunt loved the rug and wanted to see more pictures. And she’s coming to get it on Sunday.
AND I’M THRILLED.
Lesson #4: Don’t be afraid to lower your price. The alternative is just donating the item for free, so any gain is still a gain.
Bonus Lesson #5: Take time with your ad. I always try to write them in a business-like-but-friendly voice. I want shoppers to know I’m legit — a real person who probably takes good care of her stuff.
In the same vein, don’t just post crappy photos you snapped in the dark with your phone camera. It’s just like selling an apartment on Craigslist; clean it up, use good lighting, style it a bit. I always try to include one atmosphere shot of the item in my home (another reason why taking photo tours of your home at its best is a good idea.
So those are the big transactions so far. All I have left to sell is our dining room table and chairs, so hopefully we can move those pretty quickly. Our move-in date is most likely going to be the last week of March, but I just need to get the old table unloaded before April 1st. Wish me luck!
What are come of your favorite Craigslist lessons and tricks?
I guess this is just a post to tell you that packing/moving hasn’t killed me yet.
Let’s have a little moving update, shallll we?
Well, the lease is officially signed, so that’s good. Today I should find out when we can actually get into the place. So that’s good.
As for our stuff, I’m continuing in my goal of moving with the least amount of stuff possible. We had already sold the china cabinet and the bookshelves. Last night, I put our desk and our dining room table and chairs on Craigslist. We already have another desk, and we’ll need a smaller table (I’m hoping to thrift something). I actually got an email about the desk this morning, so hopefully that works out.
The only other piece of furniture I could see us selling would be our couch. Not because it wouldn’t fit, but because we would have more room if we got a smaller one. But we haven’t officially made our minds up about that one yet. (Besides, I have a really good streak going of selling almost everything I out up. Why would I ruin that?)
I’ve also started boxing the stuff we are taking with us. It’s a rather arduous ordeal, but I do feel good about the growing pile of stuff I’ve separated out to donate. This will be the year of limited clutter. Simplifying feels good.
I can’t wait until I have actual pictures of the apartment to show you! Someday…
We’re signing the lease for our new apartment today. I think we all know what that means.
Time to start thinking about decorating it!!!
(Come on, you guys. It’s a new apartment; same old me.)
Obviously, I’ve started to put together a bit of inspiration for the rooms. Let’s start with the bedroom since it has the longest way to go:
Basically, I love this. But my main concern is that it feels a bit too…neutral.
As I’ve said, a grown-up bedroom is one of my main new apartment goals, and I think this definitely fits the bill, but…it’s missing something, right? I’m hoping some of my more decor-savvy readers will chime in here. An accent color maybe? You can get an idea about the colors I use in the rest of our apartment here.
Anyway. We already have the bed (and a matching dresser) and the mirror, but everything else would be new. The main things I need to complete this look are that gorgeous rug (might actually be purchasing that very soon), white lamps, fluffy white bedding, and the curtains (though I actually already have some fabric that could maybe fit the bill). Oh, and some picture frames.
So…what am I missing?
You guys. I know where I’m living in three weeks.
That’s right; we found an apartment! (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
Lets all exhale one collective sigh of relief, shall we? Phew.
I mean, it’s not like I thought we would never find a place. It was just really stressful searching, and I was concerned that we would just never find anything we loved and then we’d run out of time and have to settle for something that was just okay.
But, you guys, I really think I love this place.
I say think because when we saw it, it was being completely renovated. So it will have new floors, a brand new kitchen and bathroom, and re-plastered walls. But while I can’t be exactly sure what it will look like when it’s done, I have a pretty good idea from the other apartments in that building we saw. And, honestly, it’s a gamble I’m willing to take for a brand new apartment.
Alas, though, I don’t have any pictures for you yet. But I promise to post a bunch as soon as I do.
For now, we’re continuing to pack and sell off furniture we won’t need in the new place. I sold the china cabinet, our chunky bookshelves I want to replace with something slimmer to take up less space, and now I think I want to sell one of our desks. We might also end up replacing the dining room table, but I have to do some measuring first to make sure it won’t fit if we take the leaf out.
Anyway. Just thinking out loud again.
Thank you for putting up with my crazy while this all got figured out. And for those of you who live in Astoria…watch out. We’re coming for ya.
This is a paid review for BlogHer Book Club but the opinions expressed are my own.
I’ve been a fan of Jenny Lawson’s blog The Bloggess ever since an old co-worker sent me the Beyonce post.
Fans of Jenny’s work already know exactly what I’m talking about. But, because I’m so nice (and because it needs to be shared), here is the post in question for the rest of you. I’ll wait while you get caught up.
Ready? RIGHT?! Ok.
Anyway, after that day, Jenny became a regular in my Google Reader line-up. Which is why I was pretty dang thrilled when I heard she was coming out with a book of memoirs. And it has to be said: Let’s Pretend This Never Happened does not disappoint.
Jenny’s stories are so hilarious and shocking, I’ll admit there were times I would stare at the page and think, “There is no way that happened.” (Three words: Taxidermied squirrel puppet. You’ll have to read the book for more clarification.)
And then she would share a childhood photo of exactly what she just said happened. (Yup. Taxidermied. Squirrel. Puppet.)
But aside from all the outrageous stories from her childhood, Jenny’s revelations about herself and her struggles with mental illness are the most lasting moments of the book. She (rather bravely) reveals very difficult truths about herself, and even those who haven’t experienced the extent of what she goes through will find themselves nodding along in agreement as she describes feeling like an outsider and dealing with her own coming-of-age issues.
Basically, she sounds exactly like the type of person you want to hang out with despite her protestations that she would be hysterically babbling in a corner if all of her readers actually tried to hang out with her.
Have you read the book? What did you think? Join the BlogHer discussion here.
Last night. I had a dream I was viewing an apartment. I may have a disease.
But seriously. I realize the apartment hunt is all I can talk about (and, let’s be honest, think about). I’d like to tell you I’m going to chill out about it, but I also like not lying to your beautiful faces.
Plus, I don’t know, I feel like ensuring we have a place to live in three weeks is an okay thing to obsess over a bit.
In the name of OPTIMISM, I can tell you that we’ve switched tactics a bit. Inspired by the lovely Emilia’s suggestion (and, okay, my husband’s subtle requests to look at apartments there) we are officially focusing on Astoria. Why was I resisting Astoria? I don’t know. People who live there seem to love it. And, you guys. You can get so much more for your money. So that’s the new plan.
I’m hopeful that we’ll have a place by the end of the week. Please think good, apartment-finding thoughts for me.
ANYWAY. Once we actually find the place, the fun part can begin. And of corse I mean fun for me because I’m talking about decorating the place.
Hopefully once that starts, my posts will stop sounding so crazed. (Probably not.)