Monday, August 19, 2013

Monday + {Selling Your Things on Craigslist}

We're moving. Part of the reason that we're going to Europe on the dates that we are is because it falls between our life in Bellingham and our life in Seattle. Since we're going to be gone for over a month, that's a month of rent we're not going to be paying, a month of food and gas and utilities and all the miscellaneous expenses of living that add up. When you consider the amount it costs you to live anywhere for a month, the extra amount that it costs to travel doesn't look too bad.

Since the space we're moving into until we find stable jobs and an affordable apartment--a room in my parents' house--is a lot smaller than our current two-bedroom apartment, we've had to make a lot of choices about which pieces of furniture to keep and which to cut.

Gooligan and I have collected a lot of great furniture over the last four years; some of our current pieces are things we bought for our first dorm rooms, some of them are IKEA purchases when we moved into our apartment two years ago, some are hand-me-downs, and others are items salvaged from thrift stores or the curbside.

We are keeping quite a few things. For our roommate who is going abroad for an undetermined amount of time, we're holding onto a cute purple armchair. We're keeping our dining room set--a huge wooden table with black metal folding legs, a pair of colorful chairs that Gooligan is in the middle of painting/reupholstering, and a black bench. We're moving our bed, a wardrobe, a Spanish cabinet with a million useful drawers, a bookcase, and a cute green retro loveseat.

On an impulse one day, I put a few of the things we aren't taking up on Craigslist. I had never sold anything on Craigslist before and wasn't quite sure what to expect. But I wrote a clear, honest description, snapped a few pictures, and priced fairly--and my item sold within hours.

It's not always that easy, of course. You have to know your market, for starters; people are in desperate need of cheap furniture on a constant basis in Bellingham, especially during the end of the summer, when everyone it seems is moving into a new apartment, or students switch to off-campus accommodations for the first time. And sometimes schedules just don't mesh. Sometimes it takes a couple of days. Sometimes people flake. But if you give yourself enough time and price your items fairly, they will sell.

It can be tempting to hold onto everything, but the fact is that it's so easy to find hand-me-downs or cheap furniture from thrift shops, extended family, yard sales or free piles--or off of Craigslist when you really need it--that there's no reason to move all the miscellaneous bookshelves, side tables, etc. if it's not absolutely necessary.
 For non-furniture items, such as clothes, household goods, or books, we either sold or donated most of our clutter. 

For clothes, a lot of places that accept donations of gently used clothes will give you a coupon to their store, so if you need a couple of fresh items, or you're going to be changing dress codes with your job, this is a good way to save some pennies. Depending on the quality of what you're donating, consignment stores might take them, too, and they'll either pay cash or give you store credit. 

Books have a notoriously low resale value, but many used bookstores will offer cash or store credit (usually up to twice as much). If you can see yourself using it, definitely go for store credit, but if you just need the cash or you're moving out of town never to come back, don't get hung up on the cut you'll be taking in price.

If you do the hard emotionally-intensive part of the move now--whittling down your belongings to the essentials--then you'll thanking yourself on moving day. And if you play your cards ride, you can make a decent amount of cash. Treat yourself to something special--a weekend on the town with your friends, a special date with your love--or something practical--a couple of tanks of gas--or just put it in the piggy bank for your next big trip. Just think: your desk could pay for a night in Paris!


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