DECORATE YOUR HOME FOR LESS LIKE A CRAIGSLIST NINJA November 05, 2015 15:09

 

When I first came across Craigslist's site back in the day, I thought it seemed sketch to say the least.  I mean...just look at it.  No pictures, no pretty colors, just ugly blue boring type.  And who the heck is Craig anyways??  I need more information people.

Years later, after hearing so much about it, I finally decided to give it a shot.  I scoured the antiques and furniture sections for a classy vanity for my soon to be San Francisco bedroom.  I knew exactly what I wanted, but couldn't find anything with character in the stores.

Casually browsing CL about 6 months later, I struck gold.  There it was.  A gorgeous antique walnut vanity with cabriole legs, and a unique oval shaped mirror with floral details.  It was unlike anything I had previously seen and I had to have it.

It was a little out of my budget but I knew I'd keep it and love it forever.  I quickly emailed the owner to set up a time to come see it.  When the day came, I drove to the far ends of the Antelope Valley of Southern California to secure my prize.

Upon arriving and entering the house of the owner, I quickly came to 2 realizations:

 

1)  The owner was a smoker.  Like the entire house reeeeeked 

2)  The vanity was upstairs, and I had no one with me to help me carry it

 

I looked it over for damage and decided it was coming home with me.  Thankfully, the owner was willing to help me get it to my car.  I got lucky that time.

This was the first of many CL finds I would go on to purchase.  Of course this doesn't include the many apartments, and roommates turned friends that I've also found through the site.

While working towards CL Ninja status, I found that getting as much information as possible before actually physically getting in a car to go get something saved tons of time. (Who would have thought!)   

75% of the times I went to pick something up, there was an unexpected surprise.  Glass lamps were actually plastic, it was much heavier than I expected, etc.  Below you'll find some questions and tips that will SAVE you before you waste your time picking up your supposed dream find.

 

PLAN AHEAD

Negotiate a set price before you get there.  Unless you're good at that thing, if so, then by all means grind 'em down when you get there.  Oh, and bring cash.

Ask if they have pets or are a smoker if you are sensitive to that.  Or if you don't care if your shelf smells like smoke for the next year #truestory

Find out where the item is being stored.  Will you have to get it down 4 flights of stairs?  Is there an elevator?  

How will you transport it?  Do you need blankets or bungee cords to secure it? 

Does it come apart?  Bring tools to disassemble table legs, etc.

Have they had any issues with the item? 

And I ALWAYS ask:  Why are you selling it??

 

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE ITEM

What is it made out of?  Are you sure?  If they didn't say it in their ad then ASK!  Pictures can be extremely deceiving.

If it's wood (like a bookcase, chest of drawers, or night stand), confirm if it is SOLID wood or LAMINATE. Huge difference in quality, price, and most importantly, weight here.

Get the dimensions!  Kind of important.  Will it fit in your space?  Will it fit in your car/truck?  What about through the door?

How heavy is it?  If you're not sure, bring a friend.  Don't expect the owner to help, sometimes they can't.

Is it an antique or vintage?  Was it previously owned?  Is it valuable and are there tags or paperwork that they can give you along with the item?

 

OTHER TIPS 

If you are buying an old lamp, have the wiring checked.  No one likes a fire.

Find something you really want, then check CL to see if you can get a better price.  I just scored a barely used bike with free accessories because I did my homework and saw that the original bike site was having a huge sale and saved over $300.

Don't buy anything fabric that can't be washed.  That includes couches unless you're in a Fraternity.  First, it's gross.  Second, it's gross.  Third, bedbugs.  That's all.

 

In conclusion, buying furniture for your space on this site can save you tons of cash on things you may not have previously been able to afford.  Plus it's like fun recycling and you get to meet weird people. 

What have you scored off Craigslist?