furniture

No More IKEA

The last piece of IKEA furniture is officially gone!

After much Craigslist searching, I finally found something that satisfied our needs. We have a lot of books and they need a home. This bookcase/TV stand was the perfect answer and at the perfect price, $80!

Within 24 hours, I replied to an ad, got a response, and had picked up our new TV stand.

new tv stand

We finally have a spot to keep all our cookbooks in one location. Before they had been scattered about the apartment wherever they could fit.

new tv stand2

Once it was set up, I was so excited that I just put books in any which way.

After a while, I added a few tchotchkes that were around the house elsewhere.

tv stand1

I am pretty happy with it right now!

Please disregard the mess of cords underneath, we have not gotten to organizing those yet!

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How To Be A Craigslist Boss: Part 1

I have bought and sold a ton of stuff on Craigslist.

Past roommates have even been found with it and that is a whole different story.

In fact, I furnished my entire dining and living room in DC with Craigslist items for under $400.

Below are two Craigslist tables currently hanging in our living room.

You can even find love on Craigslist and not in the Missed Connections section. My cousin met his now-wife through it because he bought her couch. Crazy, right?

Right now, I am searching Craigslist for a TV stand and dining table, but seriously you never know what you might find, which I think is the most fun part!

craigslist

Since I do most of my shopping lately on Craigslist, I thought I would put together a handy little list of tips for those who are new to finding and snatching deals on the platform.

1. How to Search Through Craigslist Crap Like a Boss

Search Terms

As I said before, I am looking for a TV stand, but I pretty much never just search “TV stand.”

So many different items can hold your TV. Some of the search terms I use include: “buffet,” “credenza,” “sideboard,” “dresser,”  and “media console.”

When looking for my kitchen table I either use just “table” to capture every kind or “kitchen table” and “dining table.”

Additionally, you can use the pipe key “|” to include an “or” in your search.

The Map Function

I find this most useful when looking for apartments, or when I am feeling particularly lazy and am wondering what people nearby me are selling.

craigslist3

Check “Posted Today”

If you are looking for something common, such as the kitchen table I am looking for, Craigslist is inundated with these items all day long.

And if you spend any significant amount of time searching for something, you will notice the same posts you saw yesterday after a couple pages. To see what is newest, you can check the box for what was posted today.

craigslist1

 

Knowing How to Filter

I also like to filter my results by newest posts instead of by relevance and price. The faster you can reply to a new post, the more chance you have to score that deal.

craiglist2

There are a couple other ways to filter out unrelated posts too. To remove spam, you can filter the price to a minimum of $2.00. I also like to only search posts that have images and to bundle duplicate posts.

2. Timing Is Everything: When to Search

Obviously, you can check Craigslist anytime you want, but there are certain times of the year that will yield more results.

  • When people move: at the end of the school year or the end of the month
  • After holidays: people get new stuff and need to make room for it
  • Weekends: for when people need to sell stuff ASAP

3. Location Matters

Some geographic areas are just going to have better goods than others.

Chicago being a major metropolitan area provides a lot more opportunities for there to be a bedroom set you are into and a lot more people to buy that weird coffee table you have been trying to get rid of.

For instance, I have a friend who was in the market for a vintage Coleman cooler like ours below.

cooler

He lives in Michigan and Craigslist did not have any listings for these type of coolers, but when I searched in Chicago, there were at least 5 available. I ended up getting the cooler for him here in Chicago and he picked it up the next time they were in town.

Stay tuned for my next post on selling on Craigslist!

Additional Resources:

We are Saying ‘Adios’ to Our Last Piece of IKEA Furniture

Back in college and the post-college days, K and I both had an assortment of IKEA furniture.  This included dressers, bed frames, coffee tables, nightstands, etc.

When I moved to DC, the easiest thing for me to do was pick some up from the IKEA in Maryland and lay it all flat in the back of our car (followed by 11 hours of putting it together). Then when I made the move back to Chicago, I sold all but one piece of it to the next person moving in.

 

That one unsold TV stand is now the only piece of IKEA furniture we have left in our apartment after selling a number of other IKEA pieces (aka K’s super wobbly dresser as seen below) shortly after we moved in.

 

dresser-for-sale

If you so much as poked this dresser with your pinky finger, it would wobble all over the place

 

 

Legitimately every other piece of furniture we currently own was previously owned by someone else.

For instance…

couch

Couch sourced from my aunt


 

coffee-table

Coffee table sourced from Craigslist


 

end-table2

End table sourced from Craigslist


 

IU chairs done 2

Kitchen chairs sourced from the IU Surplus Store & attempted to be refinished by me, but failed, so my dad helped


 

dresser1

Dresser sourced from Craigslist


 

dresser

5 piece bedroom set sourced from my Grandmother (50+ years old)


 

cabinet done

Metal cabinet sourced from a family friend and refinished by me


Not pictured are our kitchen table and mattress and that is mostly because I did not feel like clearing off the table to take a decent picture of it. The kitchen table came from a garage sale and was refinished by me, while the mattress was from a friend of K’s.

So now we are on a mission to replace the lone piece of IKEA particle board with something of a bit more quality, maybe something that won’t get instantly dinged up. Don’t worry, the TV stand will move on to another good home. My brother has his eye on it.

tv-stand

Lone piece of IKEA furniture left in our apartment, in what used to be a sea of MALM

The best part is that I love hunting for that perfect replacement piece. We are thinking of a midcentury modern lowboy dresser to provide us with some extra storage. Now it is down to finding the right one, at the right size, and the right price.

Sure, I could go online and order a TV stand that is made of particle board and will fall apart in 3 years, but I would so much rather have a real piece of furniture.

One that someone else loved.

I will be scouring craigslist, garage sales, and thrift stores until I find the perfect one. That will provide me with so much more satisfaction than just clicking “Place Your Order.”

My Favorites: Second Hand Things

I pride myself in having filled probably 75% of our apartment with second-hand things. I don’t really see the point in buying something brand new when there are plenty of other options out there.

There was a time when I was living in DC where my roommate moved out and took all the living room furniture with her. I was left to furnish it myself, and since I was on a budget, it all came from either craigslist or the dumpster behind my apartment building. I traveled around the District picking up a kitchen table and chairs, coffee table, couch, arm chair, and end table. All without a car.I ended up furnishing the entire place for under $250.

Now that I am on to my next apartment, it is no different. I love having pieces that are old, tell a story, and remind me of how I acquired them. As much as I love Home Goods, I would much rather have knick knacks that have a meaning/purpose.

These are my favorites:

Our copper bottom pots and pans were a wedding gift for my grandma and grandpa in 1953 and still going strong! My cousin used them for a while after college and now I have them! A little copper cleaner and they still look and work great.

copper pans

The metal cabinet was found while scrounging through a family friend’s warehouse that needed to be cleaned out. Read more about its transformation here.

cabinet done

Our couch was originally my aunt and uncle’s. Their labradoodle, Murphy, had a specific spot he would sit in and you can definitely see that spot in the leather.

couch

The blue end table was bought on craigslist in DC. I took the metro out to a part of the District I wasn’t familiar with, picked it up and walked a couple blocks with it. Once I found a taxi, I shoved it in the trunk and headed home with my new find. It needs a new coat of paint and then will look brand new!

end table

These pillows came with the couch I found on craigslist in DC and they were super ugly, but I did not want to get rid of them so I just got crafty. Can you tell I was homesick for the Midwest?

pillows

The bedroom set was my other grandmother’s set that my dad had refinished. Since she has passed away, it is a nice memory of her and makes my mom happy that it is being used. It is also quite in style now!

dresser

A bowling pin my parents picked up at the Randolph Street Market because they thought I would like it and an IU 1976 NCAA Champs 7Up bottle I found at a garage sale in Indiana. Go Hoosiers!

bowling pin and bottle

Rival Ice-O-Matic ice crusher that was in my grandmother’s basement and thought was super cool looking.

ice o matic

Vintage Coleman cooler we searched for and found at the Elkhorn Antique Flea Market. Right now it is being used for storage.

cooler