How To Craigslist

BY ADRIENNE TOTORO

We've all been at this point in our lives: You're no longer living in a dorm or your charmingly decaying college party house. You've thrown down more money than you've ever seen in your life to sign the lease on your first "adult" apartment. Congrats! As the situation and the emptiness of your pocket begins to hit you, you start to realize that you better find some stuff to actually fill this grown-up, adult space of yours. Gone are the days of sleeping on a mattress on the floor and using your Target side tables of freshman year. You're (kind of) mature. You're (somewhat) employed. You’re (trying to be) an adult. And now you need to start (pretend) acting like it and invest in your future, whatever that means.

I know you’re cringing at that word - invest. However, what if I told you you could start to build your-so-called-adult-furniture-life without compromising your happy hour plans?

This, my friends, is the land of Missed Connections, ticket scammers, and the worst UX design since 1997:

Craigslist.

Give it a chance! I can't tell you how many times I’ve flipped through MyDomaine or Apartment Therapy to spot an incredible piece that credits a "Craigslist find."  You never know what you are going to stumble upon and and how much money you can save. Wave goodbye to the overpriced and over-saturated West Elm or Pier One and say hello to the unique pieces that constantly flood Craigslist to gain a shit ton of cool points while building your collection. Here’s how to start: .

1. Make sure the proximity from your zip code is less than 2 miles if you don’t have a car or a friend with a car that you can bribe. You have to be cognizant of how you are going to get your score back to your apartment one way or another. If you find Uber SUV with enough patience to deal with you, that works. But sometimes you might have to be more creative, like renting a dolly from the UPS store or promising your friends some booze to borrow their muscles for a minute. If you do have a car, disregard this and be grateful.

2. Understand there is a lot of things on Craigslist: cool, creepy, bizarre, and then the downright incredible. Think of it as your favorite vintage store, sometimes you just have to dig a little. It helps to narrow down specific items you are looking for: ie lighting, headboard etc. Don't limit yourself with specificity too much at the beginning, or you could skip out on some great finds. But narrowing down to the item you’re searching for makes it less overwhelming.

3. Search by particular interior style to filter out the trash. You'll never go wrong typing in "Mid-Century," "Art Deco," "Industrial," as those are often the top chosen keywords for things that you would actually want.  If you are an interiors nerd like me, it also helps to look up particular brands that you know you like such as "Knoll," "Restoration Hardware," “Crate and Barrel” for example.  Even if the pieces that pop up aren't authentic, you can find "inspired by" pieces for a fraction of the already ridiculous Craigslist price.

4. Bargain! A lot of times owners are moving and on a time crunch. You would be surprised at how flexible some people are with their listed prices. It never hurts to ask and see what you can squeeze out, especially when the post has been live for a few days.

5. Search ”Moving Sale” to see a variety of items being sold by the same owner. This is especially helpful when you’re moving into a new place and need a bulk of items, and gives you an upper hand in taking multiple items off a single person’s plate for a much cheaper place (be sure to bargain before!)

6. Last but not least, be aware of the quality of your Craigslist gems. Ask all the questions. Be smart. In big cities, bed bugs are a thing, so for God’s sake, use the money you save on your other times to buy a new mattress. Ask if what you are buying has been cleaned. Ask if it is structurally secure. If it is more of an investment piece, ask if you can see the item for yourself before throwing down the money. Craigslist can be awesome, but take note of minor imperfections or repairs that will be needed. If you can be smart about those things, you can strike Pinterest gold.

7. Always remember, patience is a virtue. You can't expect financially or logically to fill an entire space with things you love immediately. Take your time. And if all else fails, look at the below sites to help out as well:

aptdeco.com

etsy.com 

Housingworks.com

Chairish.com

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