June 27th, 2012

Adventures in Craigslisting

This moving process has been full of Craigslist adventures since day one.

When we moved into B’s mom’s house, we sold most of our furniture on Craigslist. Luckily, that went off without a hitch.

When we decided to move to Florida, though, it got dicey.

Our first encounter was about a house. I believe this was the thing that pushed us to use a property management company. It was a great house, in a great area, at a great price. Right on the border of “too good to be true.” The owner, “Barbara,” had to move to the UK for work and was renting it out. Hey, it happens, right? I immediately emailed. “Barbara” emailed me back, not really addressing all of my questions, and in broken English. I tried to tell myself it was fine. “Barbara” was her English name. Like when Barack went by Barry or something. So I emailed again, reiterating my questions. Maybe she had a canned initial response.

Around the time I was waiting for a response, B researched online and found that the real Barbara had sold the house the previous year (for a very low price) to someone with a clearly foreign name (I couldn’t recognize or pronounce it.) “Barbara’s” emails said she had the key in the UK, and we were welcome to drive by and look in the windows, but the keys wouldn’t be sent until the deposit was received. Riiiiight. I told “Barbara” to call me to discuss it further or we were not interested. I don’t know why I even bothered with that, maybe I was just hanging on by the tiniest of threads of hope.

I got a voicemail from Barbara. AKA, an Asian man saying “Hello, this is Bar-bah-rah!” ‘Barbara” called right back after the voicemail. I told him that he was clearly not Barbara, that I would be reporting his posts, and he should not contact me again. I then hung up. He emailed back saying he was, CLEARLY, Barbara’s husband. I emailed back saying that he was actually “_____” (I copied and pasted the foreign buyer’s name I had seen) and that he was to leave me alone immediately. I reported all the rental ads I saw he had posted, and cried into many bottles of wine about how we’d never find a house. Obviously, that ended up working out. But it wasn’t my last experience with the Craig.

I’ve had good experiences, too. Sadly, our furniture situation is… notsogood. The living room, specifically. It’s a huge room (for us, at least) and all we have is a very small, uncomfortable, sunken-in leather couch, and a few odd side tables – all of which B’s mom was going to throw out but let us take instead. We found a great sectional on Craigslist, and are renting a truck to pick it up Sunday (fingers crossed it all goes well!) $200 for a sectional in excellent condition with a pull-out mattress? I’ll take it.

I also found us a new “stand” for our TV. Previously, it was on a sideways end table for lack of anything else. The wall is so large, I knew we needed something bigger. I found a beautiful, wood, six-drawer dresser to use as a TV stand… for $40!

(Clearly I’m watching Arrested Development, my new Netflix obsession on the Roku.)

The extra storage from this dresser will be awesome. I already took off the top knobs when cleaning, and plan to replace all of them. I also plan to paint the dresser when we get the colors for our room figured out. And while I’m at it, I want to paint the little accent stool/table that is to the right of the dresser- I’m thinking a fun, bright color.

We are also very short on lighting. The ceiling fans in our house, with the exception of our bedroom, don’t have lights. While we have some ceiling lights, they’re lacking. If we owned the house we could replace the ceiling fans, but since we’re renting, it’s easier to just add lamps. I found these on Craig too:

I got three of these (the third one is already in my office, so it isn’t pictured) for $25! It was an interesting trip to get there though.

The seller lives about 40 minutes from us, in a more rural area. I followed my GPS and headed down there… until I went off the road. Well, per my Garmin. Whose maps haven’t been updated since 2008. I had to use my phone’s GPS to find the alternate route… and ended driving down five miles of dirt road.

When I finally arrived, I saw the neighbor wave at me. I thought, “wow, what a friendly little neighborhood!” and proceeded to the house. I rang the bell… and met the seller’s neighbor. I had mixed up the seller’s address with mine and went to his neighbor’s house. The friendly waving guy was the seller.

Mortified, I hopped across the lawn and bought the dang lamps. Which are awesome, by the way.

Should the sale go as planned on Sunday, we’ll be in possession of a large, hunter green sectional. It’s a hard color to decorate around! With the help of my Twinner, my plan is to do a bold pattered curtain on our windows:


Two fabric choices (Swavelle/Mill Creek Indoor/Outdoor Gomer White Tea and Waverly Wonderama Toucan) that I found… I’m looking for someting bright, bold, and fun like this.

Then I could use colors from the curtains to choose paint for the TV stand/dresser and little side stool/table. I’ll also add some colorful throw pillows, like this inspiration photo I found on etsy:

(Pillows from woodyliana’s shop on etsy)

Hunter green is a hard color to decorate around, but when Craigslisting, sometimes you have to make concessions.

I can’t wait to show you all the progress as we decorate. I hope to have phase one of our house finished before September, as we’ll start having guests in the fall. What suggestions do you have for decorating while renting? And uh… anyone know a seamstress (sew-er? What’s PC here?) in Orlando? Because God knows I can’t sew and those curtains won’t make themselves.

15 comments to Adventures in Craigslisting

  • LOVE the new design! Looks so amazing. It took us a long time to get stuff together for our house and we’ve been in it for two years already. If you get some of the bigger pieces, you can always add more over time. Love the patterns and fabric though!

  • Kelly

    I need some practice, send the fabric my way!! :) Oh and if you really would prefer ceiling light, just add a light kit to the ceiling fans. Cheap, easy to install and you can always take them when you go whenever you move. Check the hardware store, but I think they’re only around like $20 or so.

  • I loooooooove Craigslist. I got our amazing wrought iron and glass coffee tables, 3 of them for $75. More recently, a beautiful wrought iron (notice a trend?) patio set with an umbrella, for $150, with free delivery. And a rockin’ tv stand for $35… oh and the vintage potato bin for $3. Yeah, I’m kind of obsessed. I’ve currently been stalking the craig for a headboard. I know what you mean tho about Craig experiences sometimes being horrible… we had this weird guy try and buy a turtle off of us (long story) and he would NOT leave our house until we allowed him to take a can of cat food. It was bizarre and made me think twice about meeting people at our house :|

  • I love those fabrics and it seems they will lend quite a few colors for you to paint items from! My aunt used to have green couches with yellow accents and it was nice and warm feeling!

    As far as decorating whilst renting I have found curtains really make it feel more homey as do some strategically placed house plants, we have three of them and they add a feeling of permanence somehow that can be hard to get in a rental.

  • Twinner

    YAY! This is so fun. I love creepy craigslist stories. It’s all good and fun until someone gets hurt. I am going to make you start taking mace!

  • Craigslist rocks most of the time, but like everything else some cheaters are on there!!! We have sold and “given away” many items on there! I LOVE the fabrics!!! Sorry I don’t live closer or I’d whip you up some curtains stat! I can give you pointers on some “no sew” alternatives to make curtains if you’d like!

  • Easy way to make curtains:

    Go to Walmart’s sewing section. Look for fusible hem tape. It irons on, no sewing required, and you have finished curtains. Get some rings with clips and clip them on at the top. Bam! Done. :)

  • I’m glad to hear you’ve had some good luck with Craigslist, at least with furniture! I’ve always been a little scared to go pick things up from strangers, so haven’t bought anything from it yet.

    And I LOVE the patterns for your curtains, specifically the one on the left. It’s going to look so fun! And as others have recommended, just get some Stitch Witch fabric fusible tape, and use your iron to hem your fabric. It takes a little longer than sewing, but is a great alternative if you don’t know how to sew!

  • Oooh love the fabric for the curtains! Those lamps, although an adventure to get, are super cute too.

  • we ended up with a leather hunter green couch… haha. at first it was shocking but now i kind of like it. we have green/beige throw rugs and then everything is nautical/beachy… like blues and greens. it doesn’t totally match but it does the job! ;) Have fun on craigslist!

  • […] (mostly wood- it looks like the top is laminate?) dresser for the baby’s room. Remember it as our old TV stand? I know some of you guys have experience with chalk paint – not chalkboard paint, but chalk […]

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