Monday, October 12, 2009

A little walk down craigslist memory lane.

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Craigslist has only been in our area for a couple of years now but I love it with a passion only comparable to fabric and flour - and that's saying a lot. When Mr. Maricucu and I packed up in Miami to move to North Carolina we left all our furniture with my parents to be sold off and we arrived in North Carolina with a bunch of wedding gifts, an amazingly well stocked kitchen, an airbed but no couch, tables, you name it. As a newlywed I was itching to find furniture and for our home. But we weren't exactly living high on the hog and we both realized it would take time. In the meantime I scoured secondhand shops, our flea market and the classifieds in the paper but classifieds don't have pictures and the secondhand shops around here wanted hundreds for peeling, 70s style dining sets that smelled like musty cigarettes.

So I cobbled together some pieces that included a vintage dining set from the flea market which I intended to paint and recover the chairs (I didn't) and a set of matching bookshelves one of which is pictured above. We did eventually buy a new set of couches as well but my saga with couches is a story in itself. Those bookshelves were bought on sale at World Market one autumn about 8 years ago to store our serving/baking pieces that did not fit into our tiny apartment kitchen. I was ecstatic since the bookshelves were solid wood and finished in the back (with hardwood backs too) which meant they were used in the dining room, then the office, then the bedrooms and lately in our living room.

About six years ago in what can only be called a blessing my parents gave us a bunch of furniture which they were phasing out. We used the heck out of our inherited dining and living room furniture. It was only last year that we sold off some of those pieces in order to buy a few pieces more suited for our now energetic kid-filled home. Don't get me wrong, I loved the furniture my parents had so generously given us but white damask covered dining room chairs don't mesh well with little boys learning to eat and OCD mommas. Why last year? See I was pregnant, going a little nesting crazy. Oh sure I did a good bit of sewing and buying baby items to prepare for the little girl's arrival but I realized that soon my minivan was going to hold three carseats and that my days of being able to buy on my beloved craigslist and just shove it in the back of the van were ending soon. Over the course of a couple of weeks I sold our coffee table, end tables, couches, dining room table, china hutch and a set of side chairs so quickly on craigslist that Mr. Maricucu was afraid to come home and find out what I had sold next. The poor guy dutifully shuttled all over our town picking up pieces I bought with the money we made off those previous sales.

First, the dining room set. A guy posted this one afternoon from across town and in a first for me, told me that it was first come first serve. Ay! Ay! Ay! I hussled my 8 month pregnant belly and readied the boys, headed to the bank for some cash and drove the 45 minutes as quickly as I could all the while calling the seller about three times to see if someone had beat me to it. Thankfully, no one did and I bought what is a super solid, hard wood, oval table with a removable leaf and six chairs. For $100! Of course, that 8 month belly did a number on the seller and he kindly loaded up the whole thing for me in the back of my minivan. One day after the kids are done banging it up good, I'll refinish it but for now I admire my not-covered-in-white-damask dining chairs that wipe up like a dream and put up with all our art projects.

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Next, the china cabinet. A seller posted this one evening for $50 and I stumbled across the ad within 10 minutes of his posting. I couldn't believe my luck since after selling the wall unit that came with my parents' dining set I was in need of something ASAP. Also, all hard wood with a rustic finish (read: banging kid friendly), four feet wide and seven feet tall so enough capacity for the dishes I needed to store. Only hitch? Someone beat me to it. Another lady emailed him instantly but he told me he'd let me know if she didn't show up to buy the unit.

Gah! I moaned and whined to Mr. Maricucu and even emailed the guy again to offer him a little more if he would sell it to me. I had priced a piece like this and I was finding nothing of this size in our price range. No go, seller was going to wait until the next day for the first responder. I wrote it off and kept looking. But then, a ray of hope! The seller contacted me the next evening saying that the first response did not buy the shelf. Turns out the guy lives in a third floor walk up apartment. Um, yes three flights of stairs. Of course that first lady backed down. Never fear, Mr. Maricucu told me he'd take care of it so for $50 he dragged this corpse down the three steps with the seller's help and shoved it in the back of the minivan with all the seats removed. He had to tie down the tailgate but it arrived in one piece and tada! I now have a super functional piece that fit like a glove in the only spot in our dining room with enough wall space.

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Next up, my sewing desk. Now this was a needed yet impulsive purchase. This desk is huge, heavy and all one piece, none of which I was aware of when I responded to the ad selling it for $20. But I envisioned a solid desk where the machines could run without vibration and enough room for both machines side by side. Again, I showed up with the belly in tow and paid for my desk. The kind seller and his teenage son both loaded it up for me but we quickly realized that the desk was about 10 inches too long for the van. Ugh, all I had was some thin nylon rope and no bungy cords to secure the desk itself. They wedged the desk in tight, I tied the tailgate with the nylon rope and said a prayer. I drove about 10 miles under the speed limit down all the back roads I could find on the way home and the desk managed not to shoot out of the back of the van like a missile. After rolling his eyes at yet another impromptu craigslist furniture purchase Mr. Maricucu took three inches off the legs for me with his saw and I now have the perfect height desk for my machines.

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Which brings me back to the matching bookshelves. With the baby being quite the whirling dervish lately keeping the books and shoe baskets on these shelves was not working out for me. Every day she would pull all the books off the shelf (which I eventually blockaded with a baby gate) and then would move on to emptying the other bookshelf where I kept baskets for hats/gloves/shoes. She would take the living room from neat to crazy in under five minutes and I was d.o.n.e. I gave Mr. Maricucu fair warning that I was now on the prowl for a tall bookshelf and that I would be selling these two.

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Much to my delight this ikea expedit unit plus four baskets was posted for $95 within 24 hours of me beginning the search. From my lips to God's ears, huh? The seller had posted the ad in the evening and I pounced on it. I was the first response! Happy dance indeed. I picked it up the following evening, put it back together and put all the books on a level that the baby cannot reach, yet the boys can. I even had space at the top for my library books, their board games, art supplies and my knitting. The lower two levels still hold baskets with our shoes and some of the baby's toys but I can put up with her strewing shoes vs. books anyday.

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See the books???? No baby hands to be seen, nor their handiwork. Sigh. That's what I do when I walk by and see the organized hub of our living room. The two bookshelves that had been with us for over eight years? Sold on craigslist ironically to two sets of couples just starting out on their own as well. May they be as much of a blessing to them.

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6 comments:

Sabrina @ my little slice of pie said...

I'm addicted to CL too. Some of my best deals have come from there.

Marielle said...

Sabrina! Welcome! I love to see your sewing machine craiglist finds. I never seem to have the luck and when I do find them, the sellers around here want an arm and a leg for grandma's dusty/rusty attic special.

Denise said...

I can't believe you got that hutch for $50! Wow. Great and positive story. I love the ending!

Chula said...

My son does the same thing as your little one but with our cds and video games..LOL. You have definitely found some great deals!

Jessica said...

I liked it, you can find more Office Furniture from spacify.

Marielle said...

Denise, I was in shock myself. I priced a similar piece from a local workshop and it was going to be hundreds!

Delma, it's nice to hear Miss N. is on the same path as other kids her age. Yesterday I had to blockade the dining room because she's now climbing the dining chairs.

Thanks Jessica!