When Craigslist Won’t Cut It

I’ve been having a rough time with my old friend, Craig lately. Usually he’s quite generous with me. But this past month he has been holding back! We have been trying to sell a couch, a coffee table and two end tables for a few weeks now with zero luck. Not even so much as a bite! Ordinarily I get some curious buyers within a few days of my initial post and then we discuss price and land on a deal. I think something must be wrong with my computer and the posts aren’t loading. That’s the ONLY explanation. I told my husband before we started this venture that I have sold every single thing I have set out to on CL with the exception of…our last couch. But to be fair, it was dirty and old. This one is new and clean and very nice. We ended up giving the last one to our old church because they sometimes store furniture and hand it off to homeless people when they get a new apartment and need some furnishing. That seemed like a great use for it.

This time around, we were determined to sell the couch to make up for the cost of the new one. Especially since we’ve only had this one for a year and a half, it seemed particularly wasteful to not earn a little money on it. You may be wondering why one would sell a couch so quickly after purchasing! Good question. It is too big for our living room. It is a sectional and takes up most of the space in the room.

We posted the CL ad on social media and got a ton of responses from people we knew, who we promised to cut a deal. Almost all of them were committed at one point or another and then backed out later. (Or stopped replying to messages–yes, that happened three separate times!) Then we had a “yard sale” that consisted of this furniture and a very few number of other odds and ends. Not one thing sold. So we went to five antique stores to try to sell the coffee table and end tables. No one bought.

The real question to ask oneself is for how long do you persist in trying to make money? I can store the smaller items for quite some time without burden, but the couch? It’s currently taking up half of our balcony and the cushions the better part of our spare room–which will soon to be occupied by a guest (as in tomorrow). How long is it worth this? A little pressure was added yesterday when someone from our former church saw the social media post and asked if we’d be willing to donate it to the church instead of sell it. I asked if she meant donate it to a person in need like the last time; but she said it would be for use in the actual church, behind the stage. My husband and I don’t know what to make of this–are we being called to be generous and give our couch away instead of sell? And is that really the best purpose for it if we are going to donate? And does it matter that we no longer attend that church (i.e. should we be giving it to our home church instead). We need to make the decision by today, which is hard because I have some resistance. But I don’t know if that’s my frugal heart calling out or something else. The flip side is, I don’t know if I can handle one more flaky friend saying “something came up” and they can’t buy it after all. Or they haven’t thought through how to get it. Huh? That’s literally the first thing I think of when buying something big. How will I get it home? Rent a U-haul. Done. That’s what we did for our new couch and it’s really not a big deal.

A lesson I hope to share through this is that maaaaybe you shouldn’t buy a replacement before you’ve sold the first thing? I mean, I don’t know, just an idea. But the problem with trying to get the best deal on things is often times you have to strike when the iron is hot or lose out to someone else. So, we’ve made our own grave. What would you do in my situation? Give up and donate or continue trying to make back the money you spent? Don’t forget we are not just losing what we spent on the new couch, but on the first one as well. What are you non-Craigslist ways of getting rid of unwanted stuff?


5 thoughts on “When Craigslist Won’t Cut It

  1. Furniture is so tricky to sell! I’ve found that unless I’m offering a super good deal on what I’m getting rid of, it won’t sell. Which honestly makes sense if the tables were turned: if I’m buying something used, the only reason I’m doing so is to get something on the cheap. Otherwise I could buy something brand new (albeit, perhaps not as good a quality… but Ikea sometimes comes through for me!)

    I’m not sure what you’re looking to sell your sectional for, but maybe in an effort to recoup the cost of your new couch you are asking for too high a price for people are looking for a bargain? I think donating your couch to the church is an admirable idea, but if you’re not quite ready to throw in the towel, maybe try posting a “flash” sale on CL or even your fb page to see if anyone bites in the next 24 hours at a “slightly used sectional for $100.” (Or something.) I know that can be heartbreaking, but at least it’s 100(ish?) bucks rather than nothing?

    Let us know how it turns out, I LOVE your blog!

  2. Is there a friend that can store it for you? Summer tends to be a slow time for furniture purchases, because people are saving their big spends for their summer vacations. People buy big furniture pieces (especially couches) in the fall or winter, when they’re going to be spending more of a majority of their time inside. Offer it to a needy friend to use for the summer (take a little money as a retainer, in case it needs to be cleaned), and then try to sell it again later. You’re probably just hitting a CL dry patch.

    Also–did I miss that you guys aren’t at Ecclesia anymore?

  3. Pingback: When Moving Isn’t An Option: Reinvent | Knuckles & Twine

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