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How I Became Addicted to Craigslist

How I Became Addicted to Craigslist

Craigslist PhiladelphiaAfter recently downsizing from a 1250 sq-foot trinity with a roommate to a 500 sq foot studio solo mi, I realized I had to make some changes. And not just the ‘there’s someone living with me and now there’s not” changes.

From the luxury of having an entire living room, kitchen and ‘dining area’ to half the size, I too had to downsize. My dining room table was large enough to host Thanksgiving dinner. And two couches were more than enough for one of me.

Step one was to start selling furniture that I didn’t need. Although I wasn’t looking to make a ‘profit’, how did I part with things that I could use ‘someday’?

Various smaller items like excess cups, side tables and lip gloss kits went on my church’s flea market block. Once I decided I could put a price tag on the items, it was a LOT easier to part with them. Add dragging down to South Philly, the desire to hull them back lost any appeal. The non-selling items were donated to the American Cancer Society.

After starting to auction off my furniture, I started looking for my own swapped gear on Craigslist: Asian-styled room dividers, a bar table & chairs, and a new router/modem combination. The best part? I’ve saved hundreds of dollars just from buying these items lightly used. Everything has been in really good condition – people often change living situations, trade their furniture or realize they’d rather have the cash than hold onto the item.

Although I was nervous to meet strangers in person after the Craigslist Killer nightmares, all of the people I’ve met on the site have been super-friendly. One young woman had a dream job of mine and mentioned “I feel like I’m saying goodbye to my pen pal!” as I was packing up the kitchen table set from her apartment.

After the move and unpacking, I decided to pay it forward (have you seen the prices of U-Haul boxes?!) and list my moving boxes on Craigslist’s “free” section. The recipient worked at a school a few blocks away and was moving his family across the river for his toddler. As I helped load boxes into his car, I was happy to give the boxes another ‘reuse’ before their final destination at the recycling center.

Overall, I feel like a few weights have been lifted off my shoulders. And I may have gained a Craigslist addiction in the meantime, checking there for used items before buying anything new. I saved money as I redecorated a new place. I forget everything I ‘gave away’, which means I really didn’t need it or really care about it.  As Tammy Strobel from “You can Buy Happiness (and it’s Cheap)” argues, why waste time figuring out where your crap “goes”? Isn’t it easier to get rid of the excess rather than live by sorting through boxes?

Readers, have you found any deals or purged lately? What did you have to part ways with?

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Julie Hancher is Editor-in-Chief of Green Philly, sharing her expertise of all things sustainable in the city of brotherly love. She enjoys long walks in the park with local beer and greening her travels, cooking & cat, Sir Floofus Drake. View all posts by Julie Hancher
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