When I was in high school, my favorite poet was Keats. I was drawn to his poetry because, well, mostly because I could understand it. And I think I thought there was something terribly romantic about being an English poet, dying in your mid-20s of tuberculosis and then being buried in Italy. Times have changed. Well, maybe not, but I’ve certainly changed. Now my go-to poet is more Yeats than Keats and I get more excited about couches than Grecian urns. And while Italy still makes me weak in the knees, being buried there is not something I like to think about.
All of this leads me (rather circuitously if, really, at all) to my love affair with Craigslist. Let’s leave aside all of the creeptacular and sinister parts of the website and concentrate, instead, on all that is good and golden about the free service for the greater good. I am talking about the “for sale” section of the site. I admit it makes me a smidge sad when I think about how much damage Craigslist has done to the classified ad revenue stream of the local paper, but the service it offers is so much better, it’s hard to feel too bad about it. It’s not like, say, the guilt I have felt when I have used Netflix over Video Station. Netflix offers convenience, but it’s hard to argue Video Station doesn’t have an excellent product – a vast selection and sometimes a very knowledgeable staff. Craigslist, however, offers things the ad section in the paper can’t. For one, it’s free. This makes it one million times more accessible and gives its consumers a million more available products than any pay service. What used to be a piece of furniture you would give away to St. Vinny’s to unload or, heaven forbid! the curb, has now become available for anyone perusing the web to purchase. For two, it’s updated constantly so there is no waiting to see what tomorrow’s edition will bring. For three, and I suppose this relates to the gratis nature of the site, the seller can put up multiple pictures of the product so that the buyer can see just what it is that is being pitched. Genius. Anyway, the site is pretty much the greatest and it has really helped me out in a couple of ways.
See, I can get a bit neurotic. I know that this is probably a shock to most of you and I probably should have suggested you sit down before unloading such a heavy revelation on you. I apologize. But it is true: I can get a little nutty. This manifests itself most regularly when it comes to organization or, my personal dread, having too much stuff. Where this really can come to a head, though, is when I insist on redoing a particular part of our condo – whether it be a closet or the basement. You see, I will decide that new things must be brought in to combat the old and that means, you guessed it, the old must go. As I have gotten older, however, I have fewer and fewer pieces of furniture that I feel comfortable just discarding. Gone are my cardboard-like end tables and mouse-eaten couches. What’s left has been mostly nice things, even if they are not necessarily my taste. So I would feel guilty if I dumped them off somewhere or tossed them in the trash, but I really can’t stand having them taking up my precious square footage. This would be a problem were it not for the bright, shiny knight of Craig and his List. See, with Craigslist, all I have to do is take a few snapshots of the whatever-it-is, upload the pics to the site, write a description, set a price and voila! I am in business.
And that’s just what happened recently. After redoing our basement, we ended up with the following ‘extra’ pieces of stuff: a treadmill, two end tables (one from Pottery Barn, one from This End Up circa 1989) and the cool mid-century sofa you may recall from this blog. The treadmill and two end tables sold within a day or two of me putting them up on the site. The sofa, however, took longer. My first attempt yielded a lot of inquiries, but no takers. I put the ad up again, a few weeks later. This time, a nice young woman came to look at it, but decided it wouldn’t fit in the space she had in mind for it. I waited a month or two and then I tried the ad again. You see, although Craigslist keeps your ad up for 45 days (if you want it to), once a few days pass, it gets buried on page 6 or 10 or 12 of the “for sale – furniture” list, so you might as well just take down the old ad and put up a new one. It’s free, after all. So that’s what I did. On Sunday afternoon. On Monday evening, a cute young couple came to look at the couch and said they were very interested. On Tuesday evening, the fella came back with his dad-in-law, gave us $100 and took the couch. Easy as pie. And it made me happy. I really loved that couch and I could tell that the couple that bought it loved it, too. They got a cool couch and we got $100 & more space in the condo. So, everyone was a winner. And now basement is clear of clutter!
Well, that’s not really true. But thanks to Craigslist, it’s one step closer to making me neuroses-free.