Craigslist tips

Although Summer isn’t actually here yet (June 20 is the official “beginning” of Summer) it sure feels like it! The past couple of weeks have had temps in the mid-high 80’s and a few days even spiked into the mid-high 9o’s! I gave up on conserving electricity, battened down the hatches and finally turned on the A/C. All this warm weather got me re-thinking my living room furniture arrangement.

The living room furniture has been arranged in a way that focused seating towards the TV while giving the fireplace its space. Watching my husband shower sparks across the hearth while tossing on logs definitely reinforced preserving a boundary!

But in case you haven’t noticed, we haven’t been having many fires indoors recently.

So I started playing with the furniture arrangement. Actually, there was only one other arrangement possible in our tiny living room that actually used the space efficiently. And so this happened:

(Notice the new TV cabinet? I’ll get to that in a minute!)

I nestled the oversized chair into the fireplace, breaking up what otherwise would be a perfectly symmetrical space. I have nothing against symmetry, but Summer is a season of constant movement- slashing my stodgy symmetrical space with a strong diagonal infused some of that energy into the room. I have to say, I am loving the new floor plan! Opening up lines of sight that have been hidden since we moved in gave me a serious high.

Not only did I re-energize the floor plan, I also added some new furniture. Craigslist had some fabulous finds this past week! Because of my attentiveness I was able to snag a large TV cabinet in great condition for $20 and an Ikea Ektorp couch less than a year old for only $135 ($399 at Ikea brand-new)!

Some people find Craigslist intimidating- it can be a great resource if you know how to use it properly.

Hannah’s Super-Awesome Craigslist Tips:

  1. Check daily. If you’re looking for something specific, check twice daily. People aren’t always good about taking down listings once items are sold and there’s nothing worse than finding exactly what you’re looking for and having it picked up hours before you call!
  2. Take cash. Even if you’re just going to look something over, have the cash in hand just in case! Someone might snap that treasure up while you’re in line at the ATM. (If you’re buying a big-ticket item like a car this doesn’t apply. Only for furniture, etc.)
  3. Be picky. If you’re in the market for furniture- especially upholstered furniture- pay attention to the condition of the home when you go to look at it. Is the home clean and taken care of? Your find will most likely be OK. Is the home dirty or was the furniture kept in the yard or garage? Saving a few bucks is NOT worth the risk of possibly bringing fleas, spiders, bed bugs, mold, or cigarette odors into your home! Go with your gut on this.
  4. Be smart. Predators exist, and even something as awesome as Craigslist can be perverted. Don’t give out your address if you live alone, people using Craigslist correctly won’t mind meeting at public locations. Take a friend or family member with you, and make sure someone close to you knows where you’re going to be.

That’s all there is to it! Let me know if you have something I should add to the list.

Back to my Craigslist story from last week. The TV cabinet had been on Craigslist for a few days and I watched the price drop from $40 to $25 (#1). I texted to see if they would take $20 for it- and they would. After hitting up an ATM (#2) I took my brother with me to pick it up (#4). The house was in a nice neighborhood and clean(#3). I have never liked the look of a TV sitting out, and our TV visually dominated our tiny living room. I had also decided that the bookshelf, with its books arranged by color, was just too BUSY. So the books were relegated to the hallway shelf, the bookshelf was tucked away in my closet as a pseudo-dresser, and the cabinet moved in.

And the sofa- ooh baby, I just love me some Ikea! The closest Ikea is 6 hours away, meaning that all I can do is drool over the website, shriek over the seemingly-exorbitant shipping costs ($350 to ship a sofa? REALLY?), and then resign myself to Pier 1 and Big Lots. So when my daily Craigslist Ikea search turned up an Ektorp sofa in perfect condition- well, it was just meant to be! We connected, agreed on a price and a pickup time/location. The apartment was clean & pet-free, but honestly, I wanted that couch so bad that a pack of incontinent Great Danes couldn’t have kept me away! (LOL…okay, maybe they would have)

The best part: the Ikea Ektorp is 100% slipcovered!! Before we even brought the lovely into the house I stripped and washed everything with bleach and Lysol-and-febrezed the base and cushion forms. With three couch-loving animals and a truck-driving husband who also enjoys yard work, these slipcovers are seriously going to save my butt. As of right now I’m planning on washing the seat cushions weekly and the others as-needed.

(Emma approves of the new couch)

(I still cannot believe I got the TV cabinet for $20. $20!! I don’t think I’ll ever be able to top that)

(Recognize that lamp? Yeah, it’s from the bedroom. The lamp I had on top of the bookshelf was too tall to fit on top of this cabinet, so I swapped ’em out)

While researching the Ikea Ektorp (and falling in love with it) I stumbled across a few blogs that were especially helpful.

  • has a good review of the Ikea Ektorp in a house with kids. She also posted a review two years later talking about how the couches have held up. I was really glad to see that, despite Ikea being touted as producing “cheaper” furniture, the Ektorp held up amazingly well.
  •’s posted here about the Ektorp and I got to see exactly how the couch looks dismantled, and learned more details about washing the slipcovers.
  • posted a helpful tip about keeping the large frame slipcover free of wrinkles WITHOUT having to use an iron- tumble dry the cover on low and then stretch it ver the frame while still damp. Good to know, as I refuse to iron anything unless there is a gun to my head. I followed her instructions to a T when washing my slipcovers- check out the photos and judge for yourself whether they worked or not! (hint- I think it did:P)

So that’s the story of how our living room went from this:

To this:

Ohhh yeah, that’s more like it;) Since taking this pic I have removed the blankets tossed on top of the chair & ottoman- I didn’t realize how schlumpy they looked until recently. Future plans include changing up the pillows and possibly replacing the rug? I adore the graphic chevron, but maybe a neutral sisal rug would pull the space together better, and bring in some earthy organic vibes. Just thoughts!



6 thoughts on “Craigslist tips

  1. Love the redo. Also, terribly jealous of the new(-ish) sofa. I love that sofa nad am planning on getting one. (soon?) I live about 20 minutes from IKEA here so my local craigslist is loaded with yummy IKEA finds. Just haven’t found a good deal on the sofa yet. Keeping my fingers crossed though. =)

    • I am so envious of your IKEA! I follow YoungHouseLove’s blog and they are always talking about the various light fixtures, blankets, rugs etc. that they find at IKEA. Right now I’m thinking about changing up my picture-frame living room wall by adding frames and re-hanging all of them in a more precise way. I would love love love more IKEA picture frames, but they don’t sell them on their website! So sad.

      • I hate hate hate it when they don’t sell stuff online. It makes things so much harder than it needs to be. (Especially when someone whants to buy you the thing you have been going on and on about for the last 2 months and still haven’t gotten off your butt to go out and buy and they can’t get to an IKEA because the closest one to them is several hours away. *Sorry & thanks mom*) I recently scored a huge stack of picture frames (many duplicates) at a yard sale. They had like 30 frames, and I think they just weren’t selling. They had the price marked down probably 4 times. I got all of them and I really nice crate that they were in for $1.00 (Could have gotten them free I think, but hey, it was just a buck and I think they were happy to have gotten rid of them) I know there are some places online that try to take advantage of the whole IKEA not selling certain things online. They buy like 20 of one item that is not for sale on IKEA’s site and jack the prices up (sometimes more than double) just because some people really want the item and can’t get to a store, and they sell. Blows my mind.

  2. You’re so right, it’s dumb! Scalpers, yuck. I hadn’t even thought about checking yard sales for frames- even if they were all different colors, spray paint would fix them right up. I love having matching frames (my living room frames are all white).

    Basically, I just need to go on a road trip to a place with IKEA. I have a girlfriend in Chicago, I should crash at her place and then go crazy shopping=P

  3. Pingback: House tour updates: Living Room | Cozy Crooked Cottage

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