It started out looking like one of those days where it takes a whole pot of coffee just to sit on the couch.
After a weekend without that deep restful sleep that comes when you snuggle into your own bed, a couple of late nights, losing an hour to “Spring Forward”, freezing weather, and fitful sleep with a preschooler home sick three days with a temp, I haven’t exactly hit the ground running the last couple of mornings.
(OK and maybe there was one morning when it was no longer “morning” when my feet touched the floor.)
I blame the five-hour time change. . . and complete exhaustion.
On Friday, I drove out to my old neck of the woods to buy a console table and spend time with my parents. By Saturday morning my mom and I were out doing what we do best. Yard sales. I picked up three big organizer shelves for my laundry room. After figuring out how to get everything back home, I checked Craigslist for any last minute deals on Sunday and found a desk. Posted 39 minutes ago.
It was $25 and would solve an immediate need. I got there and it turned out there was a bonus/optional L-shaped attachment and I could have too if I wanted it. I did.
Fast forward to yesterday, when my husband came home from work. He settles in while I’m holding our sick daughter and surfing the Internet on my phone with my free hand. That’s when Craigslist offered up it’s third tantalizing furniture deal and I email it to him – a $25 entertainment center. Posted “.” I wonder if the price is a typo but call anyway. It’s for real. My husband switches places with me on the couch with our daughter. I take another mini-road trip and that amazing deal is ours.
Now I’m back on duty and back at my vantage point from the couch, a travel mug of dark roast Starbucks in hand, I realize that furniture is exactly what this house has been missing. Duh.
If I can just get someone to hold this child. . .
Because she wakes every time I put her down and has been completely “incapable” of doing anything on her own for the last 24 hours. She also has unreasonable requests; a little earlier today she was demanding that I change the color of the fire in our fireplace. . . and dissolved into tears when I told her I couldn’t.
Her mama is “ready” to get up and get a move on!
I’ve bought and sold a lot of furniture in my day. It’s part of what pulled me out of $74K in debt back when I was on the Dave Ramsey plan, having converted my living room into my bedroom, with a curtain on the door, so I could rent out all four rooms upstairs.
Everything that passed through my hands was for sale. And I’d continuously monitor yard sales and trash piles (yes) in the upscale parts of town for the next flip. When I’d taken on too many odd jobs and extra babysitting, I was often too busy to be home when people wanted to buy.
More than a few times, “normal sounding” folks who lived nearby responded to my Craigslist ads and, after talking on the phone, I realized they’d probably lose interest before we could match up our schedules.
I’d tell them I had family living next to me and watching out (I did, but further up the street) and to ignore the many roommates coming and going, and that I would be in and out all day but instead of trying to meet with them would just prefer they pick up the furniture off the porch and leave the money. And they did.
Dave Ramsey, the get-out-of-debt guru, calls this, “Getting a bigger shovel.”
I’m beyond grateful to be able to say that God blessed my efforts to get out of debt and debt has long been a thing of the past.
But I still find it hard to look at furniture as something I need versus something I can flip 🙂
I don’t actually know what I need because I’ve had a lifetime of training in how not to look at things in those terms (which makes it amazing that I got so in debt but that’s a story for another day). In fact, I can hardly imagine what it would be like to walk into a store and have the endless choices of colors, styles, finishes, configurations, etc.
Instead, I’m accustomed to seeing a piece of furniture and thinking, “This is 20 bucks and I can sell it for $100. It will fit in my car and I can move it myself. It will work for now. I’ll take it!” No brainer.
Since being out of debt and having a husband to support me as a stay at home mom, I’ve looked at buying and selling furniture on the secondary market as a way to try new things, upgrade, change up my look, and get the adrenaline rush of effortlessly doubling or tripling my money when something didn’t work out or after we tired of it. But I’ve done it a lot less frequently.
Marrying a protective, responsible, and sensible man put some requests for limitations on how I interacted with strangers on craigslist. And having a precious beautiful daughter caused me to add more of my own.
But nothing put on the Craigslist/Yard Sale brakes faster than moving across town (10 months ago) to a much smaller home and less opulent area.
I’ve done it hardly at all. And there have been only two trash pile finds in all of this time – a TV stand and a dog house. Both of which I snatched up gratefully. (More on this sometime later but I remember going to the dump with my dad as a girl and we’d end up dropping off a load of stuff but occasionally finding a treasure to take back home with us. And I was forever sold on trash piles when the neighbors across the street in Miami moved out and, as a child, and over the course of several days, I picked their growing trash pile.)
But it’s just not the same here. I’m not as comfortable with the neighborhood. Good Craigslist finds, garage sales, and active Facebook selling groups are just fewer and more far between. And with a much smaller house (which we wanted), I don’t have extra rooms for staging furniture. It’s easier to “Craigslist Free” things on the curb because anything we’ve toted out there is gone within an hour (including broken appliances, scrap metal, old paint, scrappy flower pots, odd collections of stepping stones, weathered toys, lumber scraps, and rickety furniture). (As part of our contract in buying this house the sellers were permitted to leave whatever they wanted out of a decade of accumulation.)
And of the few craigslist deals I’ve done, most have been with people who have driven a very long way.
But the last several days of my buying frenzy, despite the mileage, has me feeling “back in the game!” And I’m excited to get up off the couch and unload my new entertainment center.
And yes I’ll do it myself. Because waiting for my husband to get home would be boring. . . And because we have a furniture dolly 😉
Besides, as I like to say when I’m trying to fit a large piece of furniture in a tiny vehicle or haul something huge up a flight of steps, “Where there’s a will there’s a Rachel.”
But first, I’ll have to snuggle my sick baby girl until she falls back asleep. And get a just a little further into this pot of coffee . . .
But what about you? What great finds have you discovered lately?
I’d love to hear!