We’ve all been there: staring at an old piece of furniture in the corner of our room – either about to move or preparing to seriously splurge on something new. But, ah…what to do with the old? For those of you who respond with “give it away,” let me address you first: I’m not made of money. So, pain-in-the-butt or not, I am definitely not giving some stranger a couch that required my entire life savings and then some to buy. Also, I’m not an economics expert, but…have you ever been furniture shopping? If you have, then you’ll know the blood, sweat and tears involved. Every time I’ve ever been I go into the situation thinking there is no way it will take more than thirty minutes. Then, once I’ve scoured the stores, told salesmen my life story and signed my life away via a process that I swear is more complicated than being named the President’s body guard…I usually have to end the day with a shameful (but completely necessary) trip to Chipotle. Two burritos please…and STAT. That being said, I cannot just give my furniture away…it’s simply out of the question. I’ve spent resources like time, money, energy and my precious sanity.
Needless to say, in the past I’ve been confronted with a question most modern folks have to ask themselves at one point or another: to Craigslist, or not to Craigslist? While I understand Craigslist’s draw (it’s widely used, fast and relatively easy), I also understand its sketchiness. I mean, I want to pocket some cash, but do I really want to deal with people trying to sneakily gain access to my bank account? Am I brave enough to let a stranger into my home to retrieve the furniture for sale? Could I really use the steak knife I’m hiding in my back pocket, just in case? Will the buyer think I’m the sketchy one if they notice a steak knife in my back pocket?
Move Loot: Move Loot isn’t in the DC area yet, but since they’ve conquered nearby east coast cities such as Raleigh/Durham and NYC, it can’t be long before they are in the District. Their business model is similar to selling through a consignment shop. Initially, customers submit their furniture for appraisal (through pictures), then Move Loot picks up the furniture. From there, the ball is pretty much in their court – they take professional photos of the items and post them. Once it sells, you get a payout equivalent to some percentage of what they sold it for. Less work, less money…but still money – it’s a win-win.
OfferUp: If you want to set your own price and take all of the profits, but you are concerned about safety, OfferUp might be your best bet. Their set up is similar to Craigslist, although their layout is much more visually driven. You can even just take pictures with your phone, log into the app and have a listing up in no time. As for safety, they have created a “TruYou” system. Sellers and buyers can scan their ID to have their identity verified, with verified sellers highlighted in blue throughout the site. As an added bonus, they also have a rating system so buyers and sellers can have better expectations based on others’ past encounters. For example, rating criteria might be: Was the other person friendly? Was the item as pictured? Were they easy to work with?
Chairish: Chairish is kind of like Craiglist’s snooty cousin. Their website claims they accept “vintage and used furniture” but they go on to say:
“…many pieces listed on Chairish are designer, custom, antique, or high-end modern and vintage pieces from the likes of Knoll, Herman-Miller, Christian Liagre, Ligne Roset, B7B Italia, Chanel, Hermes, YSL, Miriam Haskell, etc. We also love non-branded items with great character.”
Chairish deals with all of the logistics – including shipping. They have a minimum listing price of $75, and pay sellers up to 80% of the sale amount, less any deductions due to shipping arrangements. For example, on a $1,000 dollar sale without any permitted deductions/returns, the seller would make $800 and Chairish would make $200. Even though this is like the used version of my Pinterest page, most items are still out of my price range….sigh.
Whether you choose to Craigslist or not…at least you now know that there are some alternatives out there. Just because you don’t want to give up completely with a sad sign on the curb that says “take me” doesn’t mean that you have to risk selling to an axe murderer. You’ve got options. Plus, it just feels better to list your item on a site that isn’t so egotistical (I’m looking at you, Craig). If you do go with Craigslist though, don’t forget my handy trick: steak knife in the back pocket. It’s a wild world, guys – good luck out there!