Save Money & The Planet: Why We Use Craigslist

The environmental argument for buying anything used is strong. An impressive amount of resources and energy go into the shipping and manufacture of new items. Buying a previously owned item, be it a house, car, furniture, clothing, or household item, avoids the hefty environmental cost of manufacturing and production. It also minimizes the distance an item travels, since most sales are local – you aren’t having materials shipped internationally to produce an item that is then shipped from a factory in Asia to a distributor in the US to a store near you or directly to your doorstep.

Buying second-hand items also saves money. Depending on what you are looking for, you generally save 30-80% off the new sticker price.

Those are the two main reasons we use craigslist. But there are more. We’ve been after furniture recently to outfit our new space, but most of these apply to anything,

  1. Because items cost less, we can afford significantly nicer furniture than we would buy new – solid wood versus particle board, for example.
  2. Many craigslist sellers have multiple items on offer, and will throw in freebies or reduce prices if you come to remove a dresser from their home before they move.
  3. It goes full circle – you can re-sell your used furniture on craigslist, often for a similar price. This is really handy if you want to change your look, upgrade to a larger kitchen table, etc.
  4. When you move, craigslist buyers come to you and take things away that you don’t want. They even give you money for this service.
  5. There is a sense of adventure that does not exist in a store. Finding the perfect item & negotiating a good price is surprisingly fulfilling.
  6. The possibilities are endless. During my furniture search over the past month I’ve seen a children’s dresser with a perfect meter-high depiction of the Frozen characters on it, vintage Coca-Cola products, a full set of lime green kitchen cabinets, and more.
  7. The opportunities are endless. Say you wanted all of your furniture to be white or turquoise. I learned a handy set of tricks over the past few weeks to make exactly  that happen.

Disclaimer – always be wise with craigslist rendezvous. Try to go as a pair during daytime hours. Don’t invite buyers into your home – have items ready to go by the door for them. 

Second disclaimer – I am willing to buy almost everything second hand – even Joey’s diapers. But I do draw the line at mattresses. We elect to purchase those new as they harbor a variety of yucky things.

Third disclaimer – I also frequent consignment and thrift stores, but I prefer craigslist when I’m looking for specific items (set of six wooden chairs, tile top table, etc) since you have so many more choices.




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