How To

Craigslist Part 2: Selling

On a whim, I decided to sell most of our furniture. I was getting tired of having so much stuff, and I kind of like the idea of finding items from scratch for the Myrtle House (especially since that part of NC has so many amazing furniture finds). It feels SO good to get rid of unused furniture that is just collecting dust. Therefore, I have a few pointers on selling your furniture on CL. If you missed Part 1: Buying, here is the link!

1. Buffer your price
Everyone loves and has come to basically expect an awesome deal when buying off of Craigslist. This being said, know what you really want to get for your item, and then add a bit on top. If you want $200, list it for $250 or $225. People are going to want you to lower your price, and this way you will still feel comfortable with the price and the new owner will feel like they got a bargain. It's a win-win. You can always lower your price later on if it doesn't sell right away.

2. Take lots of detailed photos
There is nothing worse than when you go to get an item and realize it is not at all what you expected. A lot of times, buyers will back out. Make sure to take lots of photos of all angles.

3. Be honest
Is there a crack or tear in the item? List it in your description. It says a lot about a seller when they are honest about the imperfections. Plus, this will eliminate any potential problems upon pickup.

4. Try to meet in a neutral place
While I like to assume everyone is a decent person, this is not always the case. If an item is easily transportable, agree to meet the buyer at a public, well-lit place. This way the person will never know your home address in case he or she is a little crazy.

5. Hold your ground
Unless you have to sell, hold off on accepting low ball offers. Usually the person will either come up on their offer if they really want it, or another person will pay a better price. Sometimes multiple interested parties can start a sort of "bidding war" on your item and make closing the deal more time-sensitive in their mind. I like to say, "I have had multiple emails about this piece, so I probably will stick close to the asking price" when I get low offers. Usually works like a charm!

6. Add lots of product information
If possible, list all of the manufacturer bullet points. Always make sure to include the dimensions, too. I try to do a keyword list on the bottom of the ad to catch any random searches. For example, if you are listing a buffet, try adding console and sideboard to your description in case a potential buyer searches differently than what you might call it.

7. Offer delivery
If you own a truck or larger vehicle, sweeten the deal by offering to deliver the item if the person is somewhat nearby. A lot of people these days drive compact cars and may have a difficult time figuring out how to get that gorgeous six drawer dresser home in their Prius.

One of the items I am selling is this Campaign Dresser. Do y'all remember the Campaign Craze that happened a few years ago? Finding a Campaign was like finding gold. :) I have someone coming to "look at it" (grr, hate this!) tonight. Hopefully it goes to a good home this evening as I do NOT want to lug this monster back up the stairs. Drexel Heritage made some heavy furniture!

Elizabeth Burns Design | Tips for Selling on Craigslist

Craigslist Part 1: Buying

I am on Craigslist more often than I like to admit. I have a love for old furniture and repurposing items, and as you know Craigslist is the mecca for getting a bargain on a vintage piece of furniture. I thought it would be fun to share what I have learned over the years when buying on Craigslist and how to score the best deals.

1. Check often
Things have been selling so fast on Craigslist, so you have to be willing to put in the time to check often. I like checking first thing in the morning and late at night. A lot of times people post after work and you can usually check out the fresh inventory at this time.

2. Creative keywords
You may know that you are on the hunt for the perfect Campaign dresser, but the owner of your perfect dresser may have no idea of what it is called. Instead of only searching for "campaign dresser", trying searching for "old dresser gold hardware" or "Drexel heritage dresser". You may be surprised by how many other viable options popup and usually at great prices since the owner probably doesn't know what he/she has on their hands.

3. Travel
Sometimes it is worth it to travel to a neighboring town to get the perfect piece. If you live in a big city, the price on a piece of furniture is usually marked up higher than if you were shopping in a smaller town. I have saved hundreds by travelling an hour outside of the city.

4. Generic searches
While time consuming, doing a broad search can sometimes lead to great results. I searched "old bed" one time and after sorting through the hundreds of results, I found an amazing solid wood antique bed with curved headboard. Your treasure can be another man's junk. Put in the time and reap the rewards.

5. Haggle - to an extent
Craigslist is all about getting a deal, so it is important to to negotiate for the best price, but don't be insulting. If an item is listed at $600, chances are they will not sell the piece for $100. When making an offer via email, I like to use this wording: "would you be willing to take $xxx?" or "would you be willing to consider $xxx?". To me, if you just throw out an email reading "I'll give you $xxx" it can come across as rude and the seller may not want to deal with you. You never know, you may be in competition, and being nice goes along way.

6. Pick up quickly
Another way to close the deal on the piece you really want it to let the seller know you can pick up ASAP. Usually the person is moving or needs it gone, so the sooner you can declutter their home, the better.

7. Don't go "look" at an item
This is a personal preference, but I HATE it when someone wants to come take a look at an item for sale. If it is under $200, you should be able to decide to buy from the photo or not. Craigslist is not a store, and you should not go into someone's house to decide awkwardly in front of them if their item for sale is good enough. If you commit to meeting, you should just commit to buying.

8. Look at nearby results
At the bottom of the search results on CL, it will show similar items that are in nearby towns. Make sure to check these out! Usually they are not too far away and are often overlooked by other people.

9. Sort by newest
I love how Craigslist is starting to incorporate more filters and options, and the "newest" sort button is awesome. It will bring the freshest inventory to the top.

Any good Craigslist finds recently? Did I miss anything? I will post Part 2: Selling later on this week! In the meantime, I have to share these amazing dining chairs from CL with you that I so so so want. Someone please tell me I need them in my life.

Elizabeth Burns Design | Oval Cane Chairs - How to Buy Furniture on Craigslist

How To Clean A Chandelier | How Tos

I have bought a chandelier or two (or ten) in my lifetime. Rarely do I get my hands on them and they are clean. Usually the fixtures I stumble upon on Craigslist or in a thrift shop have been sitting in an attic for decades and are covered in dust and sometimes very old bugs. Gross. Not to fear - with a little bit of elbow grease and a LOT of glass cleaner, you can get even the grimiest of chandeliers sparkling once again - just like it did in it's glory days.

Lola was skeptical we would get this one cleaned up.

Lola was skeptical we would get this one cleaned up.

EB Loves Old Houses | How to Clean a Chandelier

The easiest way to clean a chandelier is to take it apart (if you can). Make sure to keep track of what parts go where. Also, try to make sure you disassemble the pieces on a soft surface just in case one of the crystals fall.

Once disassembled, place the glass strands and crystals onto paper towels and heavily spray them with glass cleaner (I used Windex). Once fully covered, gently rub the strands with another paper towel. I have found it helps to grab one end of the strand with a paper towel, and pull down to wipe off the entire strand. Please note, the chandeliers I have used glass cleaner on were not heirloom type chandeliers. If you have a fine antique fixture or true crystal chandelier, please consult with a professional before using any chemicals.

EB Loves Old Houses | How to Clean a Chandelier

You will be amazed at what kind of dust and debris will wipe off those pretty crystals! I also ended up spray-painting this chandelier to tone down the 90s brass - taking off the crystals to clean them makes painting the metal a breeze.

EB Loves Old Houses | How to Clean a Chandelier
EB Loves Old Houses | How to Clean a Chandelier
EB Loves Old Houses | How to Clean a Chandelier

This thing has so much sparkle! If you see an old, dusty, brass chandelier in a thrift store, don't be scared off! Almost anything can be brought back to life with a little love and time.

If your chandelier is already installed, the best method I had found is to put a towel underneath the fixture, and spray glass cleaner directly onto the crystals. Then, wipe down the chandelier strand by strand being careful not to yank too hard. The towel will absorb excess cleaner. I usually end up doing a deep cleaning about once a year.