When my partner moved in, we basically had duplicate households. He had been in the US for about 7 years at that point, and I had been here for 11. So! We had duplicate everything: 2x tables, 2x chairs, 2x couches, 2x beds, 2x TVs, 2x cars, 2000x misc cables, and so on. My condo was a mess when the movers first dropped off his stuff! (He himself arrived about a week later.)
We had to figure out what to keep, and what to get rid of. Neither of us have super nice things – think IKEA and Target. But it was still fun because we got to pick and choose the best of our stuff, so it felt like a free upgrade. At some point, we probably do want to upgrade to nicer versions of some things: namely, cushion-y things like our couch and mattress, where I feel that higher prices really can correlate to better comfort. But for now, we’ll make do with IKEA 🙂
After we decided what to keep, we had to figure out how to get rid of everything else. I’d been a pretty regular Craigslist user in my past (student) life, so I figured I’d try Craigslist first, and donate the overflow to the Salvation Army. (Although donation might’ve been a better choice from the start, since we don’t really need the money, and it would’ve saved time. I guess old Craigslist habits die hard.) In any case, this was the first time that I’d tried Craigslist out here in a less populated area (rather than urban areas like NYC / NJ), and it was definitely way more challenging.
I had a IKEA Karlstad, and my partner had a larger IKEA Kivik with the chaise attached. We decided to keep the Kivik because of the chaise. If you don’t have a chaise (the long daybed thing), get one! They’re sooo comfy. Actually, don’t get one, because it leads to many accidental naps.
Original cost: $500 ($400 couch + $100 shipping)
Sold for: $150
Owned for: 2 years
Depreciation: $175 / year
Comments: Ouch! My sofa was only 2 years old, but what can you do. I had to sit somewhere for 2 years, right? The couch sold fairly quickly, which surprised me, because the buyer had to bring a UHaul, which entails a level of commitment not usually found in Craigslist buyers.
In my past experience with Craigslist, electronics tend to get snapped up right away. Maybe because they’re “easy” upgrades, and portable? Surprisingly, though, the Samsung TV was the most difficult to sell. I posted it for weeks before it finally got sold.
One of the issues that people had was that it wasn’t a “Smart TV” with the built-in apps for Netflix, Hulu, etc. I usually just hook up my computer to make it extra smart, but I guess people prefer having this functionality baked in.
I even tried this new-fangled Facebook Marketplace, and my main impression is DON’T USE IT. I got way more random queries through Facebook Marketplace – about half of them were the default “Is this item still available?” auto-reply. And about a quarter of the queries were in Spanish! This really confused me… bilingualism is great, but my name is very Chinese, so I don’t know why on earth people thought messaging me in Spanish would make sense.
So in conclusion, Craigslist buyers tend to be more dedicated (although there are still flakes), because they actually have to pick up the phone and text/call you, rather than hitting an auto-reply Facebook message.
Original cost: $600
Sold for: $125
Owned for: 6 years
Comments: Just glad to get rid of this thing, finally! Surprisingly difficult to sell.
Original cost: $130
Sold for: $50
Owned for: 2 years
Comments: The buyer was a nice lady and her partner who were moving in together. I also gave them a free side table.
4) To Sell: Car
This is the last big-ticket item on this list, and we haven’t actually sold it yet, because we’re still arguing about whether to be a two-car or a one-car household. I’ve probably been reading too many personal finance blogs where cars are somewhat looked down on, but I’m all for selling one of them. Both of us work at the same place and typically bike to work, so we really only use the car for groceries and weekend roadtrips. Honestly, I haven’t even checked on my car in a few weeks (it’s parked in a different place), so hope it’s still there
My partner’s argument is that we might need a second car in certain special cases, like if family comes to visit. My argument is that for those scenarios, we can rent a second car.
We agreed to compromise by waiting for a while and seeing how many times need both cars. So far, count = 1 (that day, he drove to work, and I drove to the doctor’s office). So we are probably moving ahead with selling one of the cars.
Original cost: $5300 + $2500 in repairs over the years
Estimated selling price: $3000 to a private party, $1500 to a dealer
Owned for: 6 years
Comments: I’ve sold a lot of things on Craigslist, but I’m kind of wary of doing a big-ticket item like a car. I might go to the dealer to see what they’ll offer me, which will definitely be lower, but remove the hassle of finding a reliable buyer.
Some things we kept
There were also a few things that my partner and I didn’t agree on de-duplicating, and ended up keeping or finding another use for. I’m all for de-cluttering (got swept up in the Marie Kondo craze like the rest of the world), but sometimes two is better than one, right?
Bed: We kept the extra bed and put it in the second bedroom / office. I use it for naps sometimes 🙂
Toiletries: I know this sounds like a minor thing, but how many bottles of acne cleanser and shampoo do you need in the shower simultaneously? We have 2x acne cleanser and 2x dandruff shampoo, and that’s on top of regular body wash and shampoo (not shown). I asked my partner what is the difference between them, and he said some are extra strength and some aren’t. I really wanted to put some of these under the sink as reserves, but OK. They’re bottles in a shower, I’m probably being OCD on this one 😛
Camping equipment: We had about 5 sleeping bags and 2 tents. I wanted to donate these (when will our family ever be 5 people and require all those sleeping bags?), but my partner wanted to keep them, since they were new and in great condition. In the end, we did find a use for them: naptime in the office! Lol! We put two of the sleeping bags in my partner’s office, because he is teaching an early class this quarter and probably won’t be productive for the rest of the day unless he catches a quick nap afterwards. One of the perks of being a prof and having your own office, I suppose. I may also be guilty of office naptime…
Which things would you keep two of, and which would you get rid of? How do you manage de-cluttering with your partner or roommate? Any crazy Craigslist stories?