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An Open Letter To Everyone Selling Furniture On Craigslist

Craigslist's furniture category has really just become an overpriced graveyard for Ikea furniture, where everything is "vintage." If you even think about selling, I'd like a word with you.
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Antique Chairs on a table at flea market of Tel-Aviv
Antique Chairs on a table at flea market of Tel-Aviv

Selling on Craigslist? I'd like to have a word with you.

I get it. It's hard to part with the stuff we collect in the day-to-day life, especially if you're one to hold on to (read: hoard) anything vintage. Or, if you knew you paid a few hundred (or even over a grand) for that sofa in your living room. But clutter can mean cash, so away to Craigslist you go.

No problem there.

But the thing is...your stuff, nine out of ten times, isn't worth as much as you think. For instance, that floral sofa bed set that has been with you since the first Bush administration. It is worth far, far less than, say, $190.

craigslist furniture

Seriously. Ask yourself: If I moseyed into Pottery Barn (or even Raymour & Flanigan) would I pay that much for that aged floral print fabric? No. I don't think you'd even accept it for free. Which is why you're selling it on Craigslist.

And don't get me started on finding Ikea furniture. It's everywhere. Craigslist's furniture category should just be called "Secondhand Ikea." First of all, no one *really* wants Ikea furniture. Usually it's a compromise or the panicked buy at the last minute. Sure, there are really cute things there now. But we all know that the stuff chips faster than the rarest of Victorian dolls. And after the crazed trip (battling through hundreds of families who treat Ikea as a viable form of entertainment), the assembly process and the inevitable exchange, paying $50 for a new Ikea table starts to seem a little steep, no?

So why do you honestly think someone will spend $50 after it's been in your house for years? Or that they would want to give you $270 for the privilege of taking an Ikea couch that, statistically, you've probably spent at least three sick days on? Especially if it appears to be velvet?

craigslist furniture

I mean, I'm still regretting spending $500 on a "starter" sofa from Ikea that lasted me five years before the arm inexplicably departed from its frame. The polyester cushions have since reconfigured into some sort of interactive art piece. Yet I wouldn't expect anyone to buy it off of me. In fact, I would pay somebody to take it away from my house.

But what's that, you say? You indeed have rare and priceless antiques, just hanging out in your home?

Nope, you don't. You just have a small cabinet from 30 years ago that you'd like to receive $525 for. 30 years ago, it was 1983. There was nothing that came out of the furniture design realm that would be worthy of that amount, in 1983. Unless Michael Jackson danced on top of it in the 'Thriller' video. And even then, its worth is debatable.

craigslist furniture

While we're at it, let's discuss the use of the word "vintage," which peppers the Craigslist furniture listings like a form of Tourette's. Instead of describing an item that's over 30 years old and stylish enough to be desirable, the term has now become a catch-all for anything dusty and unwanted. It could have been purchased at Urban Outfitters last week. Now it's "vintage."

So let's be real. Furniture loses value immediately. You know how they say that a new car loses half its value when you drive it off the lot? It's worse for furniture. Once it's in your home, you'd be lucky to one day get $20 for the thing. (Unless it is honest-to-God midcentury modern, where well-meaning people will line up to buy it, blog about it and then sell it once they have children, repeating the cycle.) Most furniture today is little more than overpriced fake wood configured in whatever style most people would find appealing. And most old junk is exactly that...old junk. There's also the unavoidable fact that it's been in your house, collecting stains and crumbs. And no one knows if you've been lounging around in the nude on the sofa or chair in question.

Think about that the next time you put your stuff up for sale.

To see really strange Craigslist ads, check out HuffPost Home's slideshow below.


10 Strange Craigslist Finds

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