Friday, June 17, 2016

Craigslist Commandments

One of my all-time favorite Craigslist purchases - this green cabinet - was a diamond in the rough.

So I know almost everyone in the english-speaking world has heard of Craigslist - but to my amazement, I've discovered that a ton of my friends are not frequent buyers or sellers!  It's my understanding this lack of involvement usually stems from a lack of knowledge about the site and it's many intricacies - spoiler alert people, it's not rocket science!

I love the thrill of the treasure hunt, and just like estate sales, you never know what you'll find in you own backyard.  Truth be told, I have absolutely driven 40 miles away for a really great purchase, and I'm not ashamed.  I think my husband would probably kiss the ground I walked on if I swore off Craigslist for good (Sorry Mark, you married an addict) but I just simply can't give it up.

We drove almost an hour to get this little brass table once... I'm a woman possessed! 

I started Craigslist-ing when I was in college and have amassed a little set of "rules" I try to follow to ensure that A) I am always safe and B) I always find the best deals!  Below are my ten commandments of Craigslist:


1) Thou Shalt ask questions - If you are unsure about an item, it never hurts to ask for additional photos, measurements, details, etc.  I have purchased quite a few items that upon first glance were not so great, but looked much better from a different angle!

2) Use thy imagination - Craigslist is the ultimate place to find a fixer-upper.  I purchased the chest in my living room (above) off Craig's, sanded it down, added many coats of green glossy paint, new hardware, and voila! It's always important to remember that one man's trash could be your new treasure!

3) Thou shalt not pay full price - I ALWAYS offer lower than the asking price.  Typically sellers build a little wiggle room into their pricing anyways for negotiations (at least I always try to).  Even if they only knock off $5, I love the feel of a good bargain!

4) Pick up thine own purchases - this is a simple courtesy, but some buyers overlook the fact that the seller is not here to provide them with free delivery service.  Offer to pick up your purchase yourself, and if you simply are not able, offer some extra cash if the seller can provide delivery. Simple as that.

5) Limit thy communication to normal waking hours - nothing is more inconsiderate to me than someone texting me at 1am asking to buy one of my ads (I could rant for days about late-night texters).  I too enjoy a good Craigslist trolling session when I can't sleep, but generally I try to follow this simple rule: If I wouldn't text a client at this time of night/morning, I won't text a seller.


6) Thou shalt never advertise thine own address - this one seems like a no-brainer, but I have seen several postings that go something like this "I live at 1234 Sunny Rd and I'm not home from work until 5:30, so please don't come before then" - these people are basically begging to get robbed.  I arrange the pick-up time with my buyer, and have them call me when they are on the way. Only if I am home do I give my address - very simple.  I do like to provide a general area, cross streets, etc. so the buyer can have an idea of how far apart we are.  I think it should go without saying that this rule also applies to your children when posting ads for children's furniture, etc.  Perhaps I am just paranoid, but If I were the "Craigslist killer" I'd sure look for the seller with lots of kids in their photos...

7) Meet up with thy neighbor - I did a lot of Craigslist purchasing when I lived in my "single girl" apartment, and I did not want some random dude who may or may not be a serial killer seeing where my roomie and I lived... alone (do you sense a paranoia theme yet?).  In those days was a big fan of the "let's meet up at the parking lot of Target".  A well-lit area with lots of bystanders is key, and it goes without saying that you shouldn't do a meet-up after dark.  Bringing a friend along is always a good idea.

8) Have a man at thy house - this may be a little old-fashioned of me, but I always like to mention the fact that my husband will be home when a buyer comes over.  Even mentioning that your boyfriend, roommate, next door neighbor will be "around to help with the heavy lifting" is good.  Anything you can do to let a potential buyer know that you will not be home alone!

9) Thou shalt not accept personal checks - I always include "cash only, no checks" in my ads.  I assumed this was a no-brainer, until one day these really sweet girls came over to purchase a dresser from me, hauled it down two flights of stairs, loaded it up in their friend's truck, and handed me a check.  I had to awkwardly explain to them that I didn't know them from Adam and would they please pay me in cash. Laying your ground rules out in your postings can help smooth over an otherwise uncomfortable situation.

10) Do thy research prior to posting - Craigslist is not 1st Dibs.  It's not even Ebay.  You are never going to get as much cash for an item as you originally put into it.  It took me some time to figure this one out.  When I first began selling things around my house, I would ask way too much and the postings would get no traction.  Eventually I learned to research my market a little better before posting.  For example - if I have a small bench I want to sell, I take a look at what other sellers are listing their benches for and compare the condition, size, age, etc. to my piece.  I find that if I price competitively, my pieces sell pretty quickly!

Do any of you have any tips or tricks that I'm missing out on?  Hoping this post inspires you to do a little Craigs creeping for yourself!


Thursday, June 16, 2016

Summer To-Do List

CZ Guest at home in Palm Beach - Photographed by Slim Aarons

With a new season just around the corner, there's no better time to make a new checklist.  If you read this post, you'll have noticed that I tend to over-committ myself when it comes to these seasonal goals - hopefully I can check each one of these fun activities off the list by Fall!

1) Learn to Water Ski (finally) - This one might be a bit ambitious, but I'm hoping to make it out to the lake often enough to give it a solid try!
2) Celebrate our 1st wedding anniversary - They say your first year gift is "paper"... Do you think furniture counts?  Paper is made from wood... sales receipts are paper... I'm reaching here...
3) Set up my home office once and for all.  This room tends to get the short end of the cleaning stick (it currently houses everything random we own, my desk, and dog crates) so I plan to pay some extra special attention to it!  Now that I have been blogging for a few months, I need a more inspirational work space than my bed/sofa.
 4) Attend a "few" weddings - tis the season, and love is in the air! I'm so excited to be included in the nuptials of some very dear friends this summer.
5) Install new front door hardware - finally purchased! Just need it installed... hint hint, Mark!
6) Play more tennis - I fell off the weekly play-date wagon with some of my girlfriends during the colder months... now that we can play outside I have no excuse!
7) Finalize selections for the Traverse City project - I have a trip to Michigan planned for later this summer to do a little bit of work with the 'rents (oh and some play as well!)
8) Install an amazing new office at Chisholm Creek - this one is near and dear to my heart, and I can't wait to share the final outcome!
9) Master my grandmother's homemade peach ice cream - it wouldn't be summer to me without a taste of farm-fresh peaches.  I'll be sure to share the recipe!
10) Host a summer cookout for friends - I'm thinking casual burgers and tons of delicious sides like this and these. If you're intimidated by grilling your own meat (I always have Mark do it for fear I will undercook it) check out these must-have grilling tips that have helped demystify the grilling process for me!

What are your summer goals? 


Monday, June 6, 2016

Ikea Mammut Stool Hack

One of the top selling points of our house was the master "walk-in" closet... I say "walk-in" because it is still pretty small, but after years of apartment and college house living, I was thrilled with a closet that was actually big enough to fit my body inside - ah luxury!

The closet came equipped with some great built-ins as well as two lovely shelves that line the walls - great for shoes.  However, whoever designed this closet in 1963 made these lovely shoe shelves way too tall for this short gal to reach. I needed a little stool ASAP so I could stop climbing onto the opened drawers.  It needed to be teeny-tiny, but it also needed to have style. Oh, and it needed to be cheap, as hello, this is just a closet!

I frequently browser Ikea's website - I came across the MAMMUT series and decided that the little pink stool  would be the perfect jumping off point for my project.


I also have a plethora of Ikea's RENS sheepskins that my mom brought back from a recent trip to the Dallas store. When they make these available for purchase online, I will personally write a thank you note! 

 I decided that a combo of these two pieces would make one darling little step stool.  Below, is my step-by-step tutorial for what came next:

assemble materials:
  • MAMMUT stool 
  • RENS sheepskin
  • staple gun & staples 
  • Scissors
  • Hot glue gun 

  • Place the stool top face down on top of the sheepskin
  • Trace around the stool with sharpie.
  • Cut out your circle with scissors
  • You will have a few pieces of sheep leftover... keep this, we will use it later!

  • Using your staple gun, carefully attach two sides of the hide to the underside of the stool top.

  • Stuff your leftover hide scraps underneath the big hide layer - this will create a little extra cushion.
  • Fold the remaining two sides of hide over and staple onto the underside of stool - make sure you pull tightly.
  • Once tacked down, go back and add staples along the entire edge the stool. 

  • Attach the plastic legs. 
  • Hot glue the raw edges down so they stop fraying. 

  • Flip over and enjoy your new little stool! 

This whole project took less than 30 minutes, and cost less than $30 - a small victory if I do say so myself.  The stool comes in a variety of colors - wouldn't white-on-white be cute for a nursery or bathroom?