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This is going to be a bit long, but if you’re interested in learning some tricks of the (read: my) trade, read along :]
If you’ve been with us for a while, you know that my lovely husband and I are trying to make our house pretty fab, on a modern “this-economy-sucks” budget. Along the bargain-shopping way, I’ve developed quite a talent for finding amazing, quality things for practically nothing. On Craigslist.
In order to find that perfect piece, you have to overcome some obstacles:
A.) Develop a tolerance for looking at TONS of posts with the most hideous, mislabeled, eye-gauging CRAP. After a while you’ll start to get the hang of the language people use and develop a sort of E.S.P. that tells you if it’s even worth clicking. But at first, click EVERY LINK.
B.) Have lots and lots of patience. You’re probably not going to look absent-mindedly for two days and find something mind blowing.
Think you can do that? Great. Carrying on.
I think my biggest “trick” is to think of all the billions of words you can use to describe one thing. Take this chair
I saw a chair JUST like this on a designer’s site who takes antiques and makes them modern and fabulous (hey, JUST what I want to do!). Her chair was painted magenta and had white leather upholstery. Get the picture? There was no price on the site. Which means I can’t afford it.
Enter Craigslist, stage left.
Here is where you have to get crafty. Think of EVERY POSSIBLE WORD you can, to describe this chair, keeping in mind the people who are listing them. You need to think like the biggest imbecile who ever lived, as well as someone who knows what they are talking about. Here is what I searched to find this:
Then take all of these words, and put them into weird combinations. Search those.
Chances are you will find something you like in almost every one of these categories. The point is to not stop at what you KNOW it should be called. Think like a hillbilly. Think like your mother. Think like a college student. Think like a furniture designer. Now ad “who is trying to sell you their stuff” on the end of each of those and you’ll probably come up with a pretty comprehensive list of key words.
If you are looking for a Duncan Phyfe couch, search
Add “couch” “sofa” and “settee” “bench” and any other word you can possibly (or not possibly) describe this as, on the end of each of those. Now THAT is a wide search range.
Note misspelling the words on purpose. Craigslist does not auto correct like Google, and won’t give you similar things. I have found that the average person selling their stuff on Craigslist does not necessarily have spelling skills on their side.
It is also worth your time to search for pieces that are SIMILAR IN STYLE to what you want. There is a good chance that the people who are selling that may have what you want as well, but just tacked it onto the post for the larger item. I found my office desk searching for an antique couch. No mention of the desk in the title link, but there was my desk in the actual post.
Some of the more crudely worded links may seem worth skipping over – but remember – that’s where you’ll find that Eames chair you’ve been lusting over for $10 because the owner doesn’t know what they have ;]
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