downsizing and stuff – part 3 – Craig’s List

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SCHWINN Girl’s Bike – 18″$50

Lavender and white classic “coaster brake” style bicycle in excellent condition, few scuff marks. This is a Schwinn high quality bike, 18″ with adjustable seat and handlebars.

One July morning, I received an email:

I am interested in this bike and would like to check it out. I live in (town) so contact me if it is still available and when a good time would be.

The next day, a white box truck decorated with images of fruits and vegetables arrived and parked at the end of my driveway. It was from a local produce company which advertises “locally sourced produce…from farm to table!”
The driver – the man who sent the email – walked up towards me where I was waiting with the purple bike. We had saved it hanging on the garage wall for many years. To look at it was to remember our blonde 5 year old bound and determined to ride a big-girl bike all by herself. And she did.

I showed the man the original handbook I had saved. He looked the bike over, pleased it was in such good shape. He wanted to buy a “high quality brand,” even if used, rather than a cheap Walmart bike. He was planning to surprise his 6 year old daughter named Daisy. It would be her first big-girl bike too. I knew it was meant to be as I watched him wheel it down the driveway to the truck. I had to smile…my grown up daughter belongs to a CSA and is bound and determined to buy local whenever possible.


REDLINE 340 Boy’s Bike$60

Dark Blue 20″ REDLINE 340 “Motocross” bicycle in EXCELLENT CONDITION. Includes water bottle holder, adjustable seat and handlebars.

One July morning, 2 weeks later, I received this email:

I am very interested in this bike. I am a BMX collector. Not the type that “flips” bikes for money. I love older BMX bikes from the 80’s and 90’s and like to restore or refurbish them. However I prefer to have “survivors” like this. I feel your price is fair and would like to buy it from you but my wife has informed me that my bike fund is depleted right now. The soonest I’d have money to buy this would be next Monday or Tuesday. I understand money talks and BS walks but if you’ve still got it by next week I’d like to arrange something with you.
Thanks for your time.

I emailed him that it was still available and he got right back to me.

That is GREAT!
I get paid again on Monday afternoon and will be ready with cash in hand as soon as Monday night. I would love to have this all original survivor BMX in my collection. I love collecting and riding BMX bikes, I’ve included a picture of a few of the bikes in my collection. All the ones that are just frame and fork are ones that are currently being restored by me. The one that stands alone is my own personal survivor bike from when I was a kid, I bought it new and have held onto it ever since.
Not that most people selling a bike care about where it goes but I just wanted to let you know that if you decide to sell your bike to me it will be going to a good home. (Lol)

Three days later I emailed him that the bike was still available.

His response:

Thanks! I’ve been into BMX since I was a young boy. I’ve gotten really into collecting and restoring over the last five or so years. It’s cheaper than collecting and restoring old cars! Lol. I’ll have the money tomorrow but won’t realistically be able to get out to (you) until probably Tuesday or Wednesday if that’s ok with you.
Feel free to call or text me with any questions
Thanks again, George.

George, my favorite and most enthusiastic buyer ever – probably in his 40’s – lived 1-1/2 hours away and arrived with his pickup truck one hot July day. He told me the story of his BMX bicycle collection, adding more details to the email descriptions. After very carefully inspecting the bike and pronouncing it “a score,” he paid the asking price. I noticed a woman – probably his wife – sitting in the passenger seat, rolling her eyes, with a profound look of resignation on her face. George later emailed me and included photos of my son’s bike all cleaned up and shiny; looking almost like new.

I just wanted to send you a quick message to say thanks again for the Redline BMX bike you sold me. I have been working on it and getting it cleaned up. I was able to finally get it out for a ride the other night and I gotta tell you this bike rides awesome. It has now become my new favorite bike to ride!
Thanks again, George

Before George bought it,  it had hung in a special place on the garage wall next to his sister’s. Our son was also an avid collector…of bottle caps, sports cards, pennies….  Selling his bike to such a dedicated collector also seemed meant to be.


Wurlitzer Piano$200

Wurlitzer spinnet style piano and bench. Manufactured in 1967.
Very good playing condition with some minor wood finish discoloration on top.

One morning in early June, I received this email:

May I look at the piano tomorrow on Sunday? I live in (town), so it will be a fast trip. I want to teach my three year old son how to play and this will fit into the house. Please call…

A young man from a few miles away arrived that sunny Sunday to check out our piano. It had been handed down to us from my mother-in-law, who took lessons on it in her 70’s.  He wanted a “real piano” and not an electric keyboard for his 3 year old son to learn on. The water stains on the top did not concern him.  The bench came with the music books – even ones I had learned on including Teaching Little Fingers To Play with the red cover. He handed me $200 in cash to hold it until the following weekend. I insisted on giving him a receipt. He did come back with a friend the next weekend as promised.  I wonder how that (now 6 year old) little boy likes his piano.


Vintage Hutch Credenza$25

condition: fair
Solid wood credenza with 2 doors and 2 drawers (one with felt areas for silverware).
This is a very old piece of furniture that is structurally very good.
It is very scratched, but could be easily painted.
60″ W
20″ D
27″ H

This would be the final Craig’s List sale…
Three days before we closed on the sale of our house, the Salvation Army truck arrived to collect the leftover giveaway stuff which filled the 2 car garage. The one thing they would not take was this credenza because it was too scratched. Originally belonging to my husband’s grandmother, it was handed down to us and then used for storage.
Within an hour of posting this, a young man emailed me. Two days later he bought it and narrowly missed popping a hernia getting it into his car.
On to its next home. A narrow escape from the dumpster.


Downsizing from a 3 bedroom house with a full basement, garage and attic takes time. Lots of time. Well, it does if you want to save the earth and not add your unwanted stuff to the local landfill.

Many friends have asked  – how did you do it?

One major player? Craig’s List.

My friend Chris gave me very good advice about using Craig’s List…
Don’t be surprised if the person never shows up to buy your stuff.                           Always get the cash before handing over what you are selling.

Here’s what I learned:

  • Timing is everything
    If you want to sell 22 year old working, but noisy, window air conditioners, post them on a humid 95 degree summer day. Boom! Gone in hours. As I recall a buyer wanted one to keep her cat cool when she was away. I hope the cat didn’t go deaf.
  • Use positive descriptions such as Vintage, Classic, Antique.
  • Avoid old unless it’s absolutely necessary (see “credenza” above)
  • Include the Owner’s Manual if you can find it.
  • Look up any serial numbers for describing old (i.e.: vintage) items.
  • Search eBay for pricing ideas
  • Measure anything that you can measure.
  • Take photos in natural light, outdoors if possible.
  • Dust/clean old (i.e.: vintage) furniture. Make simple repairs such as tightening screws or replacing a hinge. It can make the difference.
  • Set up a time during the day for buyers to look at your items – preferably outside or in a detached garage.
  • Never assume there isn’t a buyer for something you want to sell. You have no idea how many times I heard….Nobody will buy that!  – and then someone did (well most of the time)

A few success stories:

Classic writing desk, vintage bureau, vintage shelf, vintage Silver Streak sled, vintage Yankee Clipper sled, LP Record Cabinet.

What never sold:

Cassette tape storage racks, video cassette player, Mad Men – Season 3, very large vintage speakers that still worked (and why couldn’t someone see how great they still were?).

And, last but not least, when you use Craig’s List to off load your stuff, you may meet some really cool people in the process!

[NOTE TO SELF & READERS: definition of spam….
An earlier response to my son’s bike posting – after I emailed back to a short inquiry asking if the bike was still available…..
Thanks you for the response according to the description,am okay with
the price and the condition pasted on cl. I am ready to make instant
purchase.My mode of payment would be in CERTIFIED CHECK and i will
arrange for a local pick up as soon as you get the check, because that
is the only inconvenient means for me and due to my work frame i can
not be able to get there and i promise everything will go smoothly.I
really wish to be there to check out the item but i don’t have chance
cause am very busy person (US MARINE). Concerning the pick up, i will
arrange for it after you receive the payment and it clears… Pls get
back to me with below info so that i can proceed with the payment
immediately if you are selling to me.
Full Name:
Address: Not P.O.BOX
State:Postal Code:
Total amount for the item
Phone Number: That i can send text
And as soon as this is provided, the payment will be overnight to you
and i will let you know when its mailed out. Thanks and i hope we
handle this in good faith while waiting to hear from you. i will add
an additional $50 so that you can hold it for me till the check reach
you. Best Regards]

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