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how to craigslist using Craigslist to score stuff for your digs
by Yee-Fan Sun
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When the boy landed his first real job after years of slogging away on a grad student’s (and later post-doc’s) modest stipend, we figured that finally, at long last, we were ready to buy real furniture to match. No more flimsy particle-board furnishings, no more rickety hand-me-downs. We needed a bed and bookcases, dressers and more goodies to deck out our new digs, and because at long last, we were in a city in which we might actually stay put for a good long while, we figured it was high-time: to stop thinking in the short-term, and buy proper grown-up furniture that might actually last us longer than, oh, two, three years tops.

As it turns out, real furniture costs real money. And for the boy and I, frugal habits die hard. Yes, we’ve plunked down the cash for a luxurious new mattress that should provide blissful sleep for years to come. But those gorgeous solid-wood bookcases I’ve been coveting, that sleek new dresser and wardrobe – these will have to remain the stuff of dreams, for awhile yet at least. In the meantime, with clothes and books, wig heads and Wolverine action figures still waiting for a place to be unpacked to in my new pad, the boy and I have found a great source for getting the furniture we need now -- at prices that doesn’t involve racking up frightening bills on the old credit card. Yes, Craigslist is my new best friend. And if you’re living in a big city and trying to decorate your own nest on a budget, it can be yours too.

just browsing
On the off chance you’re one of the three people in the civilized world who isn’t already familiar with it, Craigslist is an immensely popular community-based website that essentially functions like the classifieds section of your local newspaper. Since the bigger the community, the greater the pool of goods and services available, it’s best for those living in highly populated areas. Still, Craigslist communities have cropped up all over the country and world, and unless you’re living on the far reaches of the arctic tundra, you’ll probably find there’s one that serves you. You can find a job, an apartment, a friend -- pretty much whatever your little heard desires on Craigslist. But for decking out the digs, it’s the for sale section you’ll namely be interested in, which is broken down into subcategories like “furniture”, “appliances” and “electronics” for your browsing convenience.

As with pretty much any sort of secondhand shopping, it pays to make the rounds as often as you can. With Craigslist, this is especially easy: just bookmark the URL, and even the laziest of shoppers can keep an eagle-eye on the new offerings. But here’s an added tip for you savvy Craigslist browsers: with furniture, I’ve found that weekends seem particularly rife with enticing buys. A lot of new ads go up as people clear out their crapola during Saturday morning cleaning sprees; meanwhile potential buyers are always a little slower to respond, as folks tend not to kill as much time online on the weekends.

keep on truckin'...

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