My friends all know I love craigslist. Before I had kids I used it occasionally, finding both good deals (a rental condo we ended up living for two years) and bad (a BMW convertible, that, between the monthly payments and repair costs, probably cost as much as our rent). I even sold a few things (couches, TVs, etc.).
I have a small house and I have kids. Therein likes the problem. Kids need (or we are led to believe they need) a lot of stuff. Especially babies. Baby showers all over America are full of beautifully wrapped bouncy seats, swings, Pack ‘n Plays, Bumbo seats, etc. At my shower, I was so thankful for the gifts my family and friends so generously gave us. For larger items, I registered for/bought neutral colors, so it didn’t matter if we had a boy or girl next, I could reuse them (this is also helpful for resale). I had everything I needed to keep Clay clean (!), busy, safe and happy. But I did feel a bit anxious wondering where I would put it all. As babies do, Clay outgrew things quickly. I found storage space in the garage, saving it for an eventual second baby. My kids are 23 months apart, so that time came pretty quickly. I pulled it all out, cleaned it up and we were in back in the baby business.
By the time Avery was one and we ruled out having more kids, I couldn’t wait to purge baby gear. The benefit of being such a neat freak is that our stuff was in really good shape, which is a miracle since babies poop and puke a lot! I’m also fanatic about reading consumer reviews online before buying anything, so my items held up pretty well through both kids.
For a few months, I listed a couple of items per week. I cleaned them up before posting so I was ready to show them at any time, and didn’t put a phone number on the ad, since I don’t have time to talk on the phone. I did most correspondence through email, other than occasionally giving my phone number to someone in case they got lost coming to pick something up. I learned how to properly word the ad headlines (be descriptive on brand, color and condition) and the posts (use the manufacturer’s description, say how long you used the item and always include a photo). I priced items knowing that people would try to negotiate. Since the items were made for babies, they were small and could all fit in the back of our SUV, so I didn’t have people come to our home. I would either meet them at the Bank of America nearby (they always have security guards outside) or have them come to my office parking lot. I did not have to worry about Chase being home or strangers knowing where I live and that I have children, so I felt much safer.
Other than getting clutter out of our house, the other big advantage to selling baby gear on craigslist was that I always had cash in my wallet, as a result of my sales. Chase joked about my “craigslist cash” because I rarely carry cash otherwise. At one point I also tried to sell baby clothes to one of the local resale stores, but I decided that it took too much time, for not as much of a cash return. To drive there and wait for them to look through and offer me $25 for $300 worth of clothes, was just not worth it. I would rather give the clothes to friends, knowing that I’m saving them time and money, and then I also enjoy seeing the clothes again on our friends’ kids. Clothes and toys that aren’t in perfect condition I give to Goodwill (down the street from my office, so I go on my lunch break).
Chase thinks I’m nuts, but I’ve also met some really nice people. And he doesn’t complain when I take the family to dinner with my craigslist cash!