Do You Believe in Craigslist Karma?

Do You Believe in Craigslist Karma?

Colleen Quinn
Jul 29, 2011

I am currently home on leave from an overseas job, and have found myself the beneficiary of what I can only describe as Craigslist karma. Though I know from years of experience that Craigslist can be a frustrating, hit or miss way to furnish a home, sometimes it seems the universe is both watching and rewarding.

In the last couple of weeks, I have listed a bunch of stuff that was left behind when I moved, cluttering up the apartments of both my mom and sister. Once these extraneous pieces that I can clearly live without were listed, they were snapped right up, creating the necessary room to properly assess actual needs in my sister's living space. It was then that Craigslist karma kicked in...

  • After rearranging my sister's dining room, it was clear we could rework a now unnecessary kitchen cart to serve as a bar if only it had a different top. After only a few days of searching, we found a piece of remnant granite slab and backsplash already cut to the exact size we needed; $20 and a little liquid nails later, that worktop was ours and now that kitchen cart has a new lease on life.
  • A trip to IKEA searching for curtain rings (that apparently have been discontinued) led to a conversation about new dining chairs; though she loves her Granas table, my sister finds the matching chairs too uncomfortable to use on a regular basis. After sitting in every available chair, we agreed that the Hendriksdal was the way to go, but unfortunately my sister liked neither the price nor the currently available slipcover options. The very next morning, a set of four Henriksdal chairs in a discontinued color were listed for sale on Craigslist for only $150. We snapped them right up (ok, it took an hour to wiggle that fourth chair into the sedan) and not my sister is finally eating at her dining table.
  • Years ago, we bought my sister's West Elm headboard on Craigslist, a headboard she always used with a standard metal bedframe. For her birthday in July, she asked for the matching platform to complete the bed; imagine our dismay when we discovered that piece is no longer available in stores. Just last night I was lucky enough to find one listed nearby, and I'll be picking it up tonight (likely my last Craigslist purchase before I leave the country on Tuesday).

I have been using Craigslist for years, but have never had so much success in such a short time, especially given that my shopping window was constrained to the length of my trip home. I cannot help but believe there was an element of karma involved; I offered several great but no longer needed pieces to others, and several great and necessary pieces found their way to me. Has anyone else ever had such experiences with secondhand shopping when it seemed like you were being rewarded for contributing to the process?

Image: Phillip Maisel from Megan & Shawn's Spacious & Vibrant Flat House Tour

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