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How Giving Stuff Away on Craigslist Saved Us Money

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You might think this is totally counter-intuitive…and until I had done it myself, I would have been inclined to agree. How can giving something away on Craigslist possibly SAVE you money?

Let me tell you a little story. If you recall a few months ago we got a new king size mattress. This meant upgrading our busted boxspring and saggy mattress. Surely no one was going to want to BUY this heap of junk. Unfortunately, most places charge a fee to take away large items like furniture. My parents learned this lesson when preparing to sell their old house and had like 6 old mattresses piled up in their basement. To avoid those fees, my father (who insisted on enlisting our help) painstakingly CUT APART the cloth and stuffing, took a saw and dismantled each and every one of those mattress sets so he could put them in the dumpster without being fined. If they didn’t “look” like mattresses, he figured they wouldn’t charge him the extra fee!

We decided NOT to go the dissection route. I decided I would list the mattress and box spring with full disclosure as to their state of disrepair on Craigslist in the “free” section. My husband, ever the skeptic balked at the idea. Surely no one would take a mattress that had a huge dented “crater” and a box spring with broken pieces. Most charities will not accept a used mattress either, especially not one as busted as this one was.

I would not be dissuaded, thinking maybe someone out there was desperate for a spare bed, and more mechanically inclined who would be interested in repairing these items. My husband begrudgingly helped me drag the mattress out to the end of our driveway. He grumbled the whole way that we were just going to have to haul it back in before it rained. He bemoaned the fact that in order to take it to the dump, we were going to have to pay to rent a truck because our little Mazda 6 doesn’t have the room for a queen size mattress and box spring. Not to be deterred, I positioned a “FREE” sign on top and went back inside, hopeful that someone would take this thing off our hands.

Sure enough, less than an hour after it was posted, a pickup truck pulled in front of our house. Two men hopped out and eagerly put the mattress in the back of the truck and drove off. I called my husband over to the window. And I might have gloated. Just a little. Score one for freecycling!

By giving away this bed for free, we saved ourselves not only the cost of disposal but also the cost of renting a means to transport it. We ALSO kept two large items out of the landfill. I held out hope that there was still some life left in these items if they made it into the right hands and it turned out I was right! Not to mention, I got to say “I told you so” at least one more time before I started to get the stink-eye.

So moral of the story: before you shell out money to dispose of something…no matter how little value YOU think it has, just remember one man’s crappy mattress is another man’s fixer-upper. You might just be helping out someone in need too.

Have you ever given away anything on Craigslist?

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Tiffany Daniels

Monday 14th of December 2015

I have been selling a lot of stuff lately on CL and FB. I have made about $600 so far. Listing and selling and bringing things to the thrift store has taken a lot of effort, but it is worth it! Whether we make money or not, we rid our house of clutter. Yay!