March 29, 2010

Home Decorating 101 -- the eBay Life Way

Lately, a number of people have made positive comments about my living room. I love to point out that about 80 percent of the items that decorate my living room were purchased off of Craigslist or at yard sales. My living room is “the deal room.” Yes, that’s right. Pottery Barn style at yard sale prices. I possess very little talent when it comes to decorating. It’s all I can do to copy what I see in catalogs. In fact, the next time I have to decorate a portion of the house, I am going to rip a nice picture out of a magazine and carry it in my back pocket when I go to yard sales. No more guessing. Decorating is not really something I want to spend time on, but I don’t want to live in a hovel either. I have talked about taking interior design classes but just haven’t gotten around to it. I think I am just too lazy for that type of thing.

Here’s the lowdown on my living room d├ęcor and a few tips for eBay sellers:

I will start with the light brown leather couch. I purchased it a few years back. It was posted on Craigslist for $250. The picture that accompanied the ad made the couch look extremely unattractive - kind of old and saggy. “I think we should go look at it,” said Niko. “How ugly could it be?” So we drove over to the seller’s house to check it out. The seller lived in a tiny studio apartment hidden behind a house. The couch was only six months old and made of soft leather. Niko was right. It was pretty nice! No signs of wear. Gigantic seat cushions -- a real plus for people with long legs. Super comfy. Original price: $1600. I realized that with a few turquoise pillows, it would look like something from Pier 1. The sellers were desperate as they were moving to LA the next day. The ad had been on Craigslist for quite a long time, but nobody had called. The sellers had lowered the price numerous times. Lesson to be learned for all you eBay sellers out there? Take a decent picture when you are trying to sell your products. You don’t need a high-tech piece of equipment to take a nice photo, and a picture can make or break a sale.

The two dark brown leather couches were also purchased on Craigslist. The woman selling them had never posted anything on the site. I’m guessing she had never had a yard sale either. She told me that she couldn’t believe that Craigslist worked! This lady lived in a very nice home on the north end of town. Not a mansion -- but almost. Almost is the key word in this sentence. Attention eBayers: Relatively affluent neighborhoods host better yard sales than very affluent neighborhoods. Some of the worst yard sales I have attended were in very wealthy areas. Shocking, isn’t it? And lower-income areas? Well, people in these areas are often just reselling what they have purchased at thrift shops or garage sales. These particular couches looked new. They had been sitting in an extra living room collecting dust. $800 for two. She had paid $2500. They weren’t a steal but much cheaper than anything I was able to find in the stores at the time.

Speaking of relatively upscale areas, check out my wicker storage chest. Awesome, awesome deal. This very large chest was in perfect condition when I picked it up at a yard sale in one of my favorite neighborhoods -- again, a very nice neighborhood near Bidwell park. The houses in this area of town are almost new and very modern. This neighborhood has an annual block sale, and I always get up super early in order to attend. Things move fast because the sellers in this neighborhood set their prices low. I purchased this piece for $15. Now that’s what I call a deal.

Moving right along……

The silver “touch” lamp between the two couches is a heavy duty version of some of the cheaper lamps I often see at places like Target. It has three or four settings, and you touch it to turn it on. Based on what I have seen in stores, it must have cost at least $80 new. I had been looking for a reasonably priced lamp for weeks when I found this one. I picked it up at a yard sale for a mere $8. Yay!

Coffee Table -- This coffee table needs to be refinished, but it has drawers and is VERY heavy because it’s made of (drum roll please).....real wood! $5 at a garage sale.

Area Rugs - I had been looking at rugs for months. I couldn’t find any rugs for under $300 in the size I wanted, and I needed two of them since our living room is very large. I picked up the rug in the picture plus an oriental rug similar in size for about $30 total. Definitely a deal.

Room Divider
- $200 World Market carved room divider for $30? I’ll take it! (Also a Craigslist purchase --- and the seller lived down the street from me!!)

Artsy-looking Vase With Red Twigs - (See picture at top of post) I picked up this cool vase with the red twigs in it for a few bucks at a yard sale.

Awesome Art - This nice piece of art was picked up for a few dollars at a yard sale -- matches the pillows on the couch!

Carved Wooden Seal
-- This is a really nice piece made from wood. Someone told me it is Native American. It’s definitely hand carved. I picked it up at a yard sale for $1. Amazingly enough it is not worth much on eBay. Such a cool piece!!! Lesson to be learned? Just because a piece of art is handmade and took forever to carve, doesn’t mean it will sell for much on eBay. Always do a completed listing search before you list a product.

Entertainment Center(see picture at top of post) -- OK. This is one of the few new pieces in my living room. The store was going out of business. It was a local store that looked like Pottery Barn. Original Price: $2500. Sale Price: $700. And guess what. It’s a piece of junk. The wood is not really wood. One of the shelves broke right after we got it. It scratches easily. I like it……from far away. When you get close to it, you see all the flaws. Oh well. Just goes to show you that yard sales are awesome!!!
So, there you have it. My garage sale / Craigslist living room. See. You can do it. You can live the life and still have money in the bank! -- Miriam @ where you will find narrow, wide, and standard sized women’s shoes at huge discounts!

Note: Please contact me at if you are interested in participating in beginning or intermediate eBay classes. Learn from my experience and my mistakes…and jump start your new at-home business! You can do it!!!!

1 comment:

  1. You are an excellent writer and should blog more often!