A month or so ago, we bought an expensive mattress and springs. Today on Craigslist, in the Free section, I have so far counted listings for three queen mattress sets, one twin set and one twin springs, and one unspecified set that is probably a full size. That’s a lot of free mattresses on a weekday, and the night is young.
The homemade pictures look okay. Out of five mattress sets, probably at least one is quite acceptable and has substantial life left in it. And these are just the free ones. Over in the Household section, somebody wants $750 for a king size mattress only. I don’t think he’ll get it, but you never know. Somebody else is selling a twin mattress, springs, and frame for $60. Now that’s more like it. Another person is selling a twin mattress only, for $25. The deals keep on coming.
Yes, I have become a Craigslist junkie. This is my latest Internet addiction, and it’s totally free. I check to see what people are selling and giving away. Luckily for me, I live so far from where all this personal retail activity is taking place that it is not practical for me to rush out and get one of these deals. Gas costs too much. But I can see what fun it would be to be a young man out to furnish a new apartment cheap with his buddies: All they need is a truck or van, some rope and old blankets, and their healthy young backs. They can totally get everything free. There are so many free couches and recliners that no self-respecting young person should even consider buying one. Free TVs. Free bedding. Free dishes and kitchen implements. Free everything. Makes me want to hop in the car and start collecting things.
There even are dirt cheap recycled wedding gifts floating around, in case one is invited to events. “Unopened, in original box” is a common theme in the descriptions. From the photos, it looks as if Mikasa, Lennox, and other well-known manufacturers are creating these items—overdone vases, serving bowls, large decorative platters, and more hideous stuff—just for the wedding gift crowd. Which apparently does not like them. So why buy one on Craigslist? Because they are decorative, they are giftlike, and you can get them at a fraction of retail. Just be careful to know the true retail price (after sales events and discounts) of these items. It often is substantially less than what the Craigslister claims. Also, a lot of glassware is described as crystal on Craigslist. Dream on, ignorant ones.
The real crystal and objects d’art in the Antiques and Collectibles sections do tempt me, and their prices are often substantial, though fair. But then I remember that I have nowhere to put anything new—first, I’d have to buy one of those handsome china cabinets that are also on the list. There’s a time in life for acquiring, and a time for reducing the load. Right now I am edging into the second period. The serious one, not mere de-cluttering but giving away or selling or otherwise getting rid of high-quality belongings. Downsizing for real. I’m not quite there yet. Meanwhile, I get a lot of fun out of seeing everyone else either at the beginning or at the end of the same cycle. The Recycle of Life, if you will.