Robin Flies South...

A blog about decorating and tablescaping with an emphasis on creativity and smart shopping over cash!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Craigslist Caution!

This is a post from a fews months back but I think it's important to show again.  This is relevant to anyone who loves picking up used furniture.  All the paint in the world can't help sometimes.  So if you missed this the first time around, please give it a read and good luck with all your furniture projects!

Welcome to Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps on the Porch.  Today's before and after involves something many of you are familiar with.  Some of you may be tempted to give it a try and haven't taken the plunge yet.  I'm talking about that wonderful something called Craigslist.  In case you aren't familiar with it, I looked it up for you.   According to the always trustworthy reference, Wikipedia -Craigslist is a centralized network of online communities, featuring free online classified advertisements – with sections devoted to jobs, housing, personals, for sale, services, community, gigs, résumés, and discussion forums.

 I am a big fan of Craigslist.  While still living in NJ, I needed to sell quite a bit of furniture. I listed it on Craigslist and sometimes things went smoothly, sometimes not.  I was always careful to have my husband home when someone came to see something and we usually brought the item out to the garage if we could.  This post isn't going to be about Craigslist safety but about another issue you need to be aware of, cigarette smoke odor!

I never buy upholstered items used.  A long time ago a friend of mine bought a couch from an estate sale and brought it home.  Next thing you know she had a flea infestation.  That event has stuck with me for 20 years!

 When we sold our house we decided not to bring most of our furniture on our move.  I took pictures, put them up on CL and sold everything.  Some things I made a nice profit, some I practically gave away but it got me thinking that I was selling things that were clean and in nice condition.  I brought that attitude to Florida, thinking I could furnish my new house with things that were nice but people just didn't need anymore.  Our first experience went very well.  We bought a glass topped table for our breakfast area from a seller in the town south of us.  The people we bought it from had one of the most beautifully decorated and spotlessly clean homes I have ever seen.  I'm sure my husband and I seemed really nosy checking the place out as we stood in the dining area looking at the table.  Long story short, we bought the table and couldn't be happier with it.  It's like brand new and saved us hundreds.

Later on we bought our wall unit.  It was in a million pieces (not really, but there are many parts to it) and covered with dust but the seller assisted us with moving and again we feel we got a good deal.  I did a post on my office furniture HERE, and again we had a good experience.

 Then came time for Dining Room furniture.  I did a post on that HERE but I didn't go into what really happened with that experience.  Here's the details of that purchase.  My husband and I went to look at it one late afternoon.  The seller was moving.  Didn't see any pets or notice any smells.  There was some upholstery on the chairs but I thought it would be fine.  Fast forward to the night we picked it up and put it in our house.  Almost simultaneously, we said "What smells?".  Sure enough the whole set reeked of smoke.  How could we have not noticed?  What could we do?  Luckily we could bring it all out back in the fresh air for a few days while we tried every remedy the Internet had to offer.  We can't be sure which one did the trick or if it was a combination of all of them but we were lucky to eliminate it.  There is still a slight odor inside the china cabinet but otherwise it's gone and we know that it is really, really clean now, too.

Make sure the CL ad states that whatever you are buying is from a smoke free home and make sure you pay attention when you go to inspect it.  Stick you nose right up to it.  Once you buy it, there's no going back.  Have you ever had a similar experience?  Let me know and tell me what you did about it.  And best of luck with your CL purchases and I hope you will all be  a bit more cautious after hearing our story.

Be sure to visit Creating Wonderful Spaces and see what my sister, Elaine, is doing today!

I am joining the party at Furniture Feature Friday at Miss Mustard Seed
I am joining Thrifty Decor Chick for her monthly Before and After party.


Martha said...

I've only bought one thing from CL and it was a wood piece and I had a good experience. Not smoking I wouldn't think of it -- thanks for the warning! (My MIL smoked and you could smell cigarettes as you stood outside the front door!)

Pam - diy Design Fanatic said...

We bought an armoire off of Craigslist that was in a smokers house. It reeked! I tried spraying the inside, painting the outside, etc. Nothing worked. Finally, we put in some coffee beans in a couple of small bowls and that seemed to do it after a couple of months.

Phyllis said...

You have given us some very good advice. Smoke is most difficult to remove from fabrics and other surfaces as well. I helped a young teacher move into a small rent house and we literally mopped the walls with Simple Green and it really helped remove most of the smoke.

Jane@Cottage at the Crossroads said...

Great advice! I haven't bought anything off CL, but I've sold plenty through it. I always made sure my hubby was home, too, when someone came to look. Can't be too careful these days!

Joellen said...

When my baby twin grandsons came to visit for a month, I bought a large number of things -- 2 pack and plays, 2 high chairs, double jogging stroller,baby fence, etc.etc.etc. CL was a godsend as having good baby gear made the visit so much easier. I sold everything after the visit and made a tiny profit.

I did not know that wood furniture could absorb smoke like that. Your dining set is fabulous and worth the effort.

Honey at 2805 said...

Ver good CL advise! I've not made a CL purchase , but will remember your tips.

Thanks for you visit and comment. I have just become a follower and hope you will too!

Kathleen said...

Never bought. From C list, I don't think they have it here. But on eBay make sure it says PET and smoke free. People who have pets are oblivious to the smell just like smokers.
Glad you got the odor out.n

samaa said...

Thanks for the advice! I had the same reservations about used upholstered furniture but I wasn't sure if I was being too picky. Then we recently bought some used wooden tables from a home with a dog that had chewed away all the edges. I thought I could just sand them down but when we brought them home the odour was really strong. It took a whole lot of sanding to remove the bite marks but even more so to reduce the smell. Even after a few coats of stain and poly I can still smell it a bit. I'll keep your tips in mind next time!

Wickedheart said...

I've always worried more about uninvited guests in the furniture.

Belle Junque said...

I recently bought a dresser off CL that had a horrible smoke smell. I sprayed it down with Lift Off All Surface Paint Prep, which is a more green version of TSP. It now smells like the Lift Off, but that's better than the smoke! I, too, will be more careful of my purchases next time.

The Other Me Is Sane said...

just never thought of these things, but will keep them in mind now for sure! I've shopped garage sales and thrifts for years and have been careful and, luckily, never had these problems. thanks for the advice.