moving day

Until a couple of months ago we were living at an apartment where we had quite a variety of furniture; I had some hand-me-downs as well as a lot of furniture from Ikea that had already been moved around a couple of times and was already a little beaten up; my girlfriend had a bedroom desk and bed dating from her childhood!

We thought it would be such a shame to throw away this furniture, especially when someone else could benefit from it. That’s when we started posting our stuff on Kijiji, a successful Canadian free local online classifieds.

Why did we sell instead of bringing all of this furniture with us? Well, one important reason is that it simply all wouldn’t fit. Our condo is smaller than the apartment we were living at, and there’s no way we could bring everything over. The second reason is that we wanted to start out fresh.

Selling can be an adventure


I’ve learned that selling can be somewhat of an art, and it takes some skill to navigate the waters of negotiation. Depending on what you’re selling, you could find yourself in a buyer’s market or in a seller’s market, which will affect your relative negotiation power. Negotiation will also depend on the personality of the other party; we encountered many different types during our selling adventures.

The slick negotiator

My first story is about a slick negotiator from Haiti who had come over to pick up my old 27″ TV. He had agreed on a price over the phone but when he showed up he pointed out little scratches on the TV frame (NOT the glass which was flawless) and said we should give him a discount, even though I told him over the phone that it was a 5 year old TV set and I was asking for about 20% of what I paid for it. We didn’t give him a discount, but the story isn’t over. :)

The parking around the apartment where we lived is complicated, and when he asked me over the phone where he could park I told him that at this time it should be free out front, because that’s what I thought, but I wasn’t 100% sure since I don’t park there myself. The TV was heavy so he needed my help, but luckily my Korean friend was staying with us at that time so being 3 guys moving everything downstairs wasn’t too bad. So anyways, we moved the TV out back and asked him to bring his car to the back instead of carrying a 100lb TV 200 feet to the other side of the building where he was parked.

The roads around our apartment are complicated, too, so it took him 20 minutes to show up… and when he did, he really wasn’t happy! It turned out that he had received a parking ticket for $45. He was really upset, and I felt bad since I had told him that he could park there though I had said I wasn’t completely sure, so he could have checked the signs. I decided to pay $20 and helped him load the TV into the car, so in the end he got his discount anyways! My girlfriend was pissed off at me after that, but she calmed down afterwards and I also felt that it was the right thing to do, since I felt at least partially responsible for it.

The grateful newcomer

Another item that I’m very happy that we sold is my girlfriend’s 20 year old bed and mattress. Both were still in good shape because they had rarely been moved over their lifetime. We ended up selling it to a recent newcomer to Canada; someone whom I believe may have been from Haiti or perhaps one of the french-speaking African countries. He needed a bed for his daughter and he was overjoyed to find a bed and mattress in such good condition; even buying from Ikea would have likely cost ten times the price if not more. The first time he came by was by bus and he needed a taxi to bring the mattress back to his place; the second time he had a friend there to help him, and I helped them move all of the pieces down to his car.

I’m sure the bed has found a good new home, and it makes me happy that he was so happy as well.

Are women better negotiators than men?

Aside from that, there was the Chinese woman asking us if she could buy pretty much everything in the apartment including all the stuff not for sale :), and then there was the Muslim woman who was my hardest negotiator because I sold her our curtains and rods for $15 and brought them on the subway with me to meet her, and somehow she still made me feel like she could barely afford it and that her husband would scold her. I don’t know if that was true or not, but it did make me feel uncomfortable. When she was paying me, first a $10 came out, then a couple dollars, then some quarters, and after a few coins she would look at me and ask if that was enough. Then when we were going into the dimes and nickels I said that it was fine! So, I didn’t even get $15 in the end.

Then there was the guy I sold my queen-sized bed to who called me up and said that his queen-sized mattress didn’t fit, which didn’t make sense, and then there’s my Ikea dresser that people were almost fighting over to get. We were selling it at near full price yet we still had more than 20 replies on the first day! The woman who showed up to “reserve it” grabbed a couple of drawers on her way out after leaving us a deposit, presumably to make sure we wouldn’t turn around and sell it to somebody else! She came by later and we sold the dresser for a very good price, so it was worth it.

So, are women better negotiators than men? When I sense that a man is trying too hard to bring down the price, I get annoyed and resist, but when a woman does the same thing I am less likely to resist. It’s the approach that’s different. Empathy works much better with me than aggression, and women are more likely to be empathetic. At least with me, women might be better negotiators. ;)

Finally, there was our futon which I was selling at less than 5% original price and we were just barely lucky enough to sell it on the last day of our lease… whew!

Giving it away

There’s a lot of stuff that we didn’t sell but would be a shame to throw away. This included all of my old dishes, books that I’ve read and probably wasn’t going to read again, and various other knick-knacks that we just didn’t need or use anymore, but could be useful to someone out there! For things like this, I bring it all to the Salvation Army where I hope it can come in handy for somebody out there.

So, reader, what are some of your stories moving out? I’d love to hear about them! If you ever think of throwing something out, try out Kijiji or Craigslist first! You just might be able to find it a new home.

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About

Kevin has left the office, and he is currently fighting the rat race by working on his own business. He enjoys exploring unvisited places around the world and gaining new experiences. He believes that by properly managing our energy and time, we can learn to invest our lives wisely.

53 Comments Kevin on May 24th 2011

53 Responses to “Moving Out? Don’t Throw That Old Furniture Away! Find a New Home for It with Kijiji”

  1. No Debt MBA says:

    We usually use Craigslist to sell at least one or two things every time we move. We’ve slowly been paring our stuff down and it feels really good! I can’t say we make a ton of money by selling stuff but it is pretty sweet to have someone pay to make something disappear so you don’t have to move it. Can you guess we sell a lot of heavy stuff? Last time we moved a friend was setting up her first apartment and we sold her a bunch of housewares and an enormous Ikea puzzle of a bookshelf for really cheap. We left a key under the mat and she and her boyfriend moved it all to her place while we were out. It was excellent.

    • Kevin says:

      Having the other person move it is the best! Also if you consider the hassle to get rid of a large piece of furniture if you live in a large building, it is much more worth it to sell it for cheap, even give it away, instead of having to pay for disposal. Of course you can always just leave it by the curb, but that is usually frowned upon…

  2. krantcents says:

    I usually call The Salvation Army or Vietnam Vets to take it away. When we moved from a house, I had a yard sale and sold many things. We scheduled The Salvation Army to take what was left.

    • Kevin says:

      I never had them come to pick stuff up, but if you have a lot of stuff left over that could be a great option, too. Hopefully won’t end up at that phase for a while now that we moved into a new place.

  3. JT McGee says:

    I think women can definitely be better negotiators than men, especially if they’re dealing with a man. Guys don’t like to tell women no, and women have a way with getting what they want that I only wish I could replicate.

    That’s awesome to take them to Salvation Army. I have a pile of books I’ll probably never read again, and I should probably just donate them to the library. Nothing like spreading the gift of literacy. :)

  4. optionsdude says:

    It has been a long time since we moved, and we rarely have garage sales. I do give a lot of stuff away to Goodwill. Sounds like you had quite some stories out of the experience. I would have felt bad for getting someone a parking ticket also.

    • Kevin says:

      Yep, I was a bit annoyed with the guy for asking for money off after we agreed on a price over the phone but in the end he still got his discount, in a sense. ;)

  5. When we moved last summer we gave away one of those round chairs that has a full size round cushion. I had gotten it for free years earlier on Kijiji and it was still in great shape. Mrs. SPF thought she’d use it more but it ended up more of a cat bed than anything. So I posted on Kijiji that it was free and within an hour had a call. The woman wanted to pay for it but I told her it was good karma to pass it along as it had been passed to me. She arranged a time that evening to pick it up. Around 7pm our doorbell range and a man and woman were at the door – the people i’d spoken to. The man enters and grabbed the chair parts while I chatted with the lady. She produced a paper bag and in it were two bottles of preserves. Beets and a jelly. I accepted. They were yummy and the chair found a new home.

  6. It’s interesting to know that people are still out there buying mattresses and couches. I thought for sure with the spread of bedbugs that it would be a lot harder to move those kinds of items in the second hand market.

    I’m glad you were able to make a few bucks to have it to decorate your new place.

    • Kevin says:

      Hmm I don’t know if that problem has hit Canada. The guy was from out of the country and maybe from a place where they don’t worry as much about that.

      How does one get bed bugs anyways? I’m lucky to have never had that problem but I wonder how it starts. Warm temperatures and humidity + eating in bed?

  7. We had a garage sale and sold a bunch of stuff on Craigslist when we moved. Hopefully, we are here for a long time because moving really sucks. :)
    I agree with First Gen about the mattresses. Old mattresses aren’t comfortable at all….

    • Kevin says:

      Haha, moving definitely sucks. For most of my life I’ve been moving every couple to every few years… I hope to settle in here for at least the next 3 to 5!

  8. We usually end up donating our stuff to local charity or passing it on to family and friends. I know we could make a bit of money by selling it but we get greater joy in helping out others.

    • Kevin says:

      As long as good stuff doesn’t end up in the trash. :) This time was rather unique cause I had so much accumulated from years of apartment living and most of it is gone now. I think it will be a while before we have to do this again… hopefully! :)

  9. My boyfriend lets me to the negotiating, even though he took a negotiations course at work.

    I love Kijiji and Craigslist, though I found that sometimes even when I want to BUY something off Craigslist, people can be very flaky at responding. I always like meeting people when I buy stuff off Craigslist because i get to see how other people live :)

    Glad to hear your moving sale went well!

    • Kevin says:

      The flakiness goes both ways; sometimes I had people leading me on and then in the end they never ended up buying. Gotta watch out for that. My girlfriend loves to negotiate so I let her do a lot of that, too. ;)

  10. Squirrelers says:

    I’ve been wanting to sell a couple of things, including a mattress that’s about 5 years old and in great shape, but not being used. Hopefully there’s someone out there who’ll buy it and maybe be an interesting character as well (hopefully not crazy though!).

    As for women being better negotiators….when negotiating with a man, they’re better than other men in that same situation based on what I’ve seen. Many men just can’t say no, and in some subconscious way want the woman’s approval. When dealing with another guy, it can get competitive. So yes, at least when negotiating with a guy, women are a little bit better at it in my opinion. Of course, I’m speaking in general and I’m sure there are some cases where the opposite is true.

    • Kevin says:

      That’s true, the competitive aspect can make the negotiations more tense and difficult. Usually I try to meet in the middle but I also don’t like it when we agreed to something on the phone and then they try to get an additional discount just for showing up. That seems kind of cheap to me. ;)

  11. I’ve used Craigslist a bunch to sell stuff! I’ve also had a garage sale, and it worked very well – I advertised it on Craigslist!

    • Kevin says:

      Over here I find Kijiji works even better but I love how these guys have destroyed the traditional classifieds, and we’re all better off for it.

  12. June Young says:

    Sounds like you got a good deal! I agree that women are better negotiators. Studies have shown that. Although men are more firm, women always get the best deals!

    • Kevin says:

      I guess negotiation is a very personal thing, that’s why good salespeople have to be aware of how emotions can be manipulated to help swing the terms in their favor. ;)

  13. It sounds like its worth selling your furniture just to be able to meet such an interesting array of characters! I’ve sold things on Craigslist in the U.S. and Gumtree in Australia but have never met such interesting people … perhaps Canada is in my future?

    • Kevin says:

      It always gets more interesting when you’re in the middle of a big city where there a lot of immigrants. You get to meet people from all around the world…

  14. Humourous piece. Glad you could pare down, and start fresh.

    Just a point: the queen sized bed/mattress situation is believable, depending on the years that the two were produced. At some point in the past (not sure when, but I’d say in the last 20 years) the standard sizes were changed. I think it was due to average heights increasing over time.

    My parents had this issue a few years back. They bought a new mattress for their old Queen sized bed, and quickly found out they needed a new frame to accommodate it. A foot-board can also cause problems.

    • Kevin says:

      My frame was only a few years old so I wonder if either his mattress was too small though he thought it was a Queen, or maybe the guy was just mistaken. Surely he would know if he had a King?

  15. Big fan of kijiji over here as well, I’e been selling the old room of my girls since we bought them a new one (they’re growing fast).

    Unfortunately, I haven’t found a buyer for the 2 Dora beds still sitting in my garage!

  16. We have Craigslist here in the USA and I have used that with great results.

    • Kevin says:

      Craigslist over here too but I find Kijiji to work even better — I think the search is more well developed. It’s been a while since I used Craigslist though so maybe they’ve improved.

  17. Wonderful insight there, a food for thought to ponder. I do believe that in some instance women are better negotiators than men. Thank you so much for sharing!

  18. 101 Centavos says:

    Mrs. 101 would just as soon hold a yard sale. I’m not in that camp, I would rather donate everything to charity, take the tax deduction, and save the time and hassle. I’ve become less and less interested in *selling* our “stuff” at yard sales, only because it’s done at a loss. For the same reason, I’m a huge fan of *buying* at garage sales: the seller’s loss is your gain.

    • Kevin says:

      That’s a good point; you can find some great bargains at those sales. I don’t think I would hold another sale like this anytime soon, but this time I had a lot of furniture to offload so it was a great way to get other people to come and pick it up, and pay me in the process. ;)

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    I’ve sold everything a few times before and am selling some stuff now as am moving again. It feels great to get rid of things and get a little fun money from it too!

    Never used Kiji to sell but have used it to buy. I have had success with eBay and Craigslist.

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