Your Junk is My Precious!

I am loathe to pay full-price for anything.  There are few exceptions to this, beauty products being most notable.  Otherwise, I wait for things to go on sale.  Sales were fine, but I drew the line at buying something that was “preloved”.  Purchasing a dress someone else wore?  Surely not!

But then I moved to New Zealand where everything feels three times as expensive as at home.  And I discovered TradeMe.

TradeMe is like a combination of Ebay and Craig’s List (minus the unsavoury shenanigans).  It is a glorious cornucopia of nostalgia, free trade, real estate, and sparkly earrings. I can buy roofing nails, plants, plane tickets, and fingernail polish all on one easy to navigate website.  We found our flashy new apartment on the wharf on TradeMe.  T bought his car—Hans—on TradeMe, too.

Speaking of said flashy new apartment, the problem with moving somewhere new is making all of your stuff look like it’s been there for a hundred years (minus the dust and obvious environmental damage that would have occurred).  We didn’t have the problem of too much stuff.  No, we so clearly didn’t have enough that it was painful.  A TV, sofa and side table do not a lounge and dining room make.

We thought we’d start slowly.  We made lists.  We prioritised.  We considered where we spent most of our time at home and what we really needed.  A chair, we determined.  Let’s start with a chair!  Man cannot live by a single sofa alone.

We thought we were clever by going to a mid-range furniture store’s big sale.   We searched high and low; we bickered loudly and softly.  Finally, we found a chair we could both agree on.  Only, the chair—a single, small armchair—was $800.00.  On sale.  And it didn’t even have gold plating.  Needless to say, we did not buy the chair.

Then I remembered my trusty friend, TradeMe.  It had given me a roof over my head and provided us with transportation. Surely it could kit out our apartment too?

I gave myself a budget of $700, which had to buy the following:

  • One lounge chair
  •  One coffee table
  • One dining table and chairs, suitable for six people
  • One coat rack
  • One set of filing drawers

These were the essentials.  Could I do it?  Could I really?

Like that annoying, “Let’s Build a House in Seven Days and Still Remain Relentlessly Cheerful” TV Show, Yes. I Could.

And, I got a new handbag, a pair of sandals, and a dress to boot.  I only went over budget by $10.00.

Only $300, and that included delivery. Best bargain of the lot, I think.

The best purchase was by far the lounge chair: gorgeous brown leather from a boutique furniture shop in Paris.  We paid less than 10% of what the man paid (I sleuthed on line!) when he was writing his memoires while living in the South of France.  That was great, of course, but the story of the chair was even better.

At only $200, this got a definite, "Ooh, la la!"

Our worst purchase was the coffee table.  T had to pick it up under the cover of night and had to schlep it from the carport (where it had been left) into Hans and back home.  In the light of day, “minor scratches” were huge gouges, and “good condition” was “leans slightly to the left.”  I should mention that the coffee table man offered to take it back and refund our money, but I had already grown attached to it and felt like a protective mother.

Looks good from afar, but hardly a "bargain" at $50.

Even better still was the endless of parade of stuff that people put up for sale: There were the flame red, patent leather chairs that looked like lips; the “munted” recliner that was held together by tape; the table that had a deep gouge all the way the down the center with the mysterious explanation for how it got there.

Looking through these listings was like seeing the curtains drawn back from these people’s lives.  I’m pretty sure the guy selling the recliner really didn’t want to part with it, but “no longer fits our décor” is code for, “my partner said it’s me or the recliner and I really like her buttered potatoes.”  And the flame red leather chairs?  Either a very good salesman was involved, or some sinister, dark force.

And then there are the people who just tell you.  You don’t even get to guess.  “I’m only selling this chair as it’s too comfy.  I can’t seem to get out of it and my wife said that if I didn’t get off my arse and do the yard work she’d divorce me.  Please won’t you buy my chair?”

I’m now on the hunt for a hall table that will have places for our shoes underneath, drawers or cubbies for the endless pieces of paper that T brings home, and a shelf for all of the stuff that we seem to carry around in our pockets on a daily basis.  Oh.  And it can only be a certain width and depth.  And it needs to be dark brown or black.  If I can find it anywhere, it will be TradeMe.

Off to the hunt I go…

The hangbag is already in operation; the sandals will come home to Savannah with me!