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Last week while I was loading up on all of my various crafty supplies for Christmas decorating projects, I came across this coffee mug at Goodwill. I loved the vintage colors and I knew that glass when I saw it: Anchor Hocking Fire King. Fire King is no longer made and was originally created for basic, everyday use giveaway glassware. And what that means, is that it was commonly given away with sacks of flour and such. Now, it’s extremely collectible.

So, when I saw this mug I knew it was coming home with me and for .59 cents, why not? I decided the next day that I would look it up and just do a simple Google search on “Stuckey’s Coffee Club”. First hit was this listing on Ebay. Drum roll…..

I was totally shocked! $87!!! I was not expecting that. At. All. So now, I’m left with a dilemma. Should I sell or not sell? I do really love the vintage goodness of this coffee mug, but an $86.41 profit is really something!

Now, I’m asking you. What should I do? Would you go through the hassle of setting up an Ebay or Etsy shop with the hopes of selling this mug? I mean, I’ve got my eye on other vintage goodies that I could totally sell in a shop. What do you think?

I’ve linked up to Flea Market Finds over at Her Library Adventures. Go check out all the goodness!

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Let’s face it. Sometimes, you make a purchase and you decide you can’t live with it. In an ordinary commerce environment this would not be much of a problem at all. You’d simply return the item to the store where you bought it, or, maybe even a closer location of the same store if you’re lucky, and you’d be done with it. It’s not even a gamble to buy something just to see how it fits in your home because worst case scenario you have to run an extra errand the next time you’re out in the next 30 days. Unfortunately, with secondhand furniture the return process is not so easy. In fact, it’s not really a return process at all.

Take, for instance, the story of Kyle and my kitchen table.

We have a very long kitchen, as you can see above. I don’t recall the exact dimensions of it but it was originally two rooms before we remodelled. One small kitchen and one awkward and kind of large laundry room in a terrible location in the house. It took us quite a while to figure out what was going to work in the eat-in side of the kitchen. We left it empty for the first month we lived here. Then, at Thanksgiving or Christmas, we bought a six-chair counter height white table from Craigslist near my parent’s house. We paid only $50 for the table and we were pretty sure that we could have sold the stools alone for at least what we paid for the table, so it was an okay risk. When we saw the table, we thought it looked a little smaller than we thought it would when we measured the space for it. Sure enough, when we got it home, it was way too small. We kept it anyway through the new years when we had our first and only dinner part on it. The last week of January, we found a harvest table at a friend’s antique store and picked that up.

On our local Craigslist, we were able to sell the table and chairs for $60 — not a bad deal at all.

The key to our luck on craigslist is that Kyle is pretty good at writing posts. We always write a good, descriptive title like “white counter-height table with six barstools” and includes a picture or two along with a good description including any minor flaws in the furniture. We also let people know we’re motivated to sell. I don’t like to include the message  “I want it gone this afternoon” unless I really do need it gone by then, but I do let people know that we’ll accept the best offer.

Craigslist isn’t the only way to get rid of something. You can also try eBay, or if you’re into really moving furniture getting a booth at a local antique store or consignment shop. We’ve investigated both options are on a wait-list at our favorite antique store. The nice thing about a booth is that you don’t have to be 100% available to the whims of a buyer and you can hold on to stuff for a little longer. There also is a lot more pressure to sell though and you need to be committed to rearranging and making your space look nice and fresh. I hope that someday Mary or I will have a lot more to contribute on this topic because it’s definitely something we’re interested in!

If you don’t have luck, you can make lemonade out of lemons, so to speak. I actually decided in May that I was going to give up on trying to sell Kyle on the harvest table. After a week or so, he hadn’t really liked it still and he was refusing to give in to my suggestions to buy chairs for it. So, we found a table we both really liked (and still love!) and decided to give the harvest table a whirl on Craigslist too. We weren’t able to sell it that day and instead of relisting it, I started scheming.

I really loved the look of our harvest table but it had a break in one of the pieces of wood that made up the table top and a problem with an unstable leg. Plus, the longer I considered it, the less I thought I wanted to eat breakfast on a table top that wasn’t smooth.

While thinking it was maybe time for us to relist the harvest table, with a much better photo of it than the quick snapshot we took above, I was reading Poetic Home and came across a post about DIY reclaimed wood headboards. I especially like these two:

 

So maybe my harvest table doesn’t need to be returned. It just needs to be reclaimed. Sounds like a project for a future post, yes? While I think about those plans, you make sure you’re staying safe whether that means paying attention to you methods of receiving money via eBay or just using your head about when, where, and how to meet a potential buyer you met through Craigslist. These methods offer a lot more options than placing a newspaper classified in that you don’t have to give away personal information to the buyer until you trust them but it’s also easy to get over confident about your safety. When possible, meet in a public place and take a friend with you. Most importantly: use your head!

For more advice on choosing secondhand furniture (that you hopefully won’t need to return or reclaim), check out our sweet roundup of our choosing secondhand furniture series.

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I  mentioned last week in Choosing Secondhand Furniture: Know Your Shared Style that I think Kyle’s style is a little more fun than mine is. I’m not totally grown-up and boring around my house, though. I have one weakness for cute things — animals. I especially like it if I can get an animal thing that’s also functional. Maybe you remember my excitement about the elephant teapot in the Calypso St. Barth collection at Target way back when? Well, when I come across a cute animal at a thrift store I’m always tempted to buy it.

I try to curb my crazy ideas by thinking about what kind of use something might have.

When I saw the crazy winged zebra for $350 while shopping a few months ago, I had to think about whether or not it was worth $350 to have an item that had really no purpose except I thought it was hilarious. For the record, I decided it wasn’t.

Sometimes, though, I deem something worthy of acquiring. Last week, I saw these Bojensen era teak hippos on Vintage Scapes:

Friday, she posted that she had discovered one of the hippos for sale on ebay. I decided to try my hand at the deal and managed to score one for $20.49 when shipping & handling was said and done. It was a bit of an impulsive purchase, but I set my maximum bid fairly low and I was enticed by the seller saying it needed teak oil and describing the wood as very thirsty. I know the seller meant the wood was very thirsty, but it sounded like the hippo was thirsty and needed me to rescue him. … So, I did.

I think his mouth will be the perfect spot to catch all of my hair ties when they come off of my head so Kyle can stop complaining that he finds them all over the house and has no idea where to put them.

He should be here by the end of the week! I can’t wait!

We’re linking up at Flea Market Finds so go check out everyone’s finds after you check out our site for a while.

 

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So Eclectic is a blog dedicated to great ideas for home design. Austin, Texas-based writer Mary Marcum and Savannah, Missouri-based writer Jess Rezac feature affordable decor, decorating solutions, and inspiration. At So Eclectic, we experiment with design together. So Eclectic posts new content every weekday.

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