Power Of The People

We relish in the kindness of strangers, and we especially love watching this play out in community swap forums, like yard sales and flea markets or even virtually on sites like eBay and Craigslist. That’s why we had to revisit one of our very first (and still all time favorite) posts:  The Power of Craigslist.

I’m still amazed that this experiment worked, but basically we got a bunch of strangers to laboriously dig up all the bushes and haul away the pea gravel from our heavily manicured backyard (seen below during our wedding) to make way for the grassy, puppy-playground that we now enjoy (pictured further below last November).

You’ll have to read the post to find out exactly how it all went down- just forgive us if anything looks majorly amateur – it was only our fourth post!

Just like some of the original readers back in September of last year (all 8 or so of you) – you may be feeling some heartburn over us destroying the beautiful garden that the previous owner had painstakingly groomed. And I’ll admit that we even had some hesitations ourselves when we started the process last fall…

But now that it’s been a year, I can say with 100% certainty that it was the best decision ever.  It’s totally easy to maintain (no more weeding that gravel path to nowhere! no more trimming a million hedges!) and it makes our yard look much bigger (while creating Burger’s own personal outdoor paradise). There’s not a day he’s not out there chasing squirrels, fetching sticks and otherwise running amuck. And since I can’t seem to get a good photo of him in action, I can only submit this shot of him catching his breath (and some rays) in the grass as evidence.

Now we wanna to hear all of your great Craiglist, eBay or yard sale stories.  Got an amazing find to share or another smart tip for using sites like those in unconvential ways? Give us the goods, kind people. And share the hope that some of the best things in life are, in fact, almost free.


  1. says

    Sorry, posted this on the wrong post…

    Here in London I have made excellent use of freecycle: people came and took away some old clothes, some spare copies of magazines, our bread bin and many other odds and ends and in return we collected 2 chest of drawers, a full length mirror (without frame – so we really need some ideas about where to put it), an original steamer trunk which we are using as a coffee table and some photo frames.

    I think gardens look best when they are well used and loved, whatever they look like. If manicured gardens (if you can call them that) took too much maintenance I think a large lawn is just as fab – and more space for croquet and childrens games if and when they come…

  2. says

    Burger is adorable. I heart Burger. And your yard looks great.

    I discovered your blog a couple weeks ago and the timing couldn’t have been better as I am about to embark on some major painting and room redecorating projects. This has been a great source of tips and ideas! Thanks!

  3. Nicolette says

    I would say that about 2/3 of my house has been furnished from craigslist: the beautiful west elm mirror for $25 (still sells for $149 on the website), the Room and Board sectional for $640 (original price exceeds $2,000), my set of 4 white OH! chairs for for less than the cost of 1. Come to think of it, I found my house on craigslist! All of my kitchen appliances too!

    Needless to say, I am a fan of your often inexpensive decor picks. :)

  4. says

    Here is my craigslist story – My husband and I curbed a pool table (some peeps got evicted and we went through their junk) – threw it in the truck – dumped it in the garage – through the miracle of craigslist – sold it for $600. the. next. day.

    same thing happened with a bidet – scored a free $35 – only it was kinda gross to think that we were handling a used bathroom fixture :)

    Gotta love CL. love this post – can’t wait to hear what others say!

  5. Gina says

    I discovered that you can even find husbands on CL!

    We’ve been able to sell a ton of stuff on there though, giving us extra money to buy new things!

  6. says

    We needed to get out of a lease in North Carolina to move to Texas. If we broke the lease we’d incur almost as much in fees as we would have to spend to just pay for the rest of the lease. So we listed the place on CL, and we found someone to take over the rest of the lease for us. He got a great deal on a beautiful place to live (rent had gone up tremendously in the area, but we were still locked in at a lower price), and we got out of the lease with a total cost of $0!

  7. Jacky says

    When we moved in our first house, we found two dozens of mason jars filled with UNKNOWN ingredients in basement. Obviously previous owner canned something a long time ago… We were scared, didn’t even bother opening them. ;)

    We had a couple of other things we wanted to get rid of, so we posted all of them for free on craigslist.

    Believe or not, we got 7-8 replies for the mason jars right away! LOL. That was the first thing sold among several items we posted on CL.

  8. says

    I scored an art deco walnut veneer dressing table on freecycle – it’s so beautiful that 2 years on I still get a thrill when I walk in the guest room & look at it!

  9. Kat says

    I found my wedding photographer on Craigslist! She had years of experience doing wedding photography as part of a firm, but when she left to start her own business, she had to start her portfolio from scratch because all of her previous photos belonged to her old firm. She was already going to do the photos for a few hundred dollars (a *STEAL* for wedding photography here in Chicago), but I told her I had some experience in web design and offered her a website for her budding business. So, bartering a website for wedding photography, I got my fabulous professional wedding photographer for free!

  10. Shaina says

    I used CL to find a place to live in Boston while in grad school. My fiance and I have used it to get rid it of furniture/appliances that we don’t need. And if my brother in law doesn’t come pick up some large landscaping rocks we have left over from a fish pond that broke, I’m putting those on CL as well.

  11. Lauren says

    I think you should know that you have misnamed your dog =). If you check these websites, you will find that the LOLcat and LOLdog community have established that burgers are for kittehs and hotdogs (drumroll) are for doggies. Perhaps you could adopt a kitteh and name it Hotdog!


  12. says

    Oh, yes, I’ve scored a million and one great things at yardsales, but just last weekend, I got a freebie while yardsaling. A really gorgeous outdoor fountain which I’ll be setting up next spring along with a little landscaping project. I posted it on my Monday’s post this week if anyone wants to peek!

  13. Former Richmonder says

    I came here to let everyone know about Freecycle, but someone beat me to it! I’ll just reiterate: Freecycle is GREAT. A little more involved than CL in that you have to join and abide by the rules, which are simple, but you can find some amazing stuff (if you’re fast!) on there AND get rid of things lickety-split. What you can’t do, though, is do a cattle-call for anything you want to freecycle — but you would be surprised what people will give and take on there. Keeping things out of the landfill, if at all possible, is the name of the game. I used it in Richmond many times with great success. Anyway, hope it inspires some people to check it out.


  14. YoungHouseLove says

    We love your wheeling and dealing guys! We love all of your stories and ideas for repurposing, selling, bartering, swapping and scoring fabulous finds! Gotta love recycling.

    Oh and Lauren, those two websites are recent discoveries of John’s and he guffaws over them. Literally. Just sits in a chair laughing out loud. Hysterical. And on the topic of animal names, we once saw a pup named Tater Tot at a pet adoption and almost took him home just because of his name. I mean Hamburger and Tater Tot…. it doesn’t get much better than that.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *