As I mentioned last week, with summer comes a renewed focus on buying and selling vintage furniture here in the Delerson household.
In the past several years, we have bought and/or sold at least 100 pieces on the Dallas Craigslist, and during the associated hundreds of hours of lifting, loading, hauling, cleaning, fixing and restoring, we’ve learned a few things that help make our Craigslisting adventures go as smoothly as possible.
So today I decided to pull together our top Craigslist essentials for you – a Craigslist survival guide, if you like. These are things we use constantly when hauling things home and getting them shined up and looking their best.
*Today’s post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through an affiliate link, I may receive a small commission. You can read my full disclosure here. I hope you all know by now that I do only share things I really truly love!
1. Rachet Tie-Down Straps
These ratchet tie-down straps are hands down one of our best purchases ever. I make sure everything we haul home in the bed of the truck is secured – I’ve seen way too many pieces of furniture orphaned on the side of the highway to risk it!
Remember that one time I thought I didn’t need them?
Secrets of a Craigslist addict: Did you know there’s a little secret to using ratchet tie-down straps? I was using them the wrong way for years and I’ve seen so many people struggle with them!
The secret is to pull the tail of the strap as tight as you can and then once all the slack is gone, start ratcheting to completely tighten the strap. Once you get the hang of it, they are so quick and easy to use!
2. Moving Blanket
A moving blanket protects the bed of your truck or the inside of your vehicle, as well as whatever it is that you’re transporting. When it’s not in use, you can tuck it behind or under a seat and forget about it, but it’s a great thing to have with you at all times!
Secrets of a Craigslist addict: Mattress pads, sheets, and old blankets are perfectly acceptable substitutes. We accidentally left our moving blanket in the bed of our truck once and it was stolen, so I’ve commandeered an old mattress pad for the same purpose – while it’s disgustingly ratty at this point, it does the job!
3. Furniture Dolly
A furniture dolly is absolutely a lifesaver for those big, hefty pieces that are so hard to grip and carry! This flat type of dolly won’t work for everything (my dream dolly is something like this!), but definitely helps when the distance from the truck to the door seems to expand into miles and your arms feel like rubber!
Secrets of a Craigslist addict: Make sure all doors, shelves and all hinged-parts are secured shut if you’re tipping a piece on its side. You don’t want to end up in the ER because a heavy piece of marble slammed down on your foot! (True story.)
4. Work Gloves
Work gloves are another smart thing to keep in your car at all times – put that glove box to its original use! Sharp glass, metal accents, or even just rough wood edges can be tough on your hands when you’re carrying something heavy, so a pair of gloves really helps! (And, you know, being up to date on your tetanus booster never hurts either.)
Secrets of a Craigslist addict: Does anyone else worry about creepy crawlies in the fingers when they put on a pair of gloves, or is it just me? My solution: slip them inside a plastic storage bag and seal after each use. Boom. No finger-spiders allowed!
5. A Tarp
Do you remember my story of how we hauled my dream vintage Chesterfield two hours home, skirting a hurricane-force rain storm? It’s pretty much a miracle that it didn’t get poured on! I was glued to the back window of the truck praying for the rain to hold off the entire ride home.
You know what would have been handy to have at that moment? You guessed it – a tarp!
It’s another one of those things you can tuck behind a back seat for crazy out-of-nowhere showers or those finds that you need to drive out to get before somewhere else snaps it up, come hell or high water!
6. Howard’s Restor-A-Finish
I absolutely swear by Howard’s Restor-A-Finish for 99% of normal wear and tear on wood furniture – water rings, scratches, white spots, fading. I have a personal collection of different wood tones, but I suggest the Walnut and the Golden Oak for a “starter kit”, so you’ll have an option for dark and light wood grains. In my experience, the closer you can match the Restor-A-Finish to the piece, the better it will work.
Secrets of a Craigslist addict:
- Test the Restor-A-Finish on an inconspicuous part of the piece to see how it looks.
- Never use a darker tone of Restor-A-Finish since it can change the color of the wood finish.
- Play it safe: if the piece is truly valuable or special, I wouldn’t touch it without a pro’s advice/expertise.
- For teak pieces, use Watco teak oil instead.
7. Howard’s Feed-N-Wax
I use Howard’s Feed-N-Wax (a beeswax + orange oil wood polish and conditioner) in two ways: as a follow up after Restor-A-Finish, or when a piece is in great condition and just needs a little boost. Sometimes wood gets dry and lifeless over time, and Feed-N-Wax is great for reviving dull wood finishes.
Bonus: it smells great!
8. Cotton Rags
If you have a bunch of old t-shirts on hand, they are great for cutting into rags and using to apply wood finishing products. After I ran through all the old cotton tees we could spare, I discovered how affordable it was to buy a one pound bag of white cotton rags. I keep them on hand all the time.
Safety notice: Be careful with rags soaked in any wood finishing products – oily rags can be fire hazards! This Fine Woodworking article has some helpful tips for the safe disposal of oil soaked rags.
9. Fine Synthetic Steel Wool Pads
Synthetic steel wool pads resemble the scrubby side of a sponge. They come in different grades (coarse, medium, fine) and I usually use the fine grade when I’m applying Restor-A-Finish to help with any problem areas in the finish (water or heat stains) as well as to help remove anything on the surface (like old paint spatters, etc.)
10. Vinyl Gloves
I always keep a box of these vinyl gloves (latex free – important for me!) around to keep my hands clean and chemical-free.
And a bonus recommendation! File this away, fellow lucite lovers:
Novus Plastic Polish Kit
The Novus plastic polish kit includes three different polishes – a heavy scratch remover, a fine scratch remover, and a cleaning/shining polish. It really does work wonders on dull lucite. I used it on my lucite coffee table and was able to remove many smaller scratches and minimize the effects of the larger scratches. I’m glad to have it in my tool kit for the next (fingers crossed) fab lucite find!
My Secrets of a Craigslist Addict series has been a little neglected this past year, but I’m looking forward to continuing to share helpful Craigslist tips and tricks with you all!
So tell me – which of these things do you already have in your “Craigslist survival guide”? Or what would you add? I really really wanted to keep it to 10 things, but I just have to leave this here: hand sanitizer.