I recently shared all of my best Craigslist shopping secrets here on the blog. I tried to be as detailed as possible, and if the number of animated gifs I used is any indication, I think I was pretty successful at creating a comprehensive guide to buying vintage furniture on Craigslist!
However, as I was writing the post, I kept thinking about how there was so much more information than I could ever hope to cram into just one article, gifs or no gifs. Tips and solutions that apply to gathering from so many other sources than just Craigslist.
“Gathering essentials,” if you will.
One question I get all the time whenever I share a large furniture find is, “How did you get it home?”
And the answer is, we have a truck; and when our first truck went to the big car lot in the sky at nearly 20 years old, we promptly bought another truck, because hauling furniture is just a way of life at this point.
But that answer never seems particularly helpful, because it feels like I’m saying, “Well, if you don’t have a truck, you’re just out of luck.” (Rhyming entirely unintentional.)
Of course, that isn’t actually the case at all!
There are tons of different ways to get your vintage finds home safely and today’s post will outline some of the more common methods as well as some truly out-of-the-box thinking crowd-sourced from other gatherers!
Don’t let not having a truck or large SUV keep you from bringing home fabulous finds like this:
Rethink Your Vehicle
First of all, start by critically examining your vehicle. Measure door openings and trunk openings – will the object fit through one of those? Don’t forget to think about width AND height, and remember – vehicle openings are often smaller at the top than at the bottom.
Next, try folding down the seats or removing them if possible (check your vehicle owner’s manual or do a quick Google search to see how and if they can be taken out.) You just might be surprised how much room you’re able to make!
As Craigslist sellers, Bryan and I are often more than happy to offer delivery to buyers, usually for a reasonable fee to cover our gas and time.
It never hurts to ask if the seller is able to deliver – sometimes they’ll even throw it in for free if it’s not too far away and you’re paying asking price! Otherwise, you might be able to negotiate delivery on top of the purchase price.
Borrow / Barter
Do you have a friend with a truck? Offer to trade favors for help getting your find home. We are used to being those friends and I promise we don’t mind being asked to lend a hand!
If the truck is their main method of transportation, you could also try swapping vehicles for the day. It’s always nice to replenish any gas used or refill the tank to say thanks!
Pro tip: be sure to prep for road hazards and keep weight limits in mind!
I guess a trailer is pretty standard, however, once we were able to purchase left over pure sand ($20 for all three trailer loads!!) from someone on craigslist. Well I told my friend that the second load may be slightly overloaded and to go slow- perhaps we should take a highway? Their response: “The other load was fine, it should be ok.” Not two minutes down the interstate, POP! Now, this trailer was brand new (think 2 days old) so they hadn’t gotten around to getting a spare tire yet. Guess what he purchased right away? Two tires (the other as a spare). Haha #lessonlearned
— Trisha, Black and White Obsession
Rent A Truck
Did you know you can rent a truck or van for an hour, usually for just about $20?
We tell buyers about these options all the time – so many people don’t realize how reasonable it can be to rent bigger transportation!
We have a tiny little two door car, so hauling things around can get tough. We normally end up renting a truck from home depot or uhaul for 20 bucks and getting it home that way.
— Kayla Louise
Or you can combine a road-trip and Craigslist pickup like Megan did! Site-seeing while majorly scoring in the vintage furniture department? Living the dream!
Totally worth crossing half the United States:
Hire Movers / A Delivery Service
What if the find is something you just can’t physically move, or you know it’s going to be a huge hassle getting it into place in your home?
For example, take this giant, solid oak French buffet that nearly did us in trying to safely get it down from the back of our pickup truck. We learned our lesson and when we moved, we hired movers specifically because we didn’t want to have to haul this giant ever again!
Many moving companies charge by the hour (although often they have a set minimum, like 2 hours) and offer furniture moving services. Try searching for furniture moving services online, or call a local moving business and ask for a quote. This is definitely not always affordable, but it’s worth having in your back pocket as an option!
I frequently see pickup and delivery services offered on my local Craigslist, so you can also try checking the “labor and moving” section, listed under “Services.” I haven’t personally hired a delivery service myself via Craigslist, and keep in mind, these are individual people advertising their services, so please remember to use caution when vetting a potential mover!
Where There’s A Will, There’s A Way
Okay, you guys, this is my absolute favorite part of the post. I put out the word asking for out-of-the-box solutions people have found for transporting gathered finds and boy did I get some wild and wonderful answers!
Uber / Taxi cab / Public Transportation
NY-dwelling gatherer Nancy doesn’t let city life stop her from hauling fantastic finds home!
Once hauled a coffee table from a store on Fifth Ave in a yellow cab. Poor cabbie almost didn’t let me but I paid extra!
I’ve also taken chairs on the train and soooo much other stuff like paintings and once even a full size statue that I put on the seat next to me, that was fun.
And Pamela’s friend just might be a certified genius:
What’s that? How do neck ties help you haul home a vintage find? Grand Cayman thrifter Eden shared:
My humorous story is actually my hubby’s. We live in Grand Cayman. Last summer I was off-island in Canada but still keeping up with my daily routine of scouring our Ecay ads (our version of craigslist). Much to my delight, I found the bottom half of a faux bamboo hutch I had been eyeing for several weeks at a local thrift shop. Hubby to the rescue! He went and bought the bottom half and it fit fine in our van. But when he went to buy the top half at the thrift store while on his lunch break the next day, it stuck out the back. (I don’t know who helped him lift these things in! They weigh a ton!) He had no bungee cords or anything. So the thrift store gave him some old neckties (I think they were relieved to be rid of this top half piece that no one wanted). He “secured” it with his new “tie straps” and drove 20 minutes home without a problem. Those were strong neckties!
— Eden, @curatedcayman
Phone Charger Cord
Another ingenious solution, featuring an unlikely tie-down substitute:
I think the best and worst story of transporting a Craigslist find was the most recent one for the new KW [Kelly Wearstler] chairs.
So the seller lives in the Trump World Tower, which is right by the United Nations. Parking there is HORRIBLE, more so than usual because there’s all sorts of security and road blocks. I told my husband to measure before he went because they were big chairs- but he shrugged it off and told me they would fit don’t worry. Well they finally pick them up only to realize neither of them will fit in the car!! Somehow they get one to fit halfway in the trunk and strap it down with a phone charger! Then they had to go back through security and bring the other chair back to the seller, only to have to pick it up tomorrow and take it home the same way!
For those really local finds! Brilliant:
On a similar note, I knew a family who bought a piano from a neighbor and simply rolled it down the street door to door!
Thrift Score Thursday cohost Maggie had this story to share that had me almost crying laughing! Is there anything duct tape isn’t good for?
The funniest story I have is from when my husband and I first got married and were consolidating all our stuff. We decided to have a garage sale but most of my husband’s stuff was in a storage unit and had to be moved to the house for the sale. At the time I had a compact car and he had a Jeep Wrangler. My husband is in the Army where they dole out duct tape like candy so he decided that duct taping things to the roll bars of his Wrangler was a perfectly acceptable mode of transport. We had a queen size mattress taped to the top roll bars and the top half of a hutch taped to the back roll bars. I feel like a diagram would be useful here but just think Beverly Hillbillies and you got the picture. I was so hysterically laughing as I drove behind him hoping everything would stay attached. The funny thing is it totally worked and everything arrived in one piece.
Side note: In the Army they refer to duct tape as “100 Mile per hour” tape which takes its name from being so strong that it could keep a Jeep together while driving at 100 MPH. Well, I guess it means it will hold your furniture to a Jeep going 100MPH as well.
— Maggie, Maggie Overby Studios
There’s a Kudu in my Tacoma…
Finally, I just hard to share this submission from vintage seller Amanda about the craziest find she ever hauled home, braced in the back of her pickup truck:
When we brought this vintage kudu home he caused lots of stares and honks!
We planned to sell him at our barn sale in the cottage at Sweet Clover (pictured below), but found out we could not sell taxidermy game animals in the state of Maryland. So, we have decided to keep him for now 🙂 He was worth all of the strange looks at stop lights!
— Amanda, @storydesignhouse
Proof that no matter what you find, there’s probably a creative way to get it home!
So let’s hear it! How do you get your vintage finds home safely?
Any methods I haven’t covered yet?
Crazy stories you’d like to share?
I seriously can’t wait – I have the utmost faith in your ingenuity and resourcefulness!
While we’re talking about hauling treasures home, you might want to check out this post, featuring the 10 things I can’t live without when we’re buying and restoring vintage furniture: