Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Project N - our old furniture

As I mentioned, we've been making good progress with our packing, assisted in large part by the departure of our furniture.

I mentioned that we are not able to take most of our existing furniture with us and that we put up online advertisements to sell the furniture off, which was pretty slow-going, so I started giving the furniture away. I got the idea after looking in the SMH forum for people who needed things. There was a lady who was looking for a small shoe rack so I posted in her thread that I had one that I could give her and suddenly I started receiving emails from other people who were interested. It was too easy. I started advertising to give away the rest of our furniture and we got tons of responses, even for items which I never imagined anyone would want.

One couple came in their MPV to take away our TV console, a small cabinet, our large shoe cupboard, our extra dining table with 4 chairs, one bookcase, two wall-mounted mirrors, two light fittings, one small wardrobe, Ryan's chest of drawers, and some small items. They had to make five trips. They were a lovely couple with three children (including a pair of twins) and it was nice to meet them.

Other items we gave away - a smaller wooden shoe cabinet, an aquarium, a cat bed/house, two queen beds and some electrical items. I also gave away my huge wardrobe. I was a little worried that it would be hard to get rid of because, when I bought it, the shop told me that it was too large to fit in some homes.

Just a note that the people who responded to our advertisements didn't appear to be poor or needy. The couple who took more than half our house had their own MPV. The couple who took my huge wardrobe wanted it for their apartment which they were renting out. I responded to an advertisement by a lady looking for cotton wool, cloth diapers, nappy liners and a rubber changing mat. These are cheap items so when I met up with her to give her the items, I was a little surprised to see that she didn't look at all like she was in need of money. She even told me that she was planning to buy them from the store if she couldn't get any responses. So these are people who are just extremely prudent with their money.

We did donate some items to a welfare home: our rice cooker, airpot, two fans, pots and pans, extra tables, extra chairs, extra clothes hangers, extra pillows (we have ten!), old bedsheets, old clothes, stationery, bags, shoes, etc.

I also managed to sell off Ryan's jumperoo, one of his large ELC toys plus his brand new never-been-used steriliser.

What was also interesting was that, when the ladies changed their minds and decided not to take up the item they had expressed interest in, many lay the blame on their husbands - "Discussed with my husband and he doesn't want it" or "My husband said it is not child-friendly" or something like that.

I did receive some strange responses - one lady saw all my furniture advertisements and emailed me asking if I had any unwanted and unused baby items to give her. I replied that I could give her some new baby bottles and old toys and she told me that she would take the bottles. She said she couldn't accept any old baby clothes "because of hygiene reasons". I was a little stunned - did she think my baby wore dirty clothes? or did she think that I would give her urine-soaked cloth diapers? doesn't she wash her baby's clothes before use in any event? Come to think of it, I didn't even offer her any old clothes!

Another lady who wanted to buy our mattress asked me so many ridiculous questions that I started to get annoyed. She herself had advertised for a pre-loved queen-sized mattress and I responded to say that I had one, brand new, still-wrapped-in-plastic and would sell it to her for $60. She replied asking what size it was and whether it was brand new as she was only looking for a brand new mattress. So, this was weird - she had advertised for a queen-sized mattress, why would I be offering her some other size? She had also advertised for a pre-loved mattress, so how come she now wanted a brand new one? Anyway, didn't my email say it was brand new? She also asked me what the mattress brand was and she wanted photos. My goodness. Photos of a mattress still wrapped in plastic?

Well, I kept my cool and gave her the answers she wanted. I even asked her what parts of the mattress she wanted me to photograph, hoping that she'd see how nonsensical her request was and tell me oh, photos are not necessary after all. I was flabbergasted by her response - she wanted a photograph of the mattress tag showing the brand! Did she think I can't read? Of course, she also asked me to photograph the front, the back and the sides! She said that this mattress has a massage function plus a soft side and a hard side - but come on, can you really see whether all those features are working from a photograph?

Well, I tried to be nice and I responded to tell her that I would send her the photos but that I was surprised at her request because I surely wouldn't produce something different when she turns up at my house for collection. Her response? She asked me, "How long have you had this mattress?" Gosh, I really wanted to call off the deal at that point. So I wrote back and told her frankly that, this was getting a little annoying as I had already said that it is a Seahorse Diamond queen-sized mattress, still wrapped in plastic and, for $60, she would not be able to find a better deal and that we were initially going to donate it to a charity to save us the hassle. After a day or two, she wrote back to say that she really wanted the mattress. She apologised and explained that she wanted to find out if the mattress was dusty as she wanted to let her one-year old son sleep on it.

Now, here is what I don't understand. The mattress is still wrapped in plastic (actually two layers of plastic) - so how can it be dusty? And what makes her think that I don't keep my house clean and free of dust? Anyway, why didn't she just ask me if it was dusty instead of asking how long I have had it? The latter doesn't necessarily lead to the former. What difference does it make if her one-year old son is going to sleep on it? Does she mean that adults can sleep on dusty mattresses? Even if the mattress is not hospital-grade clean, surely she should clean the mattress regularly?


Ok, that was a bit of a rant. But I've got it out of my system now. :) I sent her the photos and she's coming to pick up the mattress on Saturday morning. Hopefully she won't ask me to sign a guarantee or to swear on my son's life. I'm keeping my fingers crossed on this one.

So, yes, back to the furniture. We've got one last item to deal with, which is a vintage wooden radio console with an attached LP player. Richard had it painstakingly restored but we haven't had a spin on it for years now so it's time to let it go. We made an inquiry at Lorgan's Retro Store to see if they'd take it and hopefully they will, otherwise it's going to be a tough issue.

So these past two weeks have been about posting advertisements, dealing with all the responses, answering all the queries, lining up the individual collection times, negotiating prices, meeting up with various characters, etc. The funny thing is, as I managed to give away/sell some items, I started looking for more items to give away/sell. It was addictive! Although it was hard to let go of some of the items due to sentimental reasons, overall I felt more happy than sad. I was wondering if it was because we were unburdening ourselves of stuff, but then I remembered that we have the same amount of new furniture in our new home - we're just replacing and renewing the old. So, then I realised that I was feeling happy because, by letting go of our old stuff, I was able to open myself to newer and better things. I was moving on.

So, back to packing!


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