Free Fridge!

One barrier to minimalism is large, heavy possessions — too big to easily move or ship.  And since you’re a minimalist, you just sold your truck.  Doh.

Craigslist is spectacularly effective at quickly eliminating these white elephants — if you’re willing to take a haircut on price.

I didn’t bother to post this before, because I thought it too obvious. Not so: when I eliminated several large items yesterday — in less than 4 hours, with only a few minutes’ effort, and no heavy lifting — amazed friends and onlookers wanted instructions. So here they are.

  • Find out what your item is worth: visit eBay, find similar items, and click “show completed items” to see final selling prices. In seconds, you’ll know what the market will bear.
  • Post your item on Craigslist, with photos.
  • Set your Craigslist price at half the eBay market price.
  • If less than $25, just price it at zero, and post it in the “free stuff” section.
  • In your item description, write, “This is cheap because I need it gone. I will not hold this item for anyone. The first person here with the purchase price gets it.”

You may not be aware that bargain-hunters are constantly trolling Craigslist, looking for situations like this. They are waiting in their trucks, motors running. If you set the price and description as shown above, the resulting feeding frenzy will move just about anything within a few hours. Or even minutes.

Last year, I got rid of a truly decrepit refrigerator in 40 minutes with this post:

“Free working fridge. It’s old, makes a loud buzzing noise, ices up easily, and the door doesn’t seal well. But it works, and I’ll give it free to the first person who can get over here.”

Yes, I might have sold it for $50 with more effort. But such optimizations take time. Consider the value of that time.

The best, and maybe most unexpected part of this gambit is that it makes everyone so happy. The buyer/recipient is ecstatic at getting a great deal. The seller/giver is relieved to be rid of the white elephant. Everyone walks away literally grinning. There is not just efficiency, but shared joy.  This is the essence of Fewer Nicer.


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