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[If you don’t want to read this rambling post about my inability to part with crap, here’s the gist: listing a couple of items I wanted to give away on Kijiji.com was free, easy, and fast. You can see my Kijiji listings here. [UPDATE: Had to take down the ads already, the stuff is spoken for!] If you’re not in NYC, go to the site and change the location to where you are. Let the rambling commence.]
Kijiji is Swahili for “village.” And I’ve got an entire village worth of stuff lying around my house. Earlier this month, Kijiji.com sent a personal organizer to my house for about an hour free of charge to help make a dent in the massive amount of clutter taking over my life. I started the process about a year ago when I put a whole lot of stuff into Ikea boxes. I call it the Ikea-ization of my house, and while I haven’t added anything new to the boxes in months, I’m pretty happy that everything I put into the boxes originally is still there and organized, so I know I’m on the right track.
But as much as I would like to take absolutely everything in my house and put it in a nice little labeled Ikea box and stack it on a shelf, there aren’t enough boxes in Red Hook for all the crap that I’ve accumulated, that I’ve let the kids accumulate (it pisses me off that I can’t even blame this a little bit on The Ass – he just doesn’t bring much stuff into the house). I know that I have to get rid of some stuff. And while the personal organizer was here, I did throw out a bunch of junk. That was fairly easy, because it really was junk. But selling stuff or giving it away…eesh. If someone else would possibly want it, then that means that it’s good enough that I could possibly want it. So why would I get rid of it?
Here’s me getting a little nauseous at the thought of getting rid of anything:
The thing about me is, I talk big. When the very nice and capable Lisa Zaslow was here, in my living room, I said I wanted – needed – to get rid of stuff. And at the time, I meant it. I would have passed a lie detector test no problem. Lisa spent a little time showing me how little time it really takes to make a big difference. We just dug in and worked on my living room shelves. Lisa put post-it notes on shelves so that we could sort stuff for giving away and selling. And in about twenty minutes, things looked so much better! I had put some crap in the garbage, and set aside a few other things to list on Kijiji. Things were going well. I only felt a little sick to my stomach at the thought of getting rid of stuff that I probably hadn’t touched in over a year.
Here’s some stuff that I got rid of. Yes, it felt very weird to throw a baby (doll) into the garbage. And no, I didn’t ask my daughter if I could throw it out, but she hadn’t touched it in so long I doubt if she even remembered it was once one of her prized posessions.
Some of the clutter that I threw out that day included tile samples for a bathroom we chose tiles for more than a year ago, crappy plastic toys from birthday parties and fast food restaurants, and broken toys.
Here’s Lisa talking me through the plan going forward:
We moved to the dining room and Jenny and Alyssa, who were representing Kijiji, showed me the site. They walked me through posting an item on Kijiji, but there was really no explanation necessary. It’s very simple and intuitive. You don’t even have to sign up for the site in order to list something.
I had a lot of questions for Jenny and Alyssa about why someone would use Kijiji instead of, say, Craig’s List. The answer seems to be very simple: since Kijiji doesn’t have sections listing porn and escorts, it’s unlikely that someone looking for those things would wander over to your listing for crib sheets. There’s no provision for those types of services on the site. So Kijiji sounds perfect for local transactions. Although there is an “other” category that I hope they watch carefully. A glance there found an advertisement for “massages” by “young women.” I don’t know how one keeps those kinds of ads out, but if you don’t want to attract the kind of people looking for those ads, you have to make sure the subjects of the ads are all family-friendly.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not necessarily against someone getting a rub-and-tug to help them with their tension (have I been watching too much Entourage?). But when I’m listing items for sale and that sale will be completed locally, in cash, I want the site to be free of offers like that. Or as free of them as possible. And compared to Craig’s List, Kijiji is a nunnery. [UPDATE: A rep from Kijiji contacted me to let me know that they take this issue very seriously, and that anyone who sees an inappropriate ad should click on “Report this Ad” so that appropriate measures can be taken. I just did it for the massage ad. Hovering over “Report this Ad” showed a drop-down list of reasons to report, and I clicked on “Fraud/Scam/Offensive”. That was it. It took 3 seconds.]
Anywho, the visit from the organizing professional was almost a month ago. What happened? Well, I started off with the best of intentions. Before she left, Lisa got me to schedule half an hour for the next day to go through some more stuff and list a couple of things on Kijiji. I was talking about “Yeah, half an hour a day, I can do that.” But Lisa was adamant that I not try to do too much, that it would backfire. OK, I’m down with that. So the next day, at the appointed time, I set a timer for 30 minutes and got to work. I sorted a few more things, and then grabbed a puzzle that I wanted to list on the site. I figured it would be a good idea to put it together and make sure that all the pieces were there. Well guess what? Ten minutes later (yes, my daughter can put it together in about three) I discovered that a piece was missing. Shit. So, instead of just setting that aside and moving on to the next item, I spend the rest of the 30 minutes trying to find that one piece. And of course I never found it.
This was my way of delaying doing what I didn’t want to do. For the next few weeks I avoided emails from the nice Kijiji people. I kept looking at the small pile of stuff that I was supposed to list, and it made me sad. Sad because I had spent money on that stuff and not used it. Sad because I was unable to do this simple thing. I went to BlogHer, and while I was in Chicago, my husband cleaned. I hate it when he does this. He doesn’t sort anything, he doesn’t put anything away. He just takes everything in his way, puts it in boxes, and puts it up on a high shelf where I will never be able to find anything. So that got me moving again. He’s more than happy to leave all of the stuff alone if it’s out of his way. I have to get control of it.
MTV recently sent me the newer version of my beloved Rock Band game, so I took pictures of the old drum set and guitar and listed them on Kijiji. It was easy. It was beyond easy. I put in the relevant info – the price (free), a description, an email address that won’t be made public, my zip code so that potential buyers could get an idea of where I am but not the exact location – and I uploaded a picture. I previewed the listing, approved it, and then got an instant confirmation email. Once I clicked on the confirmation, that was it, I was done. From start to finish, listing an item had taken about 90 seconds. And the screen that I was taken to for my ad let me list it very easily on Facebook and Twitter.
It was so easy, I’m pissed that I hadn’t done it sooner. I don’t want to diss eBay, which I use frequently, because they own Kijiji. And eBay does have a local listing option. But eBay is not set up for this, it’s just an afterthought, and listing on eBay can be a pain in the ass. It’s worth it for something bigger, but not something like baby clothes or used shoes, or giving something away for free. Kijiji is just for that. Free, quick, local, simple.
So, we’ll see if I get any interest in the stuff. If you’re in NYC, check out my listings!
[UPDATE: In the time it took to pick the kids up from camp and get home, I had three people wanting to pick up the drum set and two wanting the guitar. So I’ve removed the ads. When I put up more listings, the link below will take you to them. This is, of course, a great endorsement for Kijiji regarding free items; the next test will be when I put things on the site for sale.]
Oh, and here’s how the shelf looked after about half an hour of decluttering. No, the shelves aren’t done. But I think that’s the point I have to get through my thick head: I don’t have to finish it. I don’t have to look at it as a huge project. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.