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We Sold Our Piano!!

by J. Money on Wednesday, August 15, 2012

piano for sale

Man, only took us THREE months to do! Haha… if only I had that thrift shop open! ;) But even though this probably sets the record for the longest time I’ve ever sold anything on Craigslist, at least in the end we prevailed. And now I get more of my space back too!

Here’s how it all went down. I’m sure some of you can relate to some of this:

  • 6 years ago I REALLY really REALLY wanted a piano cuz I wanted to learn how to play and figured the only way that was to happen was if we had one IN our house. Plus, I’ve always thought they looked pretty pimp in homes too and added in a bit of elegance ;)
  • So we researched all over Craigslist and finally found the one that would soon be ours, for only $350.  It was old – like 60 years old – and antique kinda looking, but everything was in decent shape and we were ready to start playing it!
  • We paid another $200 for it to be moved professionally (I had originally thought I could save the money and just do it myself with a few friends, but after 10 seconds of even trying to LIFE the dang thing I realized I was a big ol’ idiot.  Plus it would probably break the car,  haha…) and 2 weeks later it was ours.
  • It then sat.
  • And sat.
  • And sat.
  • Until one day I said  “Hey you!  Get your ass on it and start learning!” So I did… for 20 minutes.
  • And then it sat again.
  • And again.
  • And again.
  • Then in the first week of getting started on Operation Pimp Library, I decided it was finally time to just let go of it and hopefully find a family that would actually PLAY the darn thing.
  • So we cleaned it up, double checked the condition of everything (it turned out 2 of the keys were a bit funky and only worked 50% of the time), and then listed it on Craigslist for a solid $300. $50 less than we originally paid for it, and $250 less if you count the $200 it took to move it on over (which we wouldn’t get back).
  • And we waited.
  • And waited and waited, and nothing.  Unless you count the dozens of scammer emails all trying to rip you off behind your back (a-holes).
  • So we went back and dropped it down to $250, and again waited.
  • Nothing.
  • Then we moved it to $200 and started getting a few hits here and there.  Though if any of you have ever tried to sell something on Craigslist, you know about 50% of the potential buyers end up flaking out and never have the decency to even keep you updated…
  • Nothing panned out, and we gave up.
  • 2 weeks later I  decided I had had enough, and got re-energized to complete the mission once and for all. It was taking up too much space!!
  • I dropped the price, yet again, to $150, and decided that was the lowest we were gonna go and if  I didn’t sell it at that point, it was going right out into the FREE department.
  • We then probably went through 6 or 7 buyers humming and hawing about whether to buy it or not (the tricky part were the half-broken keys, of course), and then one family who told us 100% they wanted it and would be back in 3 days to pick it up.  We thought for SURE it was a done deal at that point, but the night before they were set to come out, their piano teacher called and ended up giving them her old one for free!  D’oh!
  • Fast forward 3 more weeks ’till yesterday, and we finally had a winner!!  YAY!!!  She came right on over – on schedule – took 8 minutes to look at it and take a diagnosis, and 10 seconds later I  had $150 in cash and the movers planned to come out and pick it up.  Mission completed!

The moral of the story?  Keep being patient and evaluate things over and over again until you’ve finally found the winning concoction.  Whether it’s with selling stuff, paying off debt, looking for a new job or whatever.  It’s annoying as hell (believe me!), and you want to give up more often than not, but in the end good things DO come if it’s important to you and you stick to it :) And then afterwards it all becomes a part of “the story” and you move right into the next mission on your list!

Which, for us, is now figuring out what to do with our two dusty guitars sitting around too, haha… I learned a 3rd moral here that me and instruments just don’t go together, no matter HOW sexy I think they are in my hands ;) That’ll save me a lot of money and trouble down the road!

Who else is on a mission to get rid of stuff taking up space in their house? Anyone just unloading it like a rock star?


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{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Lance @ Money Life and More August 15, 2012 at 7:32 am

Instruments are hard to learn but it is cool once you finally get going on them. I played Saxophone for over 10 years but haven’t touched it since I graduated from college.

My girlfriend has a nicer piano her parents gave her for her 13th birthday that she is thinking of selling but knows she can’t get anywhere near the couple thousand dollars her parents paid for it so she’d feel bad for selling it cheap. I know the whole rant on sunk costs but it has an emotional attachment for her.

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2 William @ Drop Dead Money August 15, 2012 at 7:41 am

This article appeared in the NY Times a short while ago:
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/30/arts/music/for-more-pianos-last-note-is-thud-in-the-dump.html?pagewanted=all

Sign of the times… :)

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3 Jen August 15, 2012 at 8:24 am

Haha I just did the opposite! I had a piano growing up and loved playing, but it’s been probably 10 years since I had a piano in-house to play on a daily basis, and my fingers were itching to play again. I have always wanted a baby grand piano, but 1) we live on a second floor apartment with stairs only, and 2) I knew I couldn’t justify a few grand (haha I’m so punny) in costs unless I knew I would play it near-daily. So I kept an eye out on craigslist and ended up paying $200 for a full 88-key piano keyboard (fits in the apartment but weighs a whopping 40 lbs!).

It’ll be good for two reasons – I get to see if I will really play it every day (so far so good), and I get to practice back up to the level where I used to be, so that when I do buy a baby grand someday, it doesn’t sound like crap from all the wrong notes I hit!

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4 LB August 15, 2012 at 8:30 am

Clutter and mess has been annoying me bad! I started a sell room which is our second bathroom, but am thinking I should just donate some more after reading your post. That room gets chipped away from my husband selling on ebay and I do my part by selling used books and stuff like that. I should totally get on that today before my classes start next Monday! Thanks for the motivation :)

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5 SavvyFinancialLatina August 15, 2012 at 9:39 am

You should have had a garage sale :)

I never played the piano, but I did play the flute for a really long time. My awesome flute is still in its case in my closet. I have been meaning to take it out again to earn some side hustle money. In a previous life I taught beginner flute lessons to little kids (Age 9-10).

How much would you pay for a music lesson for your kid?

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6 Greg@ClubThrifty August 15, 2012 at 9:45 am

Wow, this sounds exactly like what happened when we bought a treadmill…and a guitar…and a lawn mower…and an ironing board.

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7 Felicity @ Waist & Wallet August 15, 2012 at 9:46 am

Congrats on your sale! I love Craigslist. We’re moving into our new home within the next month and my motto for furnishing the house is going to be Craigslist or Clearance.

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8 Nick August 15, 2012 at 9:55 am

Wow – congrats on getting it out and getting a few bucks in! Generic/run-of-the-mill pianos are definitely tough to sell, especially because there always seems to be a few free ones on Craigslist. Glad you got yours out of the house.

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9 Budget & the Beach August 15, 2012 at 9:56 am

I’m sure that’s a relief! I have a snowboard I tried to sell last year. Obviously it’s summer so I stopped listing it, but will try again in the fall when people might be interested in taking up the sport again and hopefully I can sell it for more than I listed last year.

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10 Emmy August 15, 2012 at 10:19 am

UGH I wish I lived closer to you because I TOTALLY would have bought it! I’ve played piano for years but all I have a tiny little keyboard that I keep stashed under my bed. In the first house I rented we had a piano and it was AMAZING. I miss it. Wait.. I’m supposed to be SAVING money, not spending it. Drat. OK… so it’s a good thing I don’t live near you then I guess.

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11 Squeezer @Personal Finance Success August 15, 2012 at 10:33 am

I am an impatient person. After waiting a week or 2 with no bites, i probably would have pushed it into my backyard and lit it on fire and let it burn to ashes. I did that once with a clothes dresser.

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12 J. Money August 15, 2012 at 10:36 am

It’s a good day, my friends! Wishing you nothing but sexiness and more cash in YOUR pockets too! :)

@Lance @ Money Life and More – Saxaphone, huh? I always wanted to play it myself growing up, but unfortunately was way to small to even carry it (my growth spurt happened later than everyone else) so I had to start on the Clarinet, haha… and then I got lazy and just stuck with that instead of moving to the sax ;)
@William @ Drop Dead Money – Yikes! I’ll have to read through it entirely, but my guess is better electronics are killing them? Since you can learn/play on computers and smart phones now? ;)
@Jen – Sounds like a smart plan to me! Much better than going “all in” like I always end up doing ;) And maybe by then you’ll be living in a bigger, stairless, place too?
@LB – GOOD! Go for it!! You know it’ll get filled up later down the road anyways, so you’ll have plenty of time to sell more stuff online if you want to ;) I do my best to donate stuff after a month if I still have yet to try selling something online. Makes me feel a ton better.
@SavvyFinancialLatina – Cool! I don’t have the slightest idea how much flute lessons cost, but I’d probably pay around $20-$30/hour maybe? If my kid really wanted to learn? I don’t have a problem spending money on education and stuff that’s going to expand their minds – I want ‘em to learn and try a billion things growing up :)
@Greg@ClubThrifty – Hahhahahaa…. I literally just sent my guitar to our local consignment shop after sitting there for 5+ years ;)
@Felicity @ Waist & Wallet – YES! LOVE IT!!
@Nick – For real. I probably would have gone the free route too as I was slowly losing hope there in the end, but the Mrs. was adament we got cash for it so it wasn’t even an option for me ;) I’m glad she stuck with her guns though!
@Budget & the Beach – Yeah! Good idea. Maybe you can try selling it at a consignment shop too if you have any good ones around? Might be easier to sell if people are walking in and seeing it all day long? But I’d def. go the CL route first just to see if you can get your money’s worth – the consignments will take a chunk as their commission.
@Emmy – Haha… for you I would have given it gratis, but only if you put on concerts for us every now and then! :)
@Squeezer @Personal Finance Success – Hahahhahaa…. omg that is good. I hope you took pictures/video? :)

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13 Joe @ Retire By 40 August 15, 2012 at 10:45 am

We have a piano in our small condo. It takes up a lot of space in the living room, but Mrs. RB40 had it since she was little. She plays it once in a while and baby RB40 seems to like it too. I have a guitar and a bunch of ukuleles. There is one violin under the bed that the Mrs. was planning to learn to play, but never got to it:)

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14 Mrs. K @ Get Worth August 15, 2012 at 10:54 am

We didn’t have anything big taking up space, but it was all of the little things adding up. I was reading The Happiness Project book, and it motivated me to start clearing the clutter to add to our garage sale. Once I started I just couldn’t stop! I’m still always looking for things to toss, donate, or sell. “outer order contributes to inner calm.” :)

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15 Brittany August 15, 2012 at 12:37 pm

Oh, you lucky! I HATE selling stuff on CraigsList because of the buyers. I live in Portland, Oregon, aka Beer City USA, and I’ve had a homebrew kit listed for about $75-$100 less than I paid for it and it isn’t moving. I’ve had it listed for a month! Maybe I just need to wait two more months… ;o)

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16 Jen @ Master the Art of Saving August 15, 2012 at 12:58 pm

I usually just donate stuff or give it away unless I can get good money for it. I’ve pretty much gone through everything and decluttered like a crazy chick, but I’m sure I’ll just have to do it all over again once we get our house.

I’m actually trying to help my mom sell her Saturn Sky (with Turbo Charger) on Craigslist right now and it’s taking some time. It’s hard because I can’t do much with the price, since it’s her car. I’m sure it’ll eventually sell…or not.

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17 John @ Married (with Debt) August 15, 2012 at 1:34 pm

Ha! We had a piano for years that was given to us. Same story-never used. Rather than sell it or try to move it again (that beast was like 600 pounds), we gave it away on a radio trading show. A free piano lasted about 5 minutes before we got a call to pick it up.

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18 Edward Antrobus III August 15, 2012 at 1:57 pm

I bought a little casio keyboard back in college with Christmas money, because I had the same idea of learning to play. I practised quite a bit for a month or so, then it sat in the closet and collected dust. A couple years ago, I got the urge and even got a month of lessons. After the lessons ended, I don’t think I’ve touched it since!

I’ve always been incredulous when people say they’ve made signifigant money selling things from their house. I tried listing some books I own on Amazon last year. I quickly came to the conclusion that if I sold every one of the 500 or so books I own, I’d make about $20.

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19 AverageJoe August 15, 2012 at 4:51 pm

Fantastic! I’ll bet you’re already loving the additional room and the missing energy drain you got every time you looked at it.

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20 Mrs PoP @Planting Our Pennies August 15, 2012 at 7:48 pm

Haha, totally here you on Craigslist respondents not being the most reliable about showing up. (Mentioned it in our post on being landlords today, actually.) But, it’s hard to argue with free advertising.

Hope you enjoy the extra space it cleared up!

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21 Cat@BudgetBlonde.com August 15, 2012 at 9:54 pm

Awesome! This reminds me of the time we tried to sell hubby’s schmancy $600 bike. It took us 6 months to get $350 for it but that was great to us considering all the lowballs we got!

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22 Emily August 15, 2012 at 11:09 pm

Once I wanted to buy a $90 home fitness program. My hubby told me I could – if I did the 15 minute “try-before-you-buy” exercises five days a week for four weeks. He figured if I could do that I’d actually use the program.

I did the four weeks of exercising, bought the program, and lost thirty pounds. I doubt I would have been successful without starting the routine beforehand.

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23 Dena August 16, 2012 at 12:44 am

We just moved into our new house! We downsized.It won’t be long now and it will be only hubby and me.Empty nesters….Ahhhhh! We have a ton of stuff we are putting back to sell.It amazes me how much money we spent for this stuff that holds no value to us anymore.I’ve looked into craigslist and freecycle.We’re thinking of having a huge everything must go yard sale next spring.

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24 J. Money August 16, 2012 at 10:07 am

@Joe @ Retire By 40 – A musical family – I like it! I half-way considered keeping the piano in the off chance our baby liked the sounds from it too, but in the end realized it was a pretty stupid reason to keep it around “just in case” haha… If I ever come out there to visit, will you have Mrs. RB40 play a tune for me? :)
@Mrs. K @ Get Worth – Great! I still haven’t read The Happiness Project but I’ve heard some awesome things about it. I’m glad it helped you take action!
@Brittany – Woahhh, haha, that’s crazy… maybe you should add a “free case of beer” along with the kit and see what happens? ;)
@Jen @ Master the Art of Saving – Yeah, it’s a lot more tougher when you can’t budge on the price – that’s usually one of the only things you can control yourself when selling stuff online. But if she’s not in a rush to get rid of it, I guess you can just keep re-posting for months until the lucky buyer comes along?
@John @ Married (with Debt) – HAH! That’s a good way to do it :) Never even heard of radio trading before? Love the concept though!
@Edward Antrobus III – Haha… well, it does help having a lot of more valuable stuff, or a BIG house, that’s for sure ;) Or that you’re a hoarder/yard sale addict like me and constantly bring things in!
@AverageJoe – I AM!! I’ve temporarily filled it with more stuff to get rid of, but this time it’s all going in the back of my car to the Salvation Army once I’m back from vacation :)
@Mrs PoP @Planting Our Pennies – Yup! Free is great, but it also comes with the annoyances of flakers, that’s for sure :)
@Cat@BudgetBlonde.com – Oh jeez, that’s a long time! Way to stick with it though and get something you’re comfortable with :) If only we KNEW the time frame when they’d sell – it would make the patience game a lot easier! Haha…
@Emily – Wowwww!!! Good for you!!! And awesome plan your husband had – he’s a keeper ;)
@Dena – Awesome!! Congrats!!! I LOVE the idea of downsizing – feels so good on the brain!! I’d totally come to your everything-must-go sale too if I lived in the area – those are my fave ;)

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25 Carol in Mpls August 16, 2012 at 11:19 am

For my first CL outing I sold all the dishes from my vintage Fiesta collection. Kept the more unusual pieces, but let go of the plates, cups and saucers. Looking at eBay I got a better fix on pricing, and ended up with $225 in my pocket. Took a nice photo of them, just for the memories. No more dusting, and someone else gets to have fun entertaining with all the rainbow colors.

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26 J. Money August 17, 2012 at 9:04 am

Nice! I’ve heard of people taking pics of stuff for future remembering like that, always thought it was a good idea :)

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27 Skint in the City August 17, 2012 at 9:15 am

Ha, this made me laugh out loud cos I too have an old piano sitting in my study, unplayed except by my four-your old and her friends who love to bash on the keys! I was given it by a friend’s aunt who was downsizing so I didn’t pay, but spent the equivalent of $200 on removal and another $100 on getting it tuned. Oh, I was so desperate to learn and had visions of me knocking great tunes and fun-filled nights with friends gathered around, all singing. Two years later . . . still nothing! Who has the time to learn an instruments when they’ve got a job, run a blog and have a family? I’m still hoping that one day I will though, so my piano’s staying put for now!

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28 J. Money August 21, 2012 at 8:18 am

2 years ain’t so bad yet, you have 3 more to catch up to me and my non-playing skills ;)

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