Back home in Texas, I’m a huge fan of Craigslist. I love being able to buy used items which is essentially a win-win-win: win for me for getting an affordable item, win to the seller for getting money for their unwanted item, and win for the earth because well reusing an item instead of buying it new.
So when I moved to Europe, I wasn’t so sure how to find used goods and furniture. In Ireland there wasn’t much I needed since I didn’t have the space, had less stuff, and everything was furnished. Upon moving to France and in with Augustin, I realized that it is imperative that we get a dresser, otherwise known as une commode en français.
Augustin told me about this website and ever since I have been HOOKED. It’s better than craigslist because it is structured more similarly to an app like Offer Up or like Ebay, with thumbnail pictures accompanying the listing title and a built-in messaging system. Le Bon Coin was also exciting because it was a lesson in learning to interact and ask for things in French. I used a lot of the conditional tense (asking politely or for possibility of things) and with Augustin’s help I learned quite a bit.
Petite Commode: In our room we have two wardrobes with a hanging bar and some shelves. I’m more of a drawers person so I wanted a tiny set of drawers to fit inside one of the shelves. This transaction was fairly easy. We went to the house which was pretty close to us, met with the caretaker of the building who facilitated the transaction for us. The petite commode was not too heavy, but we found an abandoned cart at the Tram station that allowed us to just roll the commode the rest of the way home.
Grande Commode: Really just a normal sized dresser, but it was much bigger than the first one. We had to take the metro to the 2eme district, but we went during rush hour, and we also brought the cart. Probably the worst metro experience to date since it was packed like sardines. We finally arrive at the house and the woman is actually packing up and moving all her things, everything must go. The commode isn’t in best condition paint wise, but it works, and it is solid wood (as opposed to particle board like in IKEA products). She also threw in a free mirror and lamp, and well why not take them, it’s something we wanted anyways. But because the commode is solid wood, it is substantially heavy. Issue two is that we are planning to meet some friends at a bar nearby and we don’t have the time to go home with the commode and then come all the way back. The bar is only about ten minutes away, so off to the bar we go, trudging with our commode in tow on our relatively tiny cart.
After a while and walking in circles because most of the bars are actually full, we find one place and set the commode down, facing it towards the building. I’m extremely worried about losing my commode or someone running off with it. But again, it’s heavy, it would require a plan of action and someone actively wanting it, not just stealing it for the heck of stealing it.
In the end it actually works out better. It is later in the night when we leave, which means less traffic and less people on the transit systems. Plus our other roommate, Jean, joined us at the bar so we had a third helper to assist in pushing the commode across Paris. It’s a 10 minute walk to the bus, a 15 minute ride on the bus, and another 10 minute walk back to the flat.
Just when we thought out adventure was almost over, we then realized that the commode would not fit into the elevator. That’s okay, we can adapt. We took out all the drawers, stuck them in the elevator and I went up to the 4th floors as I watched them start to carry the shell of the commode upstairs (thanks boys!).
EN FIN! At last! This long half day journey with the commode was finished! It was here, in the apartment! Last step was to actually get it through the hallway, through the bathroom (to get to our room you have to go through the bathroom, but there is only a shower and sink there, the toilet is separate), and put all the drawers back in. The commode only barely fit through the hallway. There was only a couple of millimeters worth of leeway. Catastrophe avoided!
Everything fits really well and I have to admit, my first two experiences with Le Bon Coin have been pretty good! For the two commodes (and free lamp and mirror) I paid a total of 17 Euros! Not bad if I do say so myself. Buying these new could have cost us something like 100 Euros, even at IKEA prices. It was a little bit of hard work picking up and transporting our furniture, but we have the time and the ability, and it was worth it in the end. I would recommend if you are buying anything furniture related to bring a friend to help you. Check out leboncoin.fr for your next purchase and remember, reuse is the 2nd step in conserving the earth’s resources. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.