The Magic of Craigslist

First off, for anyone who does not know what Craigslist is or does, it's basically an online garage sale where individuals can buy, sell or giveaway things or services. Second off, if you have random things you need to buy or sell (and this could literally be anything) and you haven't yet used Craigslist, you really need to look into it.

So why do I feel the need to post about a website that's been popular for quite a few years? Because Sunday night I posted 5 items and as of last night, 3 have been picked up and the rest have been inquired about. These items have been in our garage for months and in under a week, our garage will be cleared (finally).

So what exactly got me hooked on the website? My freshman year of college when my soon-to-be roommate bought an awesome red couch for only $100. What was my first item to purchase? A $35 desk that got me through two years of college, and ever since that desk, I have been a Craigslist loyalist.

What are some of the things I've bought over time?
  • 2 desks
  • TV stand and side table
  • Filing cabinet
  • Hutch
  • Curio cabinet
  • Empty Starbucks frappuccino bottles (for free)

 And what are some of the things I’ve sold over time?
  • Desk
  • White bed risers
  • Ikea coffee table
  • Bed w/ box spring and mattress  

I personally price things low for the simple fact that I want them out of my hands. Low-ball prices move items extremely quickly. Of course not everything I sell, some things I give away.
  • Used pillows and blankets
  • Moving boxes
  • Ripped-out carpet

The carpet giveaway is definitely one of my more victorious moments. Jeff was strategizing a plan to use a free place to dump our ripped out carpet, but before he exhausted his resources, I posted the carpet on Craigslist and specified that it was used, in pieces, and that “everything must go.” Not only did I get multiple inquiries about the carpet and had someone come to our house to take everything, but the guy that came even offered to send his crew over to the house when we are ready to rip out our carpet for the living room remodel.

It often amazes me what sells and what doesn't sell, but to be honest, it's more often the price than the item. For example, Jeff thought the armoire we just sold was worth $0, but I posted it for $25 and had so many inquiries that I had to quickly remove the post. I guess as the saying goes, one man's trash is another man's treasure.

Speaking of trash, I mentioned that I picked up some empty Starbucks frappuccino bottles (for free). It sounds a bit crazy to trade trash, but I ended up repurposing the bottles for mini vases used at my wedding.

So yes, Craigslist can be resourceful for a billion different reasons. Now interested in Craigslist? If so, here’s some of my personal tips.

When Selling: 
  • Under priced items tend to sell quickly
  • State any dimensions, specifications or issues with the item in the ad so that your buyer doesn’t show up and back out due to “surprises”
  • Posting pictures helps
  • Never accept checks
  • Don’t give out your address for pickup until the deal seems certain
  • Don’t post your personal information in the ad
  • PayPal is a good secondary option to cash but must be handled beforehand
  • If you don’t want to negotiate on price, specify “Price Firm”
  • If selling from your home, place the item on your porch, in your garage or in your entry way so that the individual does not have to come into your home
  • The more patience and time you have, the more chances you have to sell your item(s)

When Buying: 
  • Search for items with pictures to prevent wasting time
  • Always ask for dimensions, especially for furniture pieces
  • There’s no harm in asking for a lower price but you must consider if the item is already priced low and how badly you want the item
  • Search for items being sold “by owner” since “by dealer” items tend to be business ads
  • Bring someone with you to help load heavy items

In General: 
  • Daylight transactions seem much safer
  • Meet somewhere public for the exchange or have a male with you if it’s at your home
  • Use common sense!!!

I know safety is a major concern surrounding Craigslist, but all I can suggest is to use your common sense and best judgment. I’ve personally never had any issues, but then again, I’ve never sold or bought valued or expensive items.

Anyway, I hope this was helpful for at least one person. Craigslist has been and continues to be very helpful in my life, and I hope it can be for you too. And don’t forget, it's a great place to find cheap items to DIY.

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