If I were to make a list of all the items in our house that we have purchased used off Craigslist, it would probably be 75% of our household furnishings. Let’s see. Queen bed and frame, two chest freezers, two cars, coffee table and end table, high chair, stroller, carriers, file cabinet, car seats, glass jars (i.e. our kitchen pantry storage units), cloth diapers, rocking chair, to name a few. Yes, I love craigslist for all the wonderful goodies you can find for practically every need at less than 1/2 the price of their new counterpart. That being said, it is often easy to get overly consumed with it and just track all the items that come through just to exalt in what amazing deals you can find (am I the only frugal momma that can idolize that?). I do not recommend this pursuit…but if there is something you truly need, make sure to first check Craigslist. You can often find items, especially for babies, that have just seen one child’s use, so it is still practically new.
We have also sold a lot of our junk on Craigslist in a very easy manner. You would be amazed what junk you have that might be valuable to another – an old microwave, cell phones, baby items (strollers, clothes, etc), monitors and various technology, and kitchen appliances, have been on passed on from our house to another happy party. “One man’s toxic sludge is another man’s potpourri”, according to the Grinch, and I have found it to be true. You will also get a higher price for an item you are selling versus offering it a garage sale. We have also made some hilarious encounters over Craigslist as well. On one occasion we sold a air purifier to my midwife. On another occasion, I sold cloth diapers to my friend and contributor, Michele at Frugal Granola.
Craiglist is great way to just give things away. If nothing else, post your clutter for free and see what happens. Our neighbors have tossed large items into the trash before (as we have a community garage dumpster), and we have posted them for free on craigslist (so as to avoid the landfills), and there were gone in under an hour. In this case, we would just post the item on a first come, first serve basis, and include our basic approximate address and leave the item by the door or outside. A simple way to serve the community and be a good steward (who wants an old BBQ filling up half the dumpster?).
Lastly, Craigslist is a great way to test a product. I have frequently purchaced a product used on Craigslist, tried it out, and then re-sold it if I didn’t like it. I did this with a Baby Bjorn carrier. Tried it out. Didn’t float my boat, so I sold it. I also did this with several different cloth diaper styles, strollers, and other items. Many times I have made more than I paid for the item.
We have a few learned a few things along the way that might assist you.
1. Always meet in a public place.
This is a wise practice, if possible, for everyone’s safety. The other benefit is that there will be more guarantee that your buyer will come and not cause a “no show”. I have had numerous times when people said they were coming and never showed up, but this problem was completely solved when we designated a specific location and time.
2. Provide your telephone number.
When posting an ad, include your phone number. I’m one that doesn’t like to post my phone number online, but have found it will significantly increase your chance for making a good and quick sale. The serious buyers will call. The random inquiries will always email.
3. Make an offer.
Don’t be afraid to make an offer on an item, unless you really know that it is a rock bottom price and it will just sell really fast. More times than not I have always got a better price than originally post. This also applies to items you want to sell but don’t really know the value or think that it is not worth much. Ask for a offer. I got twice as much as I thought I could for my microwave by following this tip.
4. Provide pictures and clear descriptions.
Make sure to always include a picture of the item you have for sale, even if it is small and invaluable. People are not interested in items that don’t have pictures. It’s not worth putting the effort into making a post and be lazy to not include a picture. Make your descriptions clear.
5. Utilize the RSS Feed.
If you are on the lookout for an item but don’t want to be checking in every day for something to be posted, subscribe to your specific search with the RSS feature. It’s as simple as entering your search item and then going up to the URL line and selecting the RSS button on the far right. Now all the new postings can be send to your email.
It is important to note that you do need to use a discerning eye when viewing Craigslist. Always use the search bar rather than just viewing the general entries. I have never had a problem exposing myself to anything inappropriate in this fashion. If you are an iPhone or Ipod Touch user, the Craigslist Pro app is a great little tool. It makes searching and selling so easy – 5 minutes or less. You can post an ad completely from your iPhone with the camera feature. You can also subscribe to a feed and it will alert you with a basic alarm feature.
What tips do you have to share?