I love Craigslist. About one third of the furnishings in our home were bought using Craigslist. For furniture, it’s my preferred place to shop, even over buying new.
(Craigslist is an online website where people can post classified ads for free. You can find furniture, household goods, apartment rentals, and even job listings.)
Of course, the price is always lower when you buy used, but that’s not the only reason I love it.
- The quality can be better. If a forty-year-old dresser still looks great, then I know it can last another forty years.
- It’s more interesting. You can find things you won’t get at normal furniture stores.
- You help someone earn extra cash and clean out their stuff.
- You repurpose something old instead of buying new.
How to Buy the Good Stuff
Without a doubt, finding exactly what you want can take some time, but usually no more time than going from one furniture store to the next. Here is how you can make your search more productive:
- Act quickly. The best things sell fast, so if you are looking for something in particular, check the new listings each day.
- Search efficiently. Select the option to search for furniture being sold by owners, and skip the dealer listings. Narrow down your search by price and location.
- Use a photo preview tool. If Firefox is your internet browser, download an add-on like CraigsToolbox so you can view photos without clicking each ad individually.
- Be enthusiastic in your response. A seller is more likely to respond to someone who says “I’ve been looking for one like this. Can I come by and see it this evening?” If you don’t hear back, move on to the next ad.
- Bargain, within reason. It’s fine to ask if someone will accept less, but if you think something is a great deal, pay it willingly and don’t try to get a further discount.
- Pay with cash. Nobody wants a check.
- Be ready to haul it home. Borrow a truck if you need to, and bring blankets and rope.
How to Sell the Clutter
It’s a great feeling to watch someone take away stuff you don’t want in exchange for cash. Use these tips to attract buyers:
- Always include a photo. Potential buyers will skip your ad if you don’t have a photo. This post shows you how to make sure your photos look big and clear and as good as possible.
- Be descriptive in your title. Say “Sage Green Loveseat from Pottery Barn”, don’t just say “Couch”.
- Preempt questions by providing details in the listing. Include measurements and mention any flaws. Also be sure to describe your terms, such as: “Pick-up only, no delivery. Price is firm. Located near ___. Available evenings and weekends.”
- Check similar listings to make sure you don’t overprice your item.
- Set your price. Items priced low tend to sell faster, but you might want to price something a little higher to leave room for bargaining.
- Be safe. Try to meet in a public place, but if someone must come to your home, have someone there with you.
- Delete your ad once it’s sold, so you won’t continue to receive emails.
I’ll admit, I’ve bought things on Craigslist, used them, and then sold them again when I no longer needed them (sometimes for a profit!). It’s also great for baby gear, free stuff, and all kinds of other things. We’ve even rented an apartment for vacation, saving money over a hotel.