Design your life to include more money, health and happiness with less stuff, space and energy.

Design your life to include more money, health and happiness with less stuff, space and energy.

10 Tips for Selling Stuff on Craigslist

We were going to write about the latest collaborative consumption website–the one that allows you to sell all of your stuff fast and cheap. The one that taps into broad local audiences. The one with the minimalist user interface that makes posting a breeze. Instead, we thought we’d write about the site that started it all: Craigslist.

Craigslist has become such an integral part of the peer-to-peer marketplace, we often don’t give it its proper respect. Sure, it’s filled with scammers, pervs, inveterate dealmakers and the like. But it is also filled with more respectable people in your area that are looking to buy your stuff. It also happens to be super easy and free to use!

Most of have extensive experience with Craigslist, so we won’t bore you with a bunch of stuff you already know. Nor will we delve into how to hit your missed connection or land a “gig.” No, today we’re going to focus on selling. This author recently cleared out a ton of stuff from his family’s coffers and here are some of the things I learned:

  1. The basics. Find your local CL page off of Go to “post to classifieds” on the upper left corner of homepage. The rest is pretty self-explanatory.
  2. Create a CL account (you should actually do this first). Do not bypass this step. If you’re selling stuff, particularly bigger, expensive stuff, it’s quite common that it will not sell on the first go. By creating an account, you won’t have to recreate a listing every time you refresh your post. Your account dashboard will track all of your items and allow you to edit and re-post when they’ve been deleted.
  3. Refresh or repost your posts. Stuff gets buried on CL, especially in large communities. Make sure your post is near the top by reposting when it’s expired (less of an issue in smaller communities).
  4. Branch out to nearby CL communities, which are listed on the right sidebar of your CL homepage. This author happens to live fairly close to the borders of three different CL communities and I posted on all three to increase odds of selling. Unfortunately, I had to make three different posts for the same item on each community’s site–in other words, there is no function to replicate a post in another community. But once you have that post set, the heavy lifting is over.
  5. A word about scammers/phishers. So you just posted your Louis XVI armoire for $350K and there’s an immediate response, “Is it still available?” Score! Sorry, it’s a scammer or someone looking to hack your email. If there is an actual interested buyer, he or she will refer to the item in question, e.g. armoire, not “it” or “your item.” Do not reply to these emails. Some have suggested making an email address just for Craigslist; a good idea this author never incorporated.
  6. Price on the high side. People on Craigslist are not afraid to make low-ball offers. You want to price your stuff 10-30% above the price you won’t go below. This way, when a buyer makes a low-ball offer, you have room to negotiate. You can say “final price” or “firm” but c’mon, it’s Craigslist. Every now and again, you’ll get someone who pays what you ask, but it’s exceedingly rare (by tobar at Oh, and don’t be offended if people make insulting offers (you never know unless you ask).
  7. Have a delivery plan. Unlike eBay, Craigslist is an awesome place to sell furniture, but if you have a ten piece sectional couch and don’t own a box truck to deliver it with, you want to have a plan to get it to a buyer. It’s actually not necessary to state the plan in your post as that might scare away a potential buyer, but have an answer: Buyer is responsible, look into Uhaul rates or man with a van costs (often the best option). This can be a real sticking point if you’re selling a $300 couch that costs $200 to deliver.
  8. Take some time to make a nice post. Always include pictures (this should be obvious). And don’t use those 1.5 megapixel images. Describe how great your used jackhammer is. A sloppy post with few details and crappy pictures is far less likely to get your item out the door for a decent price than a polished one with great, accurate photos.
  9. Sell your really valuable items somewhere else. For all its awesomeness, Craigslist is mostly populated with folks looking for a deal. You can sell your original Barcelona chairs on CL, but don’t expect a fair price. Craigslist is all about convenience and providing maximum reach in a particular region. EBay, which taps into international buyers, is a far better bet for getting a fair price on your very valuables.
  10. Use common sense. Don’t meet alone in the woods to meet your potential buyer, accept cash or money orders only, anonymize your email address and don’t give any more info than you have to, etc.

Got any other tips for selling on CL? Let us know in our comments section.

  • TC

    When someone makes a lowball offer I find acceptable, I come back with, “It’s a deal, as long as you can come get it by x time.” That way they’re motivated to show up, or I know when it’s time to look for a new offer.

    Also, it’s easy to accept credit cards with the, though I haven’t tried it yet for Craigslist.

    • schumannhertz

      thanks for the tip on…that might make it a lot easier for people to make bigger purchases. good tip.

  • Ani

    I’ve had no problem getting my asking price for items on CL; I ask a fair price and am firm about it. My biggest gripe really is the scammer/spammers. I get so many of those emails; I’m good at weeding them out but what a pain! I know I should set up a separate e-mail account just for CL but just haven’t gotten to it….. I also hate the ones who ask endless questions in countless emails and then drop off the face of the earth…..

  • Charl

    I’m an avid browser of Craig’s List. What I’m often puzzled by is that sellers fail to include at least approximate measurements of furniture items or sizes for shoes and clothing, even in elaborately worded and lengthy ads.

  • Dave

    These are some great tips but I think number ten is the most important. Selling a used microwave to a guy across town is not rocket science. It just takes a little common sense. Of course there are some sketchy things that happen through craigslist but you don’t hear about the millions of transactions that have no issues. Most people are reasonable but of course you should always put your best interests and safety first because nobody else you deal with on craigslist will.

    I made a website specifically for how to sell your stuff more effectively and get more money for it. It’s called Check it out!

  • John N. Robinson

    I was really inspired by this post. So much so that I sold, gifted and left 97% of my stuff which filled a 3,600 square foot 4 bedroom / 4 bath gated home in Scottsdale. And yes I sold the home too and now moved into a much smaller place in San Diego. I’m on an air mattress with my books, music, clothes and great dane and boxer. Time to find design my new life and place.

    • really inspiring john. if you’re ever inclined to share your story, drop me a line at david at lifeedited dot com.

    • Janet

      Good for you John. It must be freeing!

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    • hey tharrr

      U a dum dum newfig

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    • O Hunt

      ur dumb bro if you can afford a 4 bedroom house why would you sleep on an air mattress fuck that i’d prefer a nice yoga mat over a air mattress atleast yoga mats are decent for your back and it seems you have money you just want to be a hippie or something

      • Carl

        He left out the part about the wife leaving him. Wanted to make it look better.

    • HairyGuy

      next step: living the van life with chad on youtube. go check him out.

    • Chronister Gama

      You can get the best selling guide on 🙂

      • Gingras Lacy

        Thanks Gama Stodoys is great for me

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  • john

    Branch out to nearby CL communities… Posting in multiple communities is against their TOU and a good way to get your ads flag off of the site.

    • Wow – glad I read that!

    • keth Naab

      oh wow, didn’t realize you weren’t allowed to do that. Oops!

    • Steven LaBree

      Be smart about it and it works.

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  • tampa fox

    I used craigslist in a larger city and it was amazing; there was always an interest; people bargained but were reasonable.. now I’ve moved to a smaller city with an older population and I am shocked. They want it given away, or there are no buyers at all. I may have to take a trailer load to the larger city and have a friend sell it.. It’s not always the same everywhere !

  • clarkbennett

    I’ve given a lot of stuff away on craigslist. My rule was always that they had to pick it up that day or it went to the next person.

  • Rocky Schindler

    I never saw where or how I could post a photo of my car on Craig’s list.. I went through the process three times.. Rocky..

  • Paiman Vahdati

    Great article! Have you ever tried using video to help sell and increase the perceived value of an item??

  • vintage Honda Interceptor (1985)red & black
    Runs good,needs body parts and tires

  • rachel goodkind

    Thanks for the Craigslist suggestions. I have bought as well as sold on Craigs and met some terrific people. I find stating (cell phone) CALLS ONLY, no e-mails or texts helps
    with funny people. Also I state in the listings ‘will be up until sold” so all those funny people asking “still available” like its’ a funny game, get ignored. If you get e-mails constantly asking often dumb questions or the same anonymous texts you will know why.
    Some funny people also offer to send you a check for more than your item costs and they
    want to pick it up by truck—-don’t fall for this…namaste’, rachel

  • coolcarla

    The last paragraph in every ad I post says “Important: please mention the NAME of this item in your reply or I’ll assume you’re a spammer sending out generic inquiries and delete your message. Also, no need to ask if “it’s still available” — if you see my ad, then it is. Thanks.
    This sorts the spammers from legit responses. I delete any messages that haven’t mentioned the name of the item (like, “I saw your TV stand posted on craigslist. When can I come see it…”) etc. Spammers do not put specifics in their auto-responses.

    • GREAT idea!

    • Steven LaBree

      “Also, no need to ask if “it’s still available” — if you see my ad, then it is.”

      This works well usually. Even scammers use your name however.

  • Thanks for a great list. I’m helping someone list a vehicle and I hadn’t thought of looking at nearby communities. Great tip!

  • harthg

    Craigslist is now asking for access to my photos instead of just letting me upload a pic, is this giving them access to all my photos?

  • Klain Matthews
  • Steven LaBree

    ” Craigslist is an awesome place to sell furniture” Apparently that depends on the area. You can’t give furniture away on CL in south FLA. On the other side, it’s a great place to find furniture but be careful of bedbugs. I sell A LOT of other stuff on CL and make plenty of money doing so.

    Scams? A lot of them both selling and trying to buy your stuff. I have been doing this so long I can spot one a mile away.

    Low ballers and idiots. There is always a dummy that will low ball me. I simply says no thanks. I am also very specific in my ad and will usually get several questions regardless. It’s like they don’t read the ad. I have callers ask me ‘how much’ for the item?’ or ‘What color is it?’ Although there are several pictures.

    Getting the buyer…. I cannot tell you how many times someone says, send me your address and I will come by. I send the address and wait…and wait…and wait. Do you think they would call and say they are not coming? Nope. Assholes.

    The best tip I ever got was…don’t have the buyer come to your house. A great tip. I agree to meet the buyer nearby at a shopping center…cameras, public place, people around. It is much much safer…remember, you are dealing with cash. Granted, that doesn’t work for large items but you should do it when you can.

  • Good article, in Canada we have a website called that provides reference pricing for selling items on classified sites. +/- 20 makes a big difference if you sell alot of items

  • Nabi

    I want to sell bed room with not bad condition for 150 box if any body interest call me on my number 6129997057

  • coachj

    Purchased a car off a CL ad. However, never able to sell anything…

    I have a large, expensive item – a commercial generator and trailer. It sells new for $125,000, selling it for half that. Anyone got any tips for selling something like that other than what is listed here?

  • David Friedlande is wrong!!!!!

    “Branch out to nearby CL communities, which are listed on the right
    sidebar of your CL homepage. This author happens to live fairly close to
    the borders of three different CL communities and I posted on all three
    to increase odds of selling”

    which is not allowed on craigslist. they can ban you.

    • David Friedlande is wrong

      you can only post one ad to 1 town/city not the same ad to different cities/towns/communities

  • orange70383 .

    If I see something that’s priced on the high side I skip it. To me I want to deal with someone who doesn’t play games. So list it high and you can keep it.

  • Erin

    I have maid painting for people to buy stuff they are very good and I hand made them

  • Heather

    Craigslist is wonderful. I sold a fake tree I found on the side of the road. There is no limit to what people are searching for.

    Check out my post about Craigslist as well!

  • xndrdgr8

    I list 5 different item then I get 5 emails for each item with the same script: I would like to buy your bike but im at sea now and I wont be back for 3 weeks, I can send you a cashiers check and have a shipping company come pick up the item as soon as the check clears.
    I mean these stupid sob’s get on my nerves. they use the same script again and again how dumb are they. get a live you loser morons and gain your living in another way.

  • Donna Smallin Kuper

    Great advice, David! My husband and I sold our home and 90% of our belongings nearly 3 years ago to live and travel the country in our motor home. Because I was listing so many items on Craigslist, I mentioned related items for sale and included this line in every ad: We’re moving and selling everything. Search Craigslist for UNCLUTTER123 to find all of my ads. One gal bought my entire living room set. Just be sure that the keyword you use is unlikely to appear in any other ad; your phone number works well if you are okay with having people call you.

  • Stoney Huff

    Craigslist already anonymizes email addresses, turning your email into one such as

    pw4xx-5711947……@sale.craigslist – org

  • Melody Banks

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  • Good point about #6. I was surprised how much people loved to haggle on Craigslist. In my case, it was when we met up and they were seconds from handing the money over, they tried to haggle down. Even if you say firm on the post, people will still try. Luckily in my case that was their last ditch effort and still bought the item, but it’s a good thing to be prepared for. Here’s my 1st time selling on CL experience if you’re curious: