Craigslist: Sell Your Item in 24 Hours Or Less


Note: This is a post from Courtney Baker, chief seller and long-time running wo-man of MvD.

It’s no secret that I love selling my excess crap. I wish I had more crap just so I could sell it.

Okay, that’s a lie. But I do love that markets like Craigslist, eBay, and Amazon allow me to recoup some money and re-purpose some of my crap.

I’ve learned that certain items sell better in one market better than others. Furniture, for example, is 100% best on Craigslist. Your old iPhone is better on eBay. And your copy of Breaking Dawn is most likely best on Amazon – unless you are selling the whole trilogy (that’s Craigslist).

Phew, I’ve sold a few things. Can you tell?

With all good things come complaints. Many people complain about how they wasted a bunch of time listing items, only to sell nothing! The truth is that there are two reasons why people aren’t selling successfully:

  • They are listing their items in the wrong market.
  • They aren’t following the guidelines for making a successful listing.

Let’s look specifically at the tricks of a successful Craigslist ad. These suggestions can make the difference between selling an item in hours and not getting a single reply.

In Sell Your Crap, we guide you screenshot by screenshot through each of the marketplaces and outline the tricks for making a successful listing.

But here are some quick tips – to get you started with the basics!

7 Days, 18 Items, $6800

Craigslist is fresh on my mind, because I just used it to unload a bunch of precious crap from my house. Eighteen items, in fact.

Our family decided last-minute to make a huge move across the country from Indianapolis to Portland. From decision to moving day, we gave ourselves about two weeks.

Anybody that’s new to the Man Vs Debt community might have just peed their pants. Two weeks… two weeks to pack and move an entire family across the country! Don’t sweat it – we’ve been somewhat nomadic for the past four years. Moving ain’t no thang!

But we did have some big possessions that just couldn’t make the trip – like our car.

I needed to sell our crap and fast. I gave myself 7 days, and I would use only my smartphone – no computer. I used my phone to take pictures, research my listings, create my listings, and communicate with buyers.

Here’s what I listed:

  • Breville Juicer [13 hours]
  • Two Matching Slate Tables [42 hours]
  • Lifefactory Glass Baby Bottles [15 hours]
  • Girls 16′ Princess Bike  [7 hours]
  • Brown Couch and Over-sized Chair  [6 hours]
  • Kid Kaboose Bike Trailer [5 hours]
  • Bumbo, Jenny Jump-Up, Play mat [4 hours]
  • White Flower girl dress Size 4 [no sell]
  • Neutral Graco travel system stroller and car seat [no sell]
  • 3 Light Studio kit with backdrop [25 hours]
  • Extra Wide Glider/Rocker (gave to family)
  • Saris Porter 3-bike rack [no sell]
  • 2005 Buick Rendezvous [4 days, $5500]

Sell in Less Than 24 Hours

As you look at my list of items, you’ll notice that most of them took less than 24 hours from listing the item to having cash in my pocket. You’ll also find a few items that didn’t sell. Follow these tricks to make your own items sell fast, and see why some don’t!

You MUST post a picture.

There’s no exception. If you do one thing on this list, do this! Every time I search CL, I filter out all listings without an image. On most mobile devices, the image is right next to the listing.

  • Make it look clean.
  • Turn on the lights or put it by a window.
  • Clear the clutter away from it.
  • Upload as many pictures as you can (especially the name brand and damaged spots).

Set a deadline.

One time I needed to sell something quick, so I stated “Needs picked up by Tuesday” in my ad. I had serious buyers responding to me right away. It put enough pressure on them to act now and to not mess around with negotiating. I’ve done it ever since.

  • Make sure you use a reasonable time frame that you will stick to.
  • 1-2 days encourages them to negotiate.
  • 3-6 days away is the sweet spot.
  • Have a plan B if the item doesn’t sell (take to Goodwill, give to family, put in yard sale, relist later).

State what you are selling in the headline.

Duh, right? It’s tempting to get sales-y with questions like “Looking for a comfy couch?” Don’t do it! It makes you impersonal, and it’s a common tactic that spammers use. A good headline would be “Kid Kaboose Bike Trailer.”

  • No questions!
  • No symbols like $*#@-:
  • Keep it 30 characters so mobile devices can see full title.
  • Include name brand for keyword search (Kid Kaboose).
  • Include general term for the item for keyword search (bike trailer).
  • Do NOT use phrases like “Great Deal.”

Be up front about damaged areas.

This marketplace is for used goods. It’s OK that they show some signs of use, just be open about it. “This Kid Kaboose bike trailer has lugged happy children around for years. Black skid marks on the back upper corner (pictured).”

  • People appreciate it.
  • It seems humble.
  • It filters out those who won’t buy it if shows signs of wear.

Put your name in the ad.

As a buyer, I always feel more comfortable calling, texting, or emailing someone if I know their name. All my ads end with my name and phone number.

  • Still keep your email anonymous (or you’ll have spammers filling up your inbox).
  • Write a few digits of your number in words (555-345six).

The price is right.

To find the right price for your item, you need to do a little research in your local Craigslist market.

  • Let go of how much you paid for it; that’s not its current value.
  • Act like a buyer and search for your item. (Search Kid Kaboose Bike Trailer and also Bike Trailer to see what’s available.)
  • Price your item slightly below similar listings if possible.
  • Price yours slightly above other listings only if it’s VERY clear that your item is better.

More detail isn’t always better.

More detail can be appropriate for some electronics, real estate, and cars, but otherwise just get to the point. Here are things to consider

  • How long have you had the item?
  • Is it a pet-free or smoke-free home?
  • Are there details specific of the item, like material, brand, or size?
  • Why are you selling it?
  • Any signs of damage on the item?

Consider batching your items.

If someone is looking for one item, many times they’re looking for similar products. I put the Bumbo, Jenny Jump Up, infant bath tub, and play mat in one batch. My buyer bought three of the four items.

  • Best for child items.
  • Each should have its own price.
  • Be willing to sell them separately.

Sell your items in lots.

Selling items in a lot is different from batching. A lot is a cluster of items for one price. You buy the whole bundle, not pieces.

  • Best for selling clothing.
  • The whole bundle is one price.
  • You do not sell separately.
  • Better for items that individually don’t have much value, but are valuable as a bundle.

Don’t put a bunch of characters in the ad.

Don’t include a bunch of numbers, commas, bullet points, money signs, etc in your post. Craigslist will flag it as spam, and your ad may never appear on the site. If this happens, you may have to wait 24-48 hours to post again.

Not Everything is Sellable

The Graco travel system had too much competition. When I researched the item, there were hundreds of similar systems out there at a far cheaper price than I wanted to accept.

The Saris Porter Bike Rack doesn’t have much demand. It’s a model that fits a specific cluster of cars.

Overall I was very pleased with my results. It was much easier packing up without all the extra crap weighing us down. In a future post, I can show you specifically how to research your item and how to interact with interested buyers, based on these experiences!

Don’t want to wait? Get Sell Your Crap now.


Are you a Craigslist lover?  Do you have a trick to reel in the buyers?

Comment and let us know!

98 thoughts on “Craigslist: Sell Your Item in 24 Hours Or Less”

  1. I’ve had similar experience with the craigslist vs. eBay, and now sell anything of resonable shipping size on eBay. Any thoughts on eBay local pickup? I have a few semi-large items to sell (i.e. snowboard) and I think the auction format of ebay would give more money but I don’t really want to ship it. Have you had any success on that?

    1. Honestly, I’ve not used eBay local pickup, because I’ve had great success with Craigslist. I try to use CL first before eBay, because it’s quick to list, there’s no auction period, and it’s less risky.

      Now, I think that using a bigger platform like eBay local pickup would be great for high dollar, large items that don’t have a lot of demand in your area. Your snowboard might fall into that category. I considered it when we sold our RV, for example.

      1. I sold a room full of baby furniture with local pickup only on ebay. I had so many responses and sold it within two days. I think it helped that I listed the auction to end on a Saturday when most people have time to pick up the item, move furniture, etc. I also sold a freezer for local pickup on ebay. I lived in big cities when I sold both items – not sure if that makes a difference.

  2. I was actually thinking about getting rid of an old bicycle of mine recently. Your post came at just the right time because I’m totally clueless when it comes to reselling stuff! lol

      1. I have two sets of nunchucks. Two sets of most martial-arts equipment, actually. That’s what I’M going to list on CL following these tips – someone better nag me and make sure I do it! 🙂

  3. Great post Courtney! I definitely got stuff to sell, my problem is figuring out what exactly would be good to sell and which should just be junked. I’ve always just done Ebay b/c Craigslist always seemed sketchy, but it doesn’t sound like that from this post!


    1. Joe- That’s where research comes in. Search craigslist (or whatever market place you want to use) to see if there are similar listings. If you see 10 or so listings, then it’s probably worth selling!

  4. Adam – that is great. I have had success renting out apartment via craigslist and also selling stuff o craigslist. I always look at ebay and craigslist to determine a fair price for the item I am looking to sell and then list accordingly. Of course I include pictures.

  5. Hi, Courtney,

    The sticking point for me, as a single woman, is payment and pickup. What do you recommend as safe, best practice for the hand off and rip off prevention?

    1. Linda- I have several conversations with the buyer before I meet up with them. I’m not hesitant to ask them questions. I usually go solo when I meet someone, but I choose public places where I could create a scene if something happened. I plan to post again soon about how to scout out your buyers so you can have a safe exchange.

    2. This crossed my mind. However, I live on a farm. I am also a huntress. So, what has worked wonderfully for me, is to simply let folks know casually in email or whatever that I’ll be leaving for the shooting range at… or I’m readying for deer hunting season… I’m getting ready to shoot varmints so you’ll have to come before xx.

      I have had zero problems. :-))

    3. I am a woman and sell on CL all the time. I meet folks at a store, daylight only, phone in hand, no purse, no money except $15 for change in case. Before I meet them I usually ask if they want additional photos via phone so before I meet with them, they are 99% sure they will purchase it. IF it is a big item, I have the item on my front porch or in my garage. I have someone else with me, my doors locked and blinds closed. I have never had any kind of problem with probably 30 sales. Have met some super nice folks!

    1. Jan- The beauty of Craigslist is that your buyers are local. No need to ship! That’s why it’s the best option for general furniture.

  6. This is a great post. I always have the idea and the stuff to sell on craigslist but never have serious buyers. Of all the things I have posted, I’ve only sold a few things. I will definatly be trying these tips before my move next month!

    1. Megan- My guess is that there’s no demand for your item, or you’ve mis-priced it. Let me know how Round 2 goes!

  7. Some great tips here, thanks! I’m in the process of selling off a bunch of my junk right now before I move–heading out on the road in my truck, not much room for STUFF! Craigslist is great and where I turn to unload any larger/bulky items that would just be a pain to ship. I appreciate some of these pointers about making the items move quickly, it seems like sound advice that I’ll be sure to incorporate on my next listing.

  8. Thanks for this – great advise.
    I am going to use it on our site in NZ called Trade Me – I am not sure if we have a craigs list here -might go and google that!

    1. I’m familiar with Trade Me! We used it to buy some used clothes for Milli while we stayed in Auckland. I’m sure the tips will transfer over.

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  10. Great post with lots of good pointers. We had good luck selling a piano on Craigslist because we added that we would deliver if the buyer would help unload. We had had no luck several times before, but the delivery offer sealed the deal. Sometimes for large items, just moving it to the new location can be overwhelming. Also, advertising the piano before the Christmas holiday was helpful for all those grandmas who want their grandkids to have piano lessons!

    1. Mary,

      Timing can be huge- especially for seasonal items.

      That said, don’t let it stop you. I almost didn’t list my Kid Kaboose Bike Trailer, because it’s almost the end of fall in Indiana. Nobody’s using their bike trailers for at least 5 months! But, it sold.

  11. Love the reminder tips. I have used all except the phone #. I don’t want to use my phone and sell everything over email. I have sold over $50,000 on CL in the last 8 years, and just helped a friend sell her $30K rv. One thing that has helped me is photos…many, many photos. When I sell something large (an rv) then I will take 90 – 150 photos. I upload them on to photo bucket and put a link in the ad. The ad has the 8 allowed photos but the buyer can then go look at every nook and cranny of the item. I have sold 3 rv’s this way and typically have 500+ views on photo bucket. You really cannot underestimate the value of a zillion photos.

    1. 90milemissy,

      Wish I’d known you were an RV selling master! I would have hired you to sell mine last year. I bet you could have given me some better direction! I did manage to sell it via Craigslist, but it took much longer than I had wanted.

  12. As of today, I reached my year-end goal of selling $5000 worth of crap. I set this goal after I found this site in March and even though I didn’t think I could possibly have that much crap in my house, I set $5000 as a “stretch” goal and today, literally just this afternoon, I MADE IT!!! Total so far=$5094.50.

    Here’s a possibility for people with jewelry, coins, etc. (I saw a few of those in the posts above): Helzberg Jewelers has this “Gold Purchase” program that is totally worth checking out. I made $815 selling jewelry that way and believe me, it’s not like I had piles of gold sitting in my jewelry box. I also waited for local buying sales at jewelers, and checked out different places to see where I could get the best prices for stuff that I had but never wore.

    Consignment stores, Craigslist, eBay and Amazon all worked for me as well. I sold my wedding china last weekend on Craigslist–never used it, didn’t even like it.

    Good luck everyone!

    1. Leslie,

      Nice. work. Not only am I impressed that you kept up your mission for 8 months, but you also hit your goal! I’m curious to hear what all you ditched. I’m intrigued to know more about the gold buyers. It always screams scam! to me, but then I hear success stories all the time.

      1. Hi Courtney,

        Here’s a list of what I sold (on eBay, Amazon, Craigslist, jewelers & consignment stores):

        Clothes, Shoes, Bags, fashion jewelry
        CD Shelf
        Gold, Diamond & Crystal Jewelry
        Wicker Baskets
        Flaming June Print
        Water Filter
        Silver Tray
        Poetic License shoes
        Bracelet/Pearl earrings
        Books etc.

        The Helzberg Gold Purchase program and my local jeweler were the best deals for selling jewelry. “Cash for Gold” places didn’t really pan out. I wouldn’t say they were scams but there are definitely other ways to get a better price for jewelry.

        Take care!

    2. When you listed your china on craigslist, what category did you put it under? I couldn’t decide if i should put mine under “Household” or “antiques” or something else….


  13. Courtney, great to hear from you on the site and excellent tips!! Thanks!

    Questions about bundling – how do you list the items in the title and keep it under 30 characters? Do you list the individual items or just say something like “4 kids’ toys”? And do you mention in the title that you are willing to sell them together or separately?

    Jenn 🙂

    1. Most of the time I will list some of the items, “Leap frog table, baby bath, baby books”. On Craigslist, the title isn’t the most important things normally. Most CL user are searching for specific items, and key words from the body of your listing will show up. That’s why it’s important to use the brand names of your items like “Gracco Eurpoean Travel Stroller”. If you can’t fit it in the title, make sure you get it in the body of the listing.

  14. My only advice would be to either buy a pen that marks fake bills or ask for money order only on expensive items. A few years ago, we sold a camcorder on Craigslist for $600 in fake cash 🙁 BIG BUMMER!

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  16. I have about 100 paperback books I’ve been thinking about selling on Amazon, but I can’t figure out the best way to ship them to keep costs down. When you sold books did you use boxes or envelopes? And where did you find the cheapest supplies? Thanks!

    1. I used bubble envelopes. You can get decent rates on a box of 25 at Costco or Sam’s club. You can also order them online for a good price. I don’t sell books on Amazon for less than $5.00 to help compensate for my time and shipping costs.

      Joan might have tips for selling books on Amazon, because they run an online bookstore. You can reach out to her at joan (at) manvsdebt (dot) com.

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  19. Just curious of the theory behind leaving your phone number mixed in numbers and words (555-345six). I see people doing this a lot on craigslist, but never understood why this is beneficial. Can you explain why? Thanks much!

    1. Scammers are automated to find certain patterned information- like telephone numbers and email address. Having the text on the end is irregular enough for scammers to bypass it. You’ll often see people type out (at) and (dot) for email addresses.

  20. Great post! Reminds me I have a mountain of just that needs to be converted to cash. Its amazing that you still see people who dont put pictures in photo’s, would have thought it would be obvious.

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  22. Good good stuff. We were looking for something to get rid of some of our extra inventory. Like we had paintball equipment, accessories and apparel from trade-in’s. This is a perfect place to get rid of it.

    Following these steps is obviously key.

  23. Hi! I just found your website and am very inspired by your success. I am looking forward to your reply to Miossito’s post, as I am in a similar situation to hers. Thanks.

  24. I couldn’t figure out what to do on the Ebay thing….it’s so confusin…I’m thinkin of sellin things on here, but it might be confusin for me to do this lol…I was tryin to figure out which site was the best to sell things

  25. The part that I don’t like about Craigslist is that the posted ads do get expire within certain time depending in where you post it. For example Backpage has an option, where you can pay them extra and they would renew the ads automatically. I wish these sites would add the same features.

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  27. When you find you can’t sell something, give it away or donate it. The items I’ve given away in the free section of CL go really fast, like in minutes and they come get it fast! I always say, first one here to pick it up, takes it home, and I always let them know where they are in line to get the item. You can also try a freecycle site. Google freecycle and your local town to see if there is a site in your town. Just be honest about the condition or quality of the item.

    1. Would some old LP records (not 45s but not full size either) sell on CL or Ebay? Which would be better. Also, we have some old stemware sets that we inherited. I worry about them breaking in shipping, even with bubble wrap I have from the U-Haul place, so I have not used Ebay. Would they sell better on Ebay or craigslist? Thanks!

  28. Hello! I’ve been reading your website for a while now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from Houston Texas! Just wanted to tell you keep up the good job!

  29. I’m looking to sell my Husqvarna Viking Embroidery sewing machine. Listed it on Craigslist So far , all I’ve got is long-distance responses that I believe to be scammers. This makes me so mad..this is a great machine with all possible attachments, etc needed and I want it to go to a GOOD home. What should I do..?? Thank You

    1. Heather Clark

      I am LOOKING for a husqvarna Diamond. Unfortunatly good deals are few and far between and Im located in DFW Texas.
      So if you have one, and are still interested in selling yours. Im SO interested! Cause I need a bigger hoop!

  30. I just want to say thanks for posting this. I have sole a few things on cl before but it was always hit or miss. However i applied some of the techniques and got responses on items that wont selling. In less than an hour i made over 200, so thank you so much.

  31. What an excellent and helpful article! I made my first foray into selling my stuff on CL this week. It was intimidating, but so far everyone could not have been nicer. I was expecting weirdos, but that hasn’t been the case. Having good photos and good prices has worked well for me. Not one person has tried to haggle! I’m thrilled. Anyway, thanks for this article. I followed the advice and I’ve sold 8 items so far with two more buyers coming tomorrow. I’m literally amazed at how fast my things sold. I’m going to try your tip for selling a few lots of items. Also, I was able to sell an item by answering an ad in the Wanted section. I plan to check the Wanted section regularly to see if any other people are looking for things I would not mind selling.

  32. Have you ever experienced that the option to upload pictures to Craigslist doesn’t work sometimes? What is one supposed to do when this happens? Thanks! Great post!

  33. I’ve learned the secret to selling stuff on Craigslist myself. I’ve sold close to $10,000 worth of stuff. Most of which was from my old apartment in Palo Alto when I left to travel the world. $2,000 was coming back from traveling the world and helping my dad sell his stuff in the garage.

    I figured out the different types of buyers too. I no longer respond to people who ask for more pictures, email me more than 4 times or won’t commit to a buy after speaking on the phone. I’ve experience many time wasters and shoppers who really have no desire to buy.

  34. Why do people ask if my listing is still available but never offer to see and purchase the item? Why do people offer a price then never offer to purchase the item? How should I turn those inquiries into a sell?

  35. I want to sell things on craigslist but I want to price them intelligently. It seems to me there’s no point in looking at things people are TRYING to sell. I want to see similar items that HAVE sold. Is there anyway to do that????

    1. I know ebay has listings of what has sold and the price it sold for. I don’t know if Craig’s list does or not. Hope this helps some.

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  37. Thank you so much for the great tips. Interestingly, we too are preparing for a move to Portland, from VA. Not in two weeks, but in a couple of months. We’re heading in that direction to be back where I need to be to finish a documentary I started filming there and for better opportunities for the both of us. We are completely downsizing and only bringing what we absolutely need for our professions and that hold deep emotional ties. Other than, everything goes. We hope to find a trailer we can afford, on craigslist, to haul what we will have left. Perhaps we can work out a trade for service with someone on there.

    I started bundling some items prior to reading this, and your post has helped me to rethink the way I have them bundled. Thank you for taking the time to share what you have learned. Sustainable Learning!

  38. Courtney,
    I have just sold an iPhone on CL for $110, even though asking price was $50. They offered to pay me through pay pal and take care of shipping. How can I tell if it’s a scam, and how can I make sure that when I send them the iPhone they don’t turn around and say that’s not the phone in the picture? I have the box and the iPhone that I will be sending that has a matching model number. Thanks in advance. Elvis

  39. I read this post and decided to list all my Kids’ crap on Craigslist. I got a huge response and got rid of almost everything in just a few days and was able to put $120 in my pocket. The best part – I cleared out two storage tubs and one big box. I decided to keep going and listed some miscelaneous household crap. If it doesn’t sell – off to the curb for pick up.

  40. loved the posts on selling on e-bay and craigs list. Pricing. how do you determine what is a fair price?. i am always afraid of selling too low and getting cheated. if i price it too high , it will not sell. Many of you have listed things you sold, but could someone, post a list, like.
    doll from 1980- bought for 15.00, sold for 2.00. . similar to that. thanks.

    1. Robin, I’m new to this site, but thought I’d try to answer you.
      I check prices at other sites online (along with CL). Amazon, E-bay, Etsy, etc. usually have prices that show what most people will pay. The exceptions to this would be something of greater value, esp. collectables. I go to dealer sites or call local dealers for current prices, i.e., coins, dolls, etc.
      Another option is to include ‘OBO’ (or best offer) in the description.
      I usually price a bit higher than what I’ll take and let them haggle me down a bit. Sometimes I actually get asking price!
      For items that are too large to ship, I post on CL and on E-Bay classifieds. Both are posted locally and you don’t have to worry about shipping.

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  42. After reading your list of do’s and don’ts, I rewrote my listings on Craigslist and Ebay. I sold 3 items one hour later and have two excellent leads on 2 other high end items that were languishing online for more than a month. Thanks for a fab article.

  43. that’s all good advice. i found craigslist works best in larger metropolitan areas. for example, when i lived in LA i would list something and get a dozen calls within ten minutes! and everything i listed sold the same day. when you have a larger pool to draw from i think that it’s a numbers game.

  44. I live in a very rural area, and I have noticed not many people use CL. However, they seem to be pretty active on Facebook rummage sale sites, created for a specific geographical area.

    Any specific tips for selling on these pages?

  45. I have a beautiful solid wood armoire with 26″ TV. With the popularity of flat screen TVs Craigslist is populated with armoires in all price ranges in my area. How do I sell mine for a reasonable price? I hear you on not being concerned with what I paid for it, but I also don’t want to ‘give it away.’ Thoughts?

  46. Thank you so much for this 🙂
    This has motivated me to finally start getting rid of all of the items I’ve been wanting to sell for weeks!!!

  47. This was a GREAT post. I’ve been selling my crap regularly for over 4 years and I found some great insights in the post. Thank you. I would like to add a comment that I feel would add to the discussion. When creating listings (this was touched on in the post to some degree) it’s helpful for the buyers if you answer the common questions they’re going to have before they have to ask them. Most buyers do not want to take the extra step of submitting questions and waiting for a reply. If you can cover all of the buyer’s questions in your listing they are so much more likely to buy from you when compared to other listings that do not contain the same level of detail or description. For example, a lot of buyers only want items that are from a pet-free and/or smoke free home. If this applies to your home, go ahead and state this in your listing so as to remove this question from prospective buyers’ minds. A separate item that will also widen your market is to let buyers know that you can meet them in a mutually convenient location. This can attract buyers that may be a little bit farther away (which means you may have to drive a little farther), but it can help you to make the sale on items that may not have the strongest market.

  48. Hi there. I had a question about selling clothes. A lot of people want to try the item on, which I completely understand, before they buy it, but I always choose a public location to meet at. I am uncomfortable with people coming into my house, using my bathroom to try on clothes. I always pick a McDonald’s or a grocery store. Some place not too far away from my house so it’s not a big loss if someone flakes (which happens all too often). Am I being unreasonable?

  49. I would warn anyone against leaving a phone number on a posting. This can easily backfire and you will end up getting calls and hang ups weeks after you post. People, unfortunately, are not as honest and you would hope. It’s much better to use the recommended anonymous email that is provided through Craigslist.

    1. Linda, I completely agree about the phone numbers! I never give my address in the posting either.
      A few things I’d like to add, just because there aren’t a lot of listings for your item, don’t let that stop you from doing your homework and coming up with a listing. Sometimes there aren’t a lot because it’s a popular, but scarce, item. Sometimes unique is a good thing, too. You may have to do a bit of searching for a good price, but I’ve found it’s worth it.
      I sold a very large, heavy screen press on E-Bay with local pick-up only. I didn’t want people coming to my house, so I called a local storage unit and the owner let me use one of the units for a day so that the buyer could get it there. I had some friends (and a few bucks) move it from my place to the unit and it couldn’t have worked out better! They were more comfortable not coming to my house for it and I was more comfortable with them not being there! I usually meet people in very public places and, so far, haven’t had any problems.
      For larger items like this, I use PayPal. It took me awhile to get my money even with a linked account, but it was worth it to make sure I didn’t get ripped off…and it was good for the buyer because of their protection plan.
      I also have a back-up plan for smaller items that don’t sell…I donate them to a local charity (we all have our favs), a neighbor who has garage sales frequently, or put them on freecycle. Sometimes my neighbor will include some of my things in the yard sales tto sell for me and I can make a few buck there, too.

  50. Thank you for the post! I have a collection of 10, framed, black and white prints from various artists that were given to us by an art dealer. I’d like to sell them on CL. Do you think its best to post them one by one or as a batch? They are all different sizes, and images, the only common theme is black and white (my Fiance’s style before I brought some more color into his life!). Any suggestions? Thank you!

  51. Claudius Maximus

    A good, comprehensive article this was to read. I think everyone new to posting on craigslist should stumble upon this and heed the usefulness.

    I would like to add a few things myself. First, as a buyer, I’m not really concerned how long a person has had an item or why they are selling it or where they got it or any other 20 questions game. I just want it regardless. People ask me all the time how long I’ve owned an item when I sell. A lot of the time it’s something I’ve gotten for free and am simply flipping it, so I must lie and make up a time frame because no one wants to hear: “I just got it a few hours ago for free. Still want to buy it?” I guess for some people it’s a big deal about time-oriented ownership or item separation anxiety.

    I cannot reiterate enough about posting with a picture, especially for musical instruments or furniture! That and dimensions. People conceptualize where a piece of furniture is going to fit and dimensions are crucial. Take a few seconds to measure! I’m sure going to make you measure the item when I contact you so might as well head off one question at the pass by posting with measurements – even if they are questimates.

    Another thing…I laugh at people’s ads that state: “Must sell,” or “must be gone by a certain time frame.” Really? So do I but I don’t put it in my posts. It comes off as desperate and you’re not the only one who needs something gone. I need stuff gone all the time, everyday. (If it doesn’t sell, I just repost anyway.) You’re not special, well maybe, but other people have stuff to sell too that’s why we’re all on craigslist. I guess a person could try setting a timeline to sell by but as for this buyer, it doesn’t work and rather turns me off. I will still buy it but it’s the items appeal that got me, not the perceived desperation of the seller.

    One last tidbit – if you post an item and use email as your only means of contact (nothing wrong with that, I personally hate it but that’s just me) please respond to your inquiries in a timely manner. By that I mean within the same day (preferably) unless a life-altering event has occurred. Email tag sucks and it really sucks when it’s drawn out over the course of a week or more. (Has happened numerous times. Still happens.)

    Oh wait, I forgot the single most important tidbit…after your item is gone delete the post! Cannot stress this enough. This should be for obvious reasons. I mean I have at least over 20 posts going all the time and delete every single one of them after it’s gone. Some people have one and only one post ever and leave it up till it expires. It’s just good housekeeping to delete when it’s gone. (Deleting a post can be achieved by going into your craigslist account and DELETING IT.)

    Hope this helps. It’s sure helped me to air this out. Thanks, Courtney. Keep rocking craigslist and great articles!

  52. Hi, Courtney! Thanks for a the great info. I’m having a really hard time selling my items on Craigslist. These are the first two items I have ever tried selling. I have photos, descriptions dimensions, etc. and I have had zero interest. Any idea why? I really appreciate any help or ideas!! Thanks!

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  55. I am struggling to sell my antiques and household items on Craigslist. I have been posting for over a month and have only sold a few things. I think that Craigslist has turned into a site for male flea market pickers and con artists trying to get you to sell anything of value for a quarter. Tons of “I’ll come and remove your vintage items, but I can’t pay much” type jerks. All kinds of shameless “feel sorry for me/sob story” type people. I have a heart, but if I wanted to donate my things, they wouldn’t be on Craigslist and they’d be donated to a deserving disabled vet, not some pan handling, likely lying con artist. Craigslist has become the “cheapskate to the point of con artist/thief” site.

  56. If you have vehicles or baby stuff, it seems to do well selling locally, anything else, I just end up getting time wasters. Lets say I pick up a computer worth $170 on ebay for $20 locally. I try getting $125 for it on CL. You’ll have a bunch of people trying to get it for $40-$50. I didn’t waste 2 hours of my time, getting it, handling it, testing and and meeting someone that never shows up to make $20. I could put the extra effort and make $100-$120 on ebay.

    I also know someone that got a deal on some laser printers from a business that was upgrading. He has about 30 of them worth $130-$175 each. I bet he would be lucky to get $200 for the whole lot selling them on CL, but he doesn’t have time to sell them on ebay, and I do around $100k of sales a year online and don’t have enough time to tackle them myself and no one wants to sell them for him and take a 50% cut on them.

    1. Hello Matt,

      How long have you been selling on eBay? I find it a little difficult to sell on there sometimes but I have had a few successful sales in the last 3 months. The hard part for me is just getting pass the 25 sales in order to have my account be released from having the funds held for a long time.

      I honestly don’t trust craigslist but I do hope to be able to be successful on eBay even more. All I need is 17 more sales. I usually list my items as auction listings; sometimes that works and sometimes it doesn’t depending on what it is. What is your best advice?
      Thank you.


  57. Many people complain about how they wasted a bunch of time listing items, only to sell nothing! That´s me! Now I think I can choose best place to sell my bedroom set or other small artefacts. Thank you a lot for these tips.

  58. WanderfulFinds

    One thought for local, meet-up type sales is to meet at a public place, as has been mentioned already, but also to have a dash cam recording the exchange. A cell phone with a dashcam or DVR App will server the purpose. And make sure that the sun is behind the camera. Know your area and check that cash with a marker!

  59. Ask yourself am I willing to sell for less than valued. Most items are moving when the price is right. View it like this eBay you have a bigger chance of making close to value craigslist not so much on smaller items. I can always make more on ebay. Then the toss away garage sale. People don’t want to spend at garage sales.I look for the deals at garage sales so I can relist on ebay. The only difference between garage sale or estate sale is on is outside in the the garage the other is inside the house. If you can take the emotion out of selling then you will have no for people coming to my house from a craigslist I only work out of the garage and I expect to be low balled.never has anyone tried to make an offer before coming for sob stories and spending the children’s meal money on the item, to get my emotions going I add in that I need to sell it for the same reason. Haaa also it’s first come with cash I’m hand is the one I sell. Happy selling

  60. Courtney,

    Great website. I have the problem of working at a job that does not allow access to Craigslist and my phone doesn’t have reception in my federal office building. I am very busy and unable to shop for what I want on craigslist during workdays from 0730 to about 6p.m. I can’t answer emails or arrange a chance to view the item until late at night weekends. Very often what I want was sold or no one can meet me to look at the stuff.

    Is there such a thing as a concierge or personal shopper for Craigslist. Someone who can, for a fee or commission, go look at what I am curious about and if it fits what I want at an certain price buy it and bring it to me when I can be available?

    How do I find someone who can do this? Any recommendations?

    Allen Swan

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