5 Tips on How to Sell Your Stuff on Craigslist

by Scott Sery on January 8, 2013

craigslistDuring our lives we tend to accumulate stuff.  Unless you move often, your attic, basement, garage, and closets are going to get filled with a lot of clutter.  If you are sick of it and want to organize your life, start going through things.  If you have not even looked at it, let alone used it, in the past 2 years, you probably no longer need it.  Some things can go in a pile and given to charity (get a receipt for tax purposes), but others are valuable enough that you want to sell them.  If you do it right, selling on Craigslist can be easy.

Take a Picture

I cannot emphasize this enough.  When I shop on Craigslist, I will rarely even click on an ad if it does not have a picture to go with it.  People want to see what they are purchasing, they want to know what sort of shape your item is in, and showing a picture is the best way to show off what you have to sell.  Craigslist allows up to 4 pictures, so take some from every angle.  And make sure they are clear.  Nothing drives buyers crazier than seeing a blurry picture that is hard to make out details.

Don’t Lie

It is tempting to embellish your product.  If you have a couch and it is worn out, don’t call it loved.  Tell all the details up-front.  Even go as far as to point out some of the flaws with your product.  People will appreciate your honesty, and those who are looking for a perfect product won’t waste your time as they inspect it in person.

Include Email and a Phone Number

People want to be able to get in touch with you.  So make yourself accessible.  You can use the Craigslist disguised emails to protect your identity from scammers (and you will inevitably run into them).  To avoid this and only get in touch with serious buyers, put your phone number.  But type some of it out so it is harder for bots to steal it (such as “5five5-55five5”).

Price it Right

Knowing how to sell on Craigslist is all about knowing how to price your item.  If you paid $1,200 for a couch two years ago, you will not be able to get $1,000 for it even if it is in impeccable condition.  People shop the site to get deals, if you want to sell your items quickly, give people a deal.

Be Willing to Bargain

There are no firm prices.  So if I come across an ad that says “price firm” or “list price only” I usually do not waste my time.  Just like at a garage sale or a pawn shop, never pay sticker price.  So when you are selling set a price and include the little letters OBO.  You might be able to get what you are asking, but more often than not, people will bargain.  Go with it.

Final Thought

Selling on Craigslist is like selling at an online garage sale.  People are shopping for used items, and do not want to pay full price.  Even if your product is new and unused, you are not going to get the same price as you would in a retail store (if that’s your goal, try Ebay or Amazon, but fees will take a big part of your profit).  Selling your items is easy, just set them up so they move.

 Have you ever sold items on Craigslist?  Do you have any more tips for a good experience?

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Scott Sery

Scott Sery is a native to Billings, Montana. Within an hour in nearly any direction he can be found fishing, hunting, backpacking, caving, and rock or ice climbing. With an extensive knowledge of the finance and insurance world, Scott loves to write personal finance articles. When not talking money, he enjoys passing on his knowledge of the back country, or how to live sustainably. You can learn more about Scott on his website Sery Content Development
  • John S @ Frugal Rules

    We sell on Craigslist quite a bit, at least once or twice a year. Having three kids we’re constantly accruing crap that we need to get rid of. We can usually get several hundred dollars at a time which comes in quite handy. I could not agree more on having pictures, it’s a must.

  • We sell online here and there and it’s imperative like you mention to have a photo and all relevant details made available. The reason is also not to waste your time having to email people back and waiting for responses when you can make a sale. Negotiating on prices is almost always a given.

  • I always take multiple pictures and describe the item completely honestly so I don’t waste my time or the people who are coming to see it. I hate coming to see something and then it is different than described.

  • Pingback: Personal Finance Round Up, Mentions and Carnivals #38 — Money Life and More()

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