Cash In, Stuff Out. My Weekend Selling on Craigslist.

by Julie on March 15, 2012 · 45 comments

My husband and I had the weekend to ourselves and our plan was to do a little Kansas City staycation. Instead, we watched college basketball (Go Jayhawks!) and decided to go all crazy and list some stuff on Craigslist.

I know, we’re madcaps.

Here’s what we unloaded:

Wicker table and chair.I bought this little set for $20 at a garage sale a year or two ago and sold it for $25. Score. Sold to a couple who is using the table and chair to stage their porch for a home sale. Wishing them good luck!

Lateral file cabinet. This came from my husband’s office after he moved four years ago. It’s been in our basement ever since. Sold for $80 to a woman who sent her best friend from 4th grade to pick it up. We should all have friends like that.

TV/Game Table. This used to hold a TV and my son’s gaming consoles and accessories. We’re now using an old dresser for that so I sold this table for $20 to a young mom.

Race Car Toddler Bed. We moved this from our old house ten years ago. I sold it for $40 to a dad who is going to paint the bed pink for his little girl. She loves cars. How cute is that?

We decided it was probably time to sell the toddler bed since this is the toddler. He’s driving now.

Back to the sales.

Beginner set of kids’ golf clubs.  Sold for $15 to a man who was buying them for his 5 year-old daughter. My husband thought the clubs might be a little long for a 5 year-old but when the man showed up he was about 6’6” so I think they’re good.

Second set of junior golf clubs. This set was bigger and nicer than the first set. We sold it for $30 to a man whose son was playing golf with Grandpa the next day and the dad realized that he (the son, not Grandpa) had outgrown his clubs. My husband handled this transaction. The two dads talked golf for a little bit.

In case you’re playing along at home, that’s $210 of found money that I’ll be sending to our home equity loan. And it’s a lot of freed up space in our house.

Ah, breathing room!

I really enjoying selling on Craigslist, once I get around to actually doing it. Most of the people I meet are really nice and I get a kick out of stuff I’m no longer using going to someone who will.

Here are my tips for getting stuff to sell fast on Craigslist:

1. Take good pictures. Seriously, speaking as a CL buyer as well as seller, the pictures will make a huge difference. You don’t have to be Ansel Adams, but make sure you take several pictures from different angles/distances and that they’re well lit and rotated in the right direction.

2. Price things reasonably. Assuming you’re like me and just want to get rid of your things in exchange for a little cash, price your items to sell. Otherwise you’ll have ads that don’t get much action and may have to re-list.

3. But build in some negotiating room. Five of the six people I sold to this weekend paid asking price, but some people like to feel like they’re getting a deal, so be prepared to bargain. I try to build in enough room so when someone makes a reasonable offer I can say “Sure!” and we’re both happy.

Above all, though, be safe when you’re selling on Craigslist. I only give my address and phone number to actual buyers and I list on weekends so that I can do my best to have my husband here when someone comes to pick something up.

What’s the best sale you ever made on Craigslist? Do you have any tips to share?

This post is part of Frugal FridaysWorks for Me Wednesday, One Project at a Time, and the William Morris Project

{ 41 comments… read them below or add one }

Bestmommy March 15, 2012 at 6:47 am

That’s great! I had used Craigslist to purchase items in the past and just recently sold my minivan on Craigslist. We usually just trade our vehicles in when we need to purchase a new vehicle but this time we were not in a rush so after getting a lowball offer from a dealer we decided to sell it ourselves. We got emails and phone calls a few hours after the ad hit Craigslist. Like you, I would not schedule a viewing of the van unless hubby was here. We had 3 people come out to see it, 1 no show and finally the sale 3 weeks later. I’m so happy we had the patience and time to wait for the right offer, which BTW was 3 times more than the dealers offer.


Julie March 15, 2012 at 11:26 am

Bestmommy, good work! Your patience was definitely rewarded. Enjoy your new vehicle and thanks for commenting. I’m filing that info away.


Molly March 15, 2012 at 8:16 am

One tip is to list an item for free on Craiglist when it will be hard to load up, difficult to find a charity to take it, is a low value item (your time trying to sell it is worth something!), or you care more about getting the item OUT of your house than making money from it.

People respond almost instantaneously to free ads – it’s amazing! Plus, quickly getting rid of some of the stuff that’s weighing you down can give you the momentum you need to tackle other de-cluttering.


Julie March 15, 2012 at 11:29 am

Molly, we’ve done the same and that’s an excellent use of Craigslist. We’ve even gotten rid of things that don’t work anymore (a rusted out hot water heater, non-working dryer, etc.) Some people want them for the parts and others are tinkerers who can get them running. It has saved us a large item pickup fee from our trash service and I like knowing that those things are headed for a landfill.

I love your point about getting rid of stuff that is weighing you down. Such a great way to put that!


Molly March 15, 2012 at 8:17 am

PS – I think that sounds like a very fun and exciting weekend! :)


Julie March 15, 2012 at 11:32 am



Teresa March 15, 2012 at 8:32 am

My best sale – my canoe. Used it the first summer my (then) new husband and I moved here – 10 years later it had 9+ years of dust on it! $600! (I think it was a gift or joint purchase with the previous boyfriend!) I’ve scored some good buys – spinning wheels, knitting machine, garment steamer — all to be used for my business. My best tip is obvious – meet in a public place (gas station parking lot) or don’t be alone. Safety first.


Julie March 15, 2012 at 11:30 am

Teresa, $600 is great. What a windfall. I love the way you used CL for your business.


Carrie - Careful Cents March 15, 2012 at 10:30 am

I’ve never used Craigslist to sell stuff, but it’s definitely on my list of ways to make extra cash once I move to a new apartment this summer. I’d say you had some good luck, for $210 in one weekend. Yes please!


Julie March 15, 2012 at 11:31 am

Let us know how it goes, Carrie. Good luck with the move!


Tackling Our Debt March 15, 2012 at 9:08 pm

That is some nice extra money. Good for you!

I haven’t tried to sell stuff on Craigslist yet. We did sell our home gym on last month for $1400. I must admit that I do have a slight fear of not knowing who is going to come and pickup what is sold just because I have read so many bad stories in the papers.

We do also have 7 auctions on eBay this week that will sell on Sunday. Looking forward to that.


Julie March 15, 2012 at 10:35 pm

I understand the concern. If anything feels fishy at all I pass on that seller.

Good luck with your auctions. What are you selling.


Tackling Our Debt March 16, 2012 at 1:14 pm

I’m selling stuff we haven’t used in forever. A formal silverware chest with flatware, a shortwave radio that we inherited, a magic bullet blender, and some vases that I just don’t care for anymore. I have a feeling the vases are going to end up in a garage sale cuz no one has looked at them.

By the way I really liked your white wicker set. That was so cute!!


April March 16, 2012 at 7:15 am

ive have a few things listed on CL for a week now with no luck…not sure if it’s our area or what. I guess Ill have to move onto Ebay next week so i can get theitems out of the house(I also use local facebook buy/sell/trade groups and average about $20 a week on stuff. not bad for stuff just taking up space!)


Julie March 16, 2012 at 8:07 am

April, I didn’t know there were groups like that on Facebook. That’s neat!


Pam@behealthybehappywellness March 16, 2012 at 8:55 am

Love Craigslist – I also sell clothing and toys on ebay once in a while – only if it’s in good condition, name brand and easy to ship!


Julie March 16, 2012 at 10:55 am

Those are good rules of thumb for what’s worth selling on eBay, Pam. Thanks for sharing.


Hunter March 16, 2012 at 11:42 am

Nice work finding that extra money Julie! Pricing is critical on Craigslist as you point out. Building in some wiggle room makes perfect sense as everyone expects a bargain, and pricing low enough that you generate some inquiries in the first place needs to be balanced against this.


Julie March 20, 2012 at 10:21 am

Yep, Hunter, you definitely have to find that sweet spot.


Elise March 16, 2012 at 2:23 pm

Nice job! The last thing I sold on craigslist was a computer, before that was a saddle. We live a varied life. ;)


Julie March 20, 2012 at 10:20 am

A varied life indeed, Elise!


Audrey @ Mom Drop Box March 16, 2012 at 7:29 pm

That’s great that you sold so much Julie! That wicker table & chair set is so cute.

I have a friend’s husband who is great at selling things on Craigslist, and his secret is to research on the internet what the item costs before listing it. He ends up making money that way.


Julie March 20, 2012 at 10:19 am

Audrey, does he buy things specifically to sell on CL or is he just unloading household stuff?


Audrey @ Mom Drop Box March 24, 2012 at 3:55 pm

I think he often ‘recycles’- buys stuff on Craigslist, uses it, then sells it again after he’s done. It’s great because he’s ok with doing the work of meeting people & negotiating.


Carla March 17, 2012 at 8:32 am

Ok, I love the pic of the toddler bed and your son! haha! Yes, i’d say it’s time to unload that bed! ;) He’s very handsome by the way!


Julie March 20, 2012 at 10:19 am

Thank you, Carla. I think he’s handsome, but I’m biased. ;)


Tie the Money Knot March 19, 2012 at 11:53 pm

That’s great! I like the idea that you bought the chair/table set for $20 and sold for $25 later. Score indeed!

I’m going to try to sell some stuff on craigslist for the first time in the next day or two. I’ve bought things, but I’m ready for my first listings – have a bunch of things ready to go!


Julie March 20, 2012 at 10:18 am

Good luck with your sales, TTMK. Let us know how it goes!


Christa March 20, 2012 at 1:39 pm

I sold my little car on Craigslist to a college student who loved it. It was so nice to get the cash and see it go to someone who will appreciate it — and use it more in one week than I did in a year!


Julie March 21, 2012 at 12:02 pm

How great, Christa. Sounds like a hard-working college student at that.


Frugal work at home mom March 21, 2012 at 1:17 pm

Great job of decluttering and selling on craigslist


Julie March 22, 2012 at 3:22 pm



Tiffany @ No Ordinary Homestead March 22, 2012 at 3:10 pm

Nice job! I wish Craigslist would take off in Germany. I find ebay so horrid…and the 9% fees are steep. But Freecycle is awesome. So sometimes I just skip the hassle and let the fact that it’s going to a new loving home be enough of a payment. It’s tough, but ebay people are kinda crazy over here. ;)


Julie March 22, 2012 at 3:25 pm

Tiffany, I agree with you about eBay fees and that giving things away is often payment enough. Hopefully you’ll have another good option soon.

Where in Germany? We visited my sister three years ago in a village outside of Stuttgart.


May March 22, 2012 at 3:16 pm

That has to feel fabulous! All that space plus money to give a boost to the payments! It was a good week, huh?


Julie March 22, 2012 at 3:23 pm

Yes. :)


Pamelotta March 22, 2012 at 4:22 pm

I have to admit, I usually think of Craigs list as kind of a hassle, but my friend just moved into a new house and started snapping pictures of random things she didn’t need/want in the new space and putting them up on CL and before she knew it, her unwanted stuff was gone and she had a good chunk of money in its place. Guess I’ll just have to give it a try!

Btw, I’m visiting from Jules’ and I love the title and subject of your blog. I’ll definitely be looking around the archives for some tips in that area!


Julie March 22, 2012 at 7:11 pm

Thank you, Pamelotta. It’s nice to have you here!

CL can be something of a hassle. When I finally work up the motivation to do it, I do it in batches: gather all the things, take all the pictures at once, write all the descriptions at once, etc. And I do it when I’ll be at home for a few days to field emails and make the sales.


Kelly March 22, 2012 at 7:03 pm

Totally agree on the need for good pictures. I was searching hard for a certain piece (just found it this week), and LORD the number of terrible photos I had to wade through. It’s like they didn’t even really want to sell in the first place!


Julie March 22, 2012 at 7:11 pm

How true is that, Kelly? I’ve seen pictures where I couldn’t even make out what the item was.


Angie November 15, 2012 at 12:56 am

Awesome work! Like your website, alot of good information. Where is the best place to post ? ,,, others? Thanks Yall!


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