Simplifying

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

March 15, 2012

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
















  1. 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.

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

  2. 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.

    1. 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!

  3. 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.

  4. 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!

  5. 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 kijiji.com 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.

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

      Good luck with your auctions. What are you selling.

      1. 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!!

  6. 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!)

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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!

  10. 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!

  11. 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!

  12. 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. ;)

    1. 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.

  13. 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!

    1. 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.

  14. 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!

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

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