Tips for Selling on Craigslist: Get the Most for Your Stuff

how to post to craigslist

Have you ever taken the time to go around your home and make a list of things that you want to get rid of on Craigslist?

If you’ve never done this, I can tell you this is a great exercise in intentional living and intentional spending because you can make money from selling things you no longer use and use the funds to pay off debt or purchase things you will use.

There is no fee to sell things on Craigslist or advertise your garage sale there. You simply need to create an account, navigate to your city, and create a new posting.

How to Sell on Craigslist: Tips for Selling

Here are a few tips and trick for how to sell on craigslist that will help you make the most from your efforts.

1. Make Your Craigslist Post Headline Clear

The vast majority of craigslist users are hunting for something very specific. So the more of these people you can connect with, the more your item will sell for.

Make sure you provide a clear, descriptive headline to let searchers know what you’re selling. To explain, let me give an example. I recently searched for “patio furniture” on Craigslist. One of the listings that came up had a headline that simply said “patio furniture.”

How to Sell on Craigslist

This is obviously as basic as you could possibly get for a headline description. Now contrast that listing with this one that was the next one on the page.

How to Sell on Craigslist

Notice how much more detail this listing includes. By reading the headline alone you would know that:

  • This is a 7-piece set.
  • This is Martha Stewart-branded patio furniture.
  • The furniture is suitable for outdoor use.

When you give buyers helpful information like that in the headline it increases the chance that they will decide to click on your listing. 

One thing that you’ll want to avoid, though, is filling your headline with subjective adjectives like “beautiful,” “quality,” and “gorgeous.” Instead, include actual facts about the item, like the materials that its made out of, its age, or its brand.

Also, avoid SCREAMING AT YOUR POTENTIAL BUYER and avoid using tacky symbols (%$*$*&^).

2. Try to Balance Clarity with Creativity

The most important thing is to ensure your description is clear and exhaustive. Be sure to include everything there is to know about your item, including dimensions, colors, and condition. Be sure to check manufacturers websites to get more details about your item to include.

But at the same time, you don’t want to bore people to death with unimportant details or huge blocks of text. Try to get as much information across to your potential buyers in a way that doesn’t make them feel overwhelmed.

Also, try to think of creative ways to stand out from the crowd. When I looked up “computer repair,” a lot of ho-hum listings popped up of people advertising their repair businesses. But the one below really caught my eye.

How to Sell on Craigslist

The shelves full of working computers somehow made me feel more confident that this guy had a legitimate business that could help fix my computer. Does that mean that he’s any better of a computer repairman than the others? No. The best repairman could have actually been someone from one of the other listings.

But there’s a good chance that I would have chosen this guy over the others just because his ad resonated with me the most. Spending a little extra time and putting a little extra effort into your Craigslist ad could really make a huge difference in how well it performs.

3. List Every Item for Sale in Every Craigslist Post

If you are advertising a garage sale, make sure that your craigslist post includes all of the items you are selling. Looking for a great example? Check out the garage sale listing below.

How to Sell on Craigslist

Now, that’s the way to list a garage sale on Craigslist! Think that including that level of detail is overkill? Think again.

You simply never know who will be searching for that one item at the bottom of the bucket. And even if you’re just selling one item, you may still want to use a list to describe the item in detail. Why? Because lists are easier to read than huge blocks of text.

4. Upload Photos to Every Craigslist Post

Potential buyers definitely prefer to see a clear, well-lit set of pictures of the actual item you are selling. If there’s one step that could literally make or break how well your Craigslist ad performs, it’s this one. Your listing could be as descriptive as the day is long, but people won’t even get to your description if you don’t have a good picture to catch their eye.

When people are searching for things on Craigslist, they are usually quickly scanning through dozens or even hundreds of listings within the span of a few minutes. If the picture on your ad is fuzzy, blurry, or dark, why would anyone stop scrolling to click on it?

To help you see what I mean, check out these two listings for leather couches.

How to Sell on Craigslist How to Sell on Craigslist

The one on the left has good lighting and is shot from a perspective that shows some of the surrounding decorations. This helps to give prospective buyers an idea of how a piece of furniture could fit into an overall living space.

On the other hand, the picture on the right has terrible lighting, is blurry, and is a head-on shot that doesn’t include any of the rest of the living room into the picture. Which one would you be more interested in buying?

5. Check Craigslist Posts and eBay Listings to Price Your Listing

The first step here is to know what your item is worth. Search similar listings on craigslist or check eBay for completed sale results.How to Sell on Craigslist

Secondly, be aware that Craigslist buyers will want to negotiate or even barter. Being open to these things will reduce your profit, but will increase your chances of selling.

6. Meet the Craigslist Buyer in a Public Place and Bring a Friend

Avoid having a potential seller come inside your home or visit you when you are alone. If you’re in a bind and need to sell alone, jump on a phone call with a friend and have them wait and listen while you complete the transaction.

If it’s a garage sale you are having, keep your house doors locked.

Related: How to Have a Garage Sale and Price Your Items

7. Accept Cash Only

For all of Craigslist’s good points, it’s also become infamous for attracting all manner of scam artists. Craigslist scams come in all shapes and sizes. But you can avoid nearly all of them by following one main rule – only deal in cash. Period.

Really, that’s just about all you need to know. But if you’d like some more details, check out the tips that Craigslist management themselves have written up on how to avoid scams.

  • Do not provide payment to anyone you have not met in person.
  • Beware offers involving shipping–deal with locals you can meet in person.
  • Never wire funds (e.g. Western Union)–anyone who asks you to is a scammer.
  • Don’t accept cashier/certified checks or money orders–banks cash fakes, then hold you responsible.
  • Transactions are between users only, no third party provides a “guarantee”.
  • Never give out financial info (bank account, social security, PayPal account, etc).
  • Do not rent or purchase sight-unseen–that amazing “deal” may not exist.
  • Refuse background/credit checks until you have met landlord/employer in person.

As long as you take the proper precautions, you can take full advantage of Craiglist’s massive reach while also keeping yourself safe.

8. It’s Your Community

While you’re taking the appropriate safety measures don’t forget to be friendly and smile. Your local Craigslist community is typically going to be the people you are living and working next to.

Use the opportunity to make connections and enjoy the interaction. Craigslist reports that many users tell them about friends and even significant others they’ve met while buying and selling on the service.

Some other considerations I have:

It’s important to know what sells on craigslist. Anything can be sold on craigslist, but it doesn’t mean you should sell it there.

  • Unique, collector’s items should be exposed to a broader market using eBay.
  • Anything that is small and easily mailed should also be a candidate for eBay or a larger market of some sort.

I’ve sold a lot of things on Craigslist: TVs, computers, tickets, kid’s toys, and even a car. If you’re going to sell a car or any high dollar value item where cash isn’t an option, then consider a payment escrow service to handle the exchange of money between you and the buyer.

Finally, you may want to also list your items on some of Craigslist’s competitors. Here are some other popular classified listings apps and websites that you may want to check out.

The more places that your listing can be seen the better chance you’ll have of getting a hit!

What Sells Fast on Craigslist?

Some items sell better on Craiglist than others. Here are a few things that have a reputation for selling fast on Craigslist:

  • Furniture: Solid-wood furniture sells especially well on Craigslist due to its reputation for lasting such a long time. Wood furniture can also be easy to refurbish and sell for a profit. My wife and I once bought a solid-wood coffee table for $20 on Craigslist, spent $20 on supplies to fix it up, and later sold it for $80. That’s a quick $40 profit!
  • Electronics: When many people upgrade to a new phone, they trade in their former phone during the transaction. But did you know that there’s a good chance that you could make more money by selling your phone or other electronic devices yourself on Craigslist? And if you’re looking to sell your old tech and media, you may also want to check out Decluttr. Read our review of Decluttr.
  • Yard equipment: There’s a hot market for lawn equipment on Craigslist since yard tools are often too large for individuals to sell on eBay or Amazon.
  • Cars: If you’re getting ready to buy a new car and you own your old one free and clear, why not try selling it on Craigslist? Cars sell fast on Craigslist because people like to avoid dealership hassles and fees. And if you have a mechanical background, flipping cars on Craigslist could become a serious side hustle.
  • Appliances: Similar to yard equipment, appliances sell well on Craigslist because their size makes them impractical to sell on other sites.

And, believe it or not, there’s a lot of income potential in flipping appliances, too. Sound too good to be true?  Check out our podcast highlight below.

Related: Retail Arbitrage: How to Buy, Sell, and Make Money

How to Sell and Resell Washers and Dryers on Craigslist

We interviewed LaJuan Stoxstill-Diggs, aka Mr. Craigslist Hustle on the podcast. He built a successful business selling washers and dryers on Craigslist.

In our podcast interview with LaJuan, he is very candid about his techniques and how you can get started. LaJuan discusses his story, how to find good washer and dryer sets, how to sell them for profit, and all the little details that go into this side hustle.

LaJuan didn’t stop with his own gigs. He’s shared his knowledge with the world in the form of his popular ebook, The Craigslist Hustle. Find out all about his book and his success with selling that on Amazon in the podcast.

Listen to the Podcast

How to Make Money on Craigslist with LaJuan Stoxstill-Diggs
Mr. Craigslist Hustle, LaJuan Stoxstill-Diggs

Highlights from the interview:

0:45 – From laid off to mover to washer/dryer reseller
2:30 – The early days of finding and selling washers every day
3:45 – Why Craigslist is the only way to go
4:45 – What makes a good buy (i.e. what to look for in a washer/dryer set)
6:30 – Why this business is a win/win
7:15 – Making the quick offers on the washer/dryer sets
8:30 – Negotiation tips and planning your trips
9:30 – Watching the Craigslist feed, auto-refreshing, and keywords/categories to use
11:45 – LaJuan’s SUV fits three sets
13:45 – Selling separates
14:45 – Storing the washer/dryer sets and the timeframe of buy/sell
15:30 – The selling process, including the guarantee
18:45 – Volume and profit ($500) every week
20:45 – Sharing The Craigslist Hustle with the world
22:00 – Marketing the ebook through
23:15 – Weekly ebook sales and profits
27:00 – How this has changed LaJuan’s financial life
29:30 – Balancing time with family and real estate work
30:30 – Mistakes and successes made along the way
32:30 – What’s next

Mentioned in the Interview:

Watch the Google Hangout with Mr. Craigslist Hustle

The Bottom Line:

If you have things sitting around the house that you’re not using anymore or don’t need, why not try using Craigslist to turn them into cash?
Getting paid to declutter your house is a pretty awesome win-win.

Do you have any tips for selling stuff on Craigslist? If so, we’d love to hear about them!

Selling on Craigslist

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  1. I am blown away by how many people don’t post photos of their items in their ads.  I won’t even look at a CL ad if it doesn’t have a decent photo of their item.

  2. Avatar deaconhayes says:

    I like to tell people “why” I am selling something. A lot of times that removes fear or doubt when they know that I am selling a product because I bought something else. Not because it is a dud or because it is a bad product.

  3. Avatar CollegeBoy says:

    I sold stuff on Craigslist and never had problems. I must admit I was nervous meeting people alone. But I sold things that I would of not been able to sell anywhere else

  4. You can also get rid of a lot of junk by giving it away for free. I’ve given away broken TVs and vacuums (of course, I tell people they are broken and need some work, and they can then either use them or sell them), and even sand from the base of an old pool. You won’t make any money but you’ll get back lots of space, and it feels better than throwing stuff away..

    1. Avatar Bridgette13 says:

      I totally agree!  I detest throwing anything away…

  5. Avatar Scott A Miller says:

    I research to see if anyone else is selling what I am, or something similar. I price my item competitively. I word my title short, descriptive and precise. I’m honest about what I’m selling. If it has faults, I write it in.

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