7 Tips to Sell Your Stuff on Craigslist

When we first moved into our house last December we had lots and lots of furniture (as well as other things) that we needed to buy. It’s a huge task to outfit a house on a minimal budget! I wanted to do something to help offset the cost of all we had to buy so I decided to start selling some things on Craigslist.

Those of you who know me, know that I’m a purger. I LOVE to give away/throw away/sell things. I hate junk and things in my house that are not being used and I have no problem getting rid of it if it’s just taking up space!

That being said, it wasn’t hard for me to look through our stuff and find things to post on Craigslist. And, over a period of about 2 months, I actually made over $1,300 from selling stuff! I realize that’s an easy thing to do if you sell a car or a couple of pieces of antique furniture on Craigslist but I was pretty proud of myself for making that much by selling little things here and there – too small baby clothes, our old dining room table, kitchen gadgets, toys, etc. 

Could you use some extra money? I’m pretty sure that you have things around your house that you could sell too! My motto is that it’s always worth putting something up on Craigslist before you bring it to the Goodwill. You’d be surprised what people will buy! Right before Christmas I sold a Christmas tree stand for $3. So, I get that $3 isn’t a lot but I was just going to give that thing to the Goodwill. At the last minute I decided to post it on Craigslist and a lady came to buy it from me the very next day! It was no hassle for me, she came to my house, paid, grabbed it and went. And I was $3 richer for very little effort. =)

If you’d like to make a little extra pocket change by selling some stuff on Craigslist here are my top 7 tips:

1. One Person’s Junk is Another Person’s Treasure
The “Great Rule of Craigslist” is that one person’s junk is another person’s treasure. Does your item look like it could possibly have any value to anyone else? Then it’s worth it to list it! It takes 10-15 minutes of your time to list an item and could bring you an extra $10- $15 dollars. Seems like a good deal to me! Another important thing to note about selling things on Craigslist is that you will often get much more for an item on Craigslist than you will at a yard sale. At a yard sale people are looking for dirt cheap items, not necessarily specific items, just whatever they can find at a good price. When people search on Craigslist they know the item that they want and they are ready to pay the fair price for it because it’s what they really want!

2. Clean your items up!
We used to have two pack n plays and I only needed one, so I decided to sell the other. We had taken it to Uganda and it was pretty dirty (Ugandan dirt is clayish and red and hard to get out of stuff!). Originally I just posted it on Craigslist for $20, saying it was in good shape, just dirty. But then I quickly came to my senses and decided to clean it up and re-list it. It took about 30 minutes of some scrubbing and I had an almost new looking pack n play and re-listed it for $40. It sold quickly! Moral of the story – a little bit of elbow grease on your end could double the list price of your item. If you have the time, it’s worth it to spruce your items up!

3. Take Good Pictures of Your Stuff
Pictures make all the difference when trying to sell your stuff. Make sure that your pictures are high quality and taken in good lighting. Take the pictures outside or near a window- and avoid taking them at night or in poor lighting. Be conscious of what shows up in the background.  Does your house look messy and dirty? Does it look like you live in an unsafe neighborhood? People will be less inclined to buy from you if it does. Include at least 3-6 pictures in your listing and make sure you have adequately covered each side of the item as well as the different functions it has.

4. Describe Your Stuff Well and Make it Sound Good!
Go for brief yet detailed in your description. If you list a stroller for sale and just say, “Stroller for sale- in good shape” you are less likely to draw attention to the item than if you were to list a slightly longer description of what type of stroller it is, how long you’ve had it, the different seating options it has, etc. If your item gets good reviews on Amazon or another site, put the item’s link in your description so that a buyer can read the reviews on it. Play up the great things about your item and briefly describe the bad. Don’t lie, and make sure to be honest about anything that doesn’t work properly. Make sure to say (if it applies to you) that your item is from a smoke or pet free home. Or that you have a flexible schedule and can meet up whenever is good for them. Or that you are willing to take your item (such as an electronic item) back if it doesn’t work. Sound friendly and let them know they are free to ask any questions they may have!

5. Price your stuff fairly and be willing to negotiate
Before I list my items I do two things to try to find out what a fair price would be. The first thing I do is find the item on Amazon.com, Walmart.com or some other site where I think the item would most likely be sold the cheapest. After I determine what the item is currently selling for new, I search Craigslist to find out what people are selling the item used for. Then I usually take the different prices into consideration and end up with a fair price in the middle. I like my items to sell quickly so I tend to price on the low end. If you’re not in a hurry  you can always try to list your item higher and then lower the price if it doesn’t sell. Remember that items that have some sentimental value to you (such as all those sweet baby clothes your daughter wore) are not going to have the same sentimental value to someone else and thus they will be worth less to them. If you are willing to negotiate put something like “or best offer” or “OBO” in your description. If you’re not, then say upfront that your price is “firm.”

6. Group Small Items
Often times people don’t want to put forth the effort into meeting up to buy something small and cheap. If you’re trying to sell things like clothes, toys, DVD’s, or other small items try grouping them together in lots. For instance, a lot of 10 baby outfits for $15 is much more likely to sell than one baby outfit for $1.50.

7. Refresh and Re-list!
Craigslist has a great feature where every few days you can refresh your item and make it appear at the top of the page when people search for that type of item. To refresh, log into your account page and the option will be under the “manage” section next to the title of your item. When your item expires, re-list it! I’ve had things sell for full asking price on the second go round. You never know when the right buyer is going to be looking!

Here is a sample of one of my current listings on Craigslist (I am not going to give you the actual Craigslist link because hopefully this will be sold soon and I will be deleting the ad!):

Like New Baby Chef Ultimate Baby Food Maker – $50

Hello! I’m selling a very briefly and gently used baby food maker which is also a steamer, chopper, processor, reheater, and bottle warming center. The product is very highly rated. It is seriously in like new condition! Only used a few times, some of the parts are still brand new in the package! I have the box and the directions.

It sells for $200 on Amazon!: http://www.amazon.com/Baby-Chef-Ultimate-Food-Maker/dp/B004HFQLIO/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top?ie=UTF8 . I am only asking $50!

  • All-in-1 Machine: It steams, chops, blends, purees, defrosts, warms – even accommodates baby bottles
  • Side-by-side meal prep: steam and blend at the same time
  • BPA-free with “Same Time” dual function controls
  • Space-saving side drawer with tongs, spatula, and lid included
  • Measuring cup and bottom cord storage included

Comes from a smoke and pet free home. Please call, e-mail, or text Amber at (contact info). Please do not ask me if it is still available. If you see the ad, it’s available! =)

*Beware of spammers on Craigslist. There are lots and lots of people out there trying to trick you. Never accept payment in the form of a check or from someone who is not able to meet with you in person. Only accept cash and meet up with people face to face. I have people come to my home because it is more convenient for me rather than packing up the kids to meet someone somewhere, but if you don’t feel comfortable with that then ask to meet in a more public place. You’re the seller and you set the rules. Don’t feel pressured to sell to someone you don’t want to or to meet up somewhere you don’t want to. Always be on the lookout for what sounds like a scam!*

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