How To Sell on Craigslist – Declutter Your Life

How to sell on Craigslist

Third and final “Craigslist Cleanse” for our move to Spain.

Our 1st and heartiest cleanse was in December. We really did a deep dive to sell all items that were excess, bulky, or provided storage for our clutter.

Declutter -How To sell on Craigslist - We provide you with the very easy steps we used to sell almost all of our belongings on Craigslist for our move to Spain.


This was all in prep to stage our home, so anything that would help for staging remained. The second big cleanse was just prior to closing on our house sale in May. Fortunately for us, the buyers wanted quite a bit of our furniture. That said, with a 3 story 4500 sq ft + home, we still had more.  We only rented One 10×20 storage unit, so pretty much all items need to go.  This is the 3rd and final cleanse, as we are leaving the country in less than a month.

While I was preparing for this third round, I realized I had a pretty good system. Several people have asked me how to use Craigslist and asked how did we sell so much so fast.  So, I thought I would share the magic recipe that worked for us with you!  The steps below are more for selling several items, but it may also be applied to the sale of a single item.

Nine Simple Steps on How To use Craigslist to Cleanse your clutter (or at least how I do):

Prep work

  1. Find a space or area in your home/garage that you can dedicate to a staging area to collect all items to be sold on Craigslist.
  2. Over a day or two, go around your home and physically move the items to the staging area. This will help you with the “detachment” period.  If you no longer see them in the original place, it is easier to become detached and allow them to go out the door.   (This excludes heavy furniture or big items that are better left where they are so the “buyer” can move them for you.)
  3. Photoshoot time! Set up a well-lit spot in your staging area to take photos of each item.  Take close-ups of details, model numbers, or labels. Take a few pictures of each item. This will help with fewer questions being emailed to you about the item. (Some people may take a mass photo of a group of items, like candle holders, but they get lost in the mix. I have been far more successful in taking individual photos unless it is a set of something).
  4. Make a List!  I am a little crazy with lists, but it helped me keep my head on straight. I used Excel, so I could easily make adjustments and track the $. Whatever you do list ALL items.  (Lesson learned for me is to have the details here so you can use this to copy into ad later. (Detailed Title, color, size, make, etc). It is also useful to keep track of asking and selling prices. This way if you “wiggle” on the price for one item you can see that it did/didn’t impact the overall total much.
    (example at the bottom of the post)
  5. Research price – google it, search on eBay, search Craigslist in your city or surrounding areas. You name it, do what you can to get a feel for what this used item would sell for.  You don’t want to price on your sentimental value or the price you paid retail 10 years ago. Determine your price about the same or just a few $ less. Place your desired price on your LIST in a column next to the title.

                            Now you are ready to post your ad!

  6. I have found the best time to place ads is during the following window: Thursday 5pm – Friday 5pm. You will get loads of traffic during this time, as many people shop near the weekend. (If I hit this window of time, about 90% of the items I posted were gone within 24 hours, most had inquiries within 1-2 hours.)
  7. Enter into your web browser
    1. In the upper left select “post to classifieds
    2. Categorize as appropriate, the tool will walk you through what you need to do
    3. Posting Title:  now is the time to reference your “LIST” and copy the Detailed Title (color, size, make, etc) into this field.
    4. Enter your email address, I always chose to “anonymize” my email so people wouldn’t have it directly.
    5. Posting Description
      1. Type in as much detail as possible (measurements, capacity, color, material, etc)
      2. Cash Only
      3. extra text I add
        (Please note: There is no need to contact me to see if this is still available. If the ad is posted that means the item is still available. I will remove once sold.)  This may help with several emails asking “is it still available?”
      4. Add photos you previously took
      5. Save
  8. Your ad is ready to go and be prepared to get several emails. Many of which will ask your lowest price or begin negotiations.  This is when your LIST is invaluable. You can easily reference it to see what prices you posted the items at and see what wiggle room you are willing to give.  If you aren’t in a hurry to sell then don’t wiggle!  If you aren’t getting inquiries, you likely priced it too high or didn’t title it to get noticed.
  9. Once an item sells, delete posting (as you promised in the ad) from Craigslist and enter SOLD price on your LIST.


  • With any high-priced items, $500 or so plus, you may get spam inquiring about your item.  If it is western union or “I will send you certified check if you remove your ad now”, etc. DON’T even reply. Just delete and mark it as spam.  You should only deal with cash and in person! If you don’t have a warm and fuzzy with someone, don’t sell. Your safety isn’t worth it, so just wait for the next person to give you an offer.
  • Be cautious with others entering your home. If they are coming to your home, have your Craigslist items near the door or in the garage.  If you are going to meet with someone for the exchange, ensure it is a very populated public place.

Have fun and enjoy your cleanse.  You will be amazed at what other people are looking for. This is better than a garage sale because people are looking for exact items. If in doubt, try to sell and see what happens. While it may seem like loads of work, it is a bit fun.  Not to mention the reward after having less clutter in your home/garage or where ever.

Example LIST:   ( I LOVE Excel!)

How to sell on Craigslist

Please feel free to comment and let me know what you think or what has worked for you.

7 thoughts on “How To Sell on Craigslist – Declutter Your Life

  1. Hi Heidi! We have decided to move to Spain, so I am starting to declutter. What did you do with your books? We have a ton, especially since we are homeschoolers. Do you recommend trying to sell the ones you were ready to part with? Take them to a used book store that will give some cash for them? Donate them? Did you end up storing any? I’m torn about the best way to handle it, because I would really like to get the most value out of our stuff that I can. In fact, I am dreaming and praying that I can sell enough of our stuff to buy airline tickets to Spain for our whole family of 7. Donating is so easy and quick, but no cash (just whatever tax write-off we get). Thoughts?

    • Awesome Laura! That is so exciting. We sold or donated all of our books. We took big bins to the used bookstore and what they didn’t buy we gave away. We didn’t store any. We did the same with out 900+ cd collection, except we did keep about 100 of our must haves. It is a long and emotional process letting go of the “stuff”, but so liberating! We sold enough for plane tickets for sure!

      • Wow, I can’t imagine not storing any of the books! I would love to keep some of the books we read to the kids when they were little for their kids someday. When you left, did you anticipate moving back to North Carolina? I wonder if having a plan/idea to always be a nomad vs. a plan to come back and stay in one place makes that decision different. My husband’s thought is that we can get e-books for most of what we might want to read again, and that’s true, but for kids books, it’s just not the same. Can you recommend any articles you read that helped you process through the mental steps required to get rid of most of your stuff? I feel like some suggestions of “if you think of it like this…” might help me! Thanks!

        • We may have a small handful of kids books that were classics, but very few. When we left NC the plan was to be away 1-2 yrs and return, so we have things in storage we now wish we didn’t. We have been through this process a few times before, as in the late 90’s we moved to London for 3 yrs etc.. Let’s just say, we still had boxed (still packed) which we stored in the 90’s almost 14 yrs later. I think it is safe to say we didn’t need most of that stuff.

          As far as resources, it is just something within me that is a need vs want person. Just remember you don’t need to have a “thing” to remember someone or something. Sometimes we took a photo of a favorite thing, scanned in kids art etc.. Tried to go as light as possible, but keep the memories. We are lucky in that we have a blog going back to 1997, so it has all of the kids photos, art, milestones, vacations etc documented. It is just a process. Watch some of those home hoarders shows or decluttering, while it may not all apply to you the same rules would apply.


    • Sorry Gerry, I am not really sure. I would guess it would be difficult to have a US account and post internationally. Perhaps you can also set up an international account and have 2 profiles, one for each country? I know they only like you to post in a single geographic area.

  3. Yes, higher priced items on craigslist will almost always attract the Nigerian scammers, especially if it is jewelry. They are pretty easy to spot because they always send a general question (never anything about the specific item) and follow it up with something about being out of town and needing it shipped. They also offer to overpay for the item. It is always a scam.

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