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. 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):
- 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.
- 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.)
- Photo shoot time! Set up a well-lit spot in your staging area to take photos of each item. Take close-ups of details, model number 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 taking individual photos, unless it is a set of something).
- 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 $. What ever 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 sold prices. This way if you “wiggle” on price for one item you can see that it did/didn’t impact the overall total much.
(example at the bottom of the post)
- 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 you ad!
- 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.)
- Enter Craigslist.org into your web browser
- In the upper left select “post to classifieds“
- Categorize as appropriate, the tool will walk you through what you need to do
- Posting Title: now is the time to reference your “LIST” and copy the Detailed Title (color, size, make etc) into this field.
- Enter your email address, I always chose to “anonymize” my email so people wouldn’t have it directly.
- Posting Description–
- Type in as much detail as possible (measurements, capacity, color, material etc)
- Cash Only
- 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?”
- Add photos you previously took
- You 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 you 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.
- Once an item sales, 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 as spam. You should only deal in 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 sell, 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 with having less clutter in your home/garage or where ever.
Example LIST: ( I LOVE Excel!)
Please feel free to comment and let me know what you think or what has worked for you.