Craigslist 101: Always Be Ready to Sell

posted by Andrea | 08/12/2016
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craigslist 101 selling

Over the past few weeks, Dave and I have purged SOOOOO much stuff from our home!

I’ve already shared about how we revamped all four of our bedrooms — and along with the “revamping” came purging, donating, and selling many items we no longer want, use, need or love.

The vast majority of our cast-offs were donated to the local thrift store (the photo above is just one of our trips to the donation drop off!) However, we had a handful of items that were worth enough money to sell on Craigslist (at least in my opinion).

Some of these items were:

  • New TV wall mount
  • Gas grill
  • New IKEA slipcover
  • Furniture (dresser, table, armoire, bed)
  • A few brand name baby items (not clothes)
  • A bike rack that no longer fits on our van
  • Kid’s bike
  • A few antiques I no longer wanted

We ended up selling everything in less than a week and made almost $500 for a very small amount of effort on my part (not too bad!)

As I was emailing potential buyers and selling off our items, I thought of one more Craigslist tip that has helped me sell more items and sell them faster… and I figured it would be a great addition to the Craigslist 101 Series I’ve been running on my blog for several years now! (read all the posts here)

The tip?

I always make sure I’m ready to sell by keeping smaller items in the back of my van!

Obviously, the furniture and the grill would not fit in the back of my van — but everything else fit just fine and was easy enough to carry with me for a few days before it sold.

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If you’re wondering why on earth I would put the items I’m selling in the back of my van, it’s because that way, I can easily meet up with a potential buyer whenever I get an email from them — even if I’m already out and about running errands or bringing kids somewhere.

Now to be clear, I have NO issue with people coming to my home — in fact, I prefer people drive to my home to buy the items. However, there have been many times over the years when someone emails or texts me about an item and asks if I’d be willing to meet them at a specified location. If I happen to be running errands close to that location (or close to their home or work), I will gladly meet them since all my sale items are already in the back of my van!

This might sound kind of weird for some of you… but I know I’m not the only crazy person who does this! On many occasions, I have emailed other sellers to buy things on Craigslist and they’ll respond with something like, “yes, it’s in the back of my van/truck/car, so I’ll meet you ______ on my way home from work.”

It really takes no extra effort on my part, and since we keep the driver’s side bucket seat “stowed”, we have plenty of room to put groceries or other items in the main part of the van for the few days my trunk is loaded with Craigslist items.

Please keep in mind that if my Craigslist items don’t sell within a few days, I immediately lower the price and relist them. And if they don’t sell within 2 weeks, I either list them for free or donate them — so I never have “junk” sitting in the back of my van for months on end.

Also, this tip won’t be nearly as helpful or useful if you don’t have a smartphone to check email when you’re away from home.

That said, the majority of people I know these days have the ability to check email pretty much anywhere and anytime — so the next time you’re selling smaller items on Craigslist (or selling on a Facebook garage sale), I would highly recommend giving this tip a try.

Have you ever tried this and had success?

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11 comments

  1. Cindy

    08/12/2016

    I would have loved to find the white dresser or white table on Craigslist! : )

    [Reply]

  2. mara

    08/12/2016

    That is REALLY smart, plus you still get the beneficial feeling of “having it out of your house”! Looks like you guys did pretty well on that purge! Crazy how many cuts you can make, especially with you both home. I always laugh because I consider donating something for weeks, then I am finally with my husband doing a mini purge and he’ll throw it in the pile without batting an eye. BUT I almost always try to ask him first, JUST in case 😉 Then, I can’t be blamed if something goes missing haha!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Yes, I purge regularly throughout the year, but I always try to do a bigger purge during the summer (or Christmas break) when Dave is home to help with the kids and help me load things into the car. In general, he’s not a “saver” either, but I do always ask him before getting rid of any of his stuff 🙂

    [Reply]

  3. Judy Tetu

    08/12/2016

    How do you ensure safety when showing a house or selling items – people coming to your house? I looked at Owners.com thinking it was only a listing fee and then they tell me they have a brokers fee which can be 2-3%. This is the same for forsalebyowner.com. i’m alone and trying to sell. was will to pay for their posting fee to save me time preparing my house after living here 50 years, but I have to pay a hefty price for my septic in Mass. so any addt’l fees eats into my profits and then the amount I would have to purchase a house & moving costs, etc.

    Thank you for your ideas here.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Hi Judy,
    I’d say that if you’re worried about safety and unsure what to do when selling your house, you should probably just hire a realtor. It’s their job to protect you, and that’s what they get paid for. It’s probably worth sacrificing a bit of your home profit to assure everything is safe, secure, legal, and done correctly.

    [Reply]

  4. Susan

    08/12/2016

    I am always envious about your Craigslist posts, because you seem to be in a much “hotter” market than I am. Your stuff really moves quickly!

    Also, when I do Craigslist, I often get emails asking if the item is still available, and after responding “yes”, that’s the end of the conversation! Why do people ask and not follow through?? Have you experienced that?

    Thanks for all your tips! They are very helpful.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    well, we always set our prices very low — so yes, our stuff sells fast! Other people might sit on the same item for month because they aren’t willing to lower the price. Also, as I mentioned in the post, I donate anything that doesn’t sell within 2 weeks — so we don’t let it sit around forever and keep reposting it.

    As for the emails, I always put in the ad “I will remove this ad immediately when the item sells” so they know if they see the ad, the item is still around. If they do email me asking if it’s available, I would respond with more than just a “yes”. I would say something like “Yes, I’m home tonight from 6-9pm if you’d like to come look at it. If that time doesn’t work, let me know what time works for you.”

    Hope this helps!

    [Reply]

  5. Lee Cockrum

    08/12/2016

    It boggles my mind that as much as you purge, and don’t bring things into your home to begin with; that you still had that much to get rid of!!! In a way it makes me despair of ever getting to a state of decreased clutter!! On the other hand, I guess I can figure I have no where to go but up!!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    well, I do a pretty good job of not brining things in — but a lot still comes in (whether I bring it or not). With 3 kids, we are CONSTANTLY getting hand-me-downs, “gifts” from relatives or friends, and other things we don’t necessarily need 🙂
    Also, companies send me LOTS of stuff to review (but I don’t review most of it) so all that stuff needs to be used up or giveaway away at some point.

    Don’t despair, every little bit helps (and yes, you can only go up!)

    [Reply]

    Debby Reply:

    Don’t despair. If you have a lot of clutter, walk into a given area of storage and see if you can find five things to purge/sell/donate. Then stop until you have taken care of those things. then do five more. It is a freeing feeling.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    This is great advice… thanks Debby!

    [Reply]