Craigslist 101: 3 Tips To Sell Your Items ASAP

posted by Andrea | 10/16/2012

Since I love to find great deals, I love to declutter my own home, and I’m always looking for ways to make additional income, it should be no surprise that I’m a little bit obsessed with buying and selling things on Craigslist!

Over the past 3 or 4 years I’ve furnished the better parts of 2 homes with Craigslist finds, I’ve sold thousands of dollars of stuff (most of which I got for free or very inexpensively), and we even sold our house in 3 days on Craigslist. It was a great source of extra income when I was first starting up my business, and now it’s just a fun hobby that I do whenever I have the time.

Since I’ve mentioned my love of Craigslist several times on my blog, I get lots and LOTS of questions from readers asking for the best tips and advice to sell their own items. So last summer, I ran a mini “Craigslist 101 Series” and talked about the ins-and-outs of buying and selling on Cragislist.

That series created even more questions… the main one being:

How can I sell my items as quickly as possible?

I got emails from people who had been trying to sell specific items for weeks and months. They said they were following my tips, re-posting the items, lowering the price, etc. but their items just weren’t selling.

Obviously, there are 101 reasons why something might not sell {poor quality, something no one wants or needs, damaged, in a remote location, etc.} but since I sell almost everything I post on Craigslist within the first 48 hours, I figured there had to be something I was doing that helped me to sell things quickly.

After thinking about this for a while, I came up with three things

1. Set a reasonable price.

I can not stress this enough. It doesn’t matter if your item is brand new, still in the box, never been used — it’s still NOT new from the store so you’re NOT going to get full price for it. In fact, if you really want to get rid of it quickly, you won’t even get close to full price for it.

Just last week, I sold  a brand new Kitchen Aid mixer (the Pro series) for a friend. It was a $350 mixer that had never been used. They got it as a gift, didn’t want it, but couldn’t return it. She told me that she wanted at least $200 for it… and within 12 hours, I had the mixer sold and she had cash in her pocket!

Sure, we maybe could have gotten $250 or even $275 for it if we were willing to wait several weeks and repost it again and again — but is it really worth all the extra time and effort for $50… especially since she didn’t pay anything for this mixer and wanted cash instead?

The NUMBER ONE way to assure that your items sell quickly is to keep your prices reasonable. Think of what you would pay for the item at a garage sale, ask yourself if the item you are selling is in high demand, search Ebay and other Craigslist ads to see what similar items are being sold for, and then set your price accordingly.

Also, I almost always say “or best offer” so the buyer knows that I’m ready to negotiate if he/she has a better offer. So for example, when I posted the Kitchen Aid mixer, I said “We’re asking $250 or best offer”. The buyer offered me $200 and said he could be to my house in 15 minutes. I said SOLD!

2. Provide an adequate description.

There is absolutely nothing more annoying (at least for me) than clicking on a Craiglist ad that looks promising, only to see a small blurry picture with the text:

“Table for sale.  $100.”

Hello, what kind of table? What brand name? What are the dimensions? Where did you purchase it from? What type of condition is it in? Are the chairs included or not? Does it have any expandable leaves? Can you provide more than one, tiny, blurry picture? Anything else you can tell me that would make me want to buy this table?

Whenever you list something on Craigslist, be as descriptive as you possibly can. Provide the size and/or measurements of every item you’re selling. Provide at least 2 photos {I almost always include 4 photos}. List any defects or damages up-front. Disclose where you purchased it from, when you purchased it, or if you got it used from someone else. Include an link to the product or the website URL for the company you purchased it from.

The more information you give, the less emails you’ll get with 50 questions later. Plus, I guarantee you’ll sell the items much faster!

Here is the exact text I posted for the Kitchen Aid Mix Master (I also included 4 photos)…

I have a brand new, KitchenAid Pro 500 Bowl Lift Stand Mixer that I am selling for a friend. She got it as a wedding gift this summer and doesn’t need it. She is unable to return it and would rather have the cash… so we’re selling it for a deal!

It is the metallic (silver) color and has the dough hook, whisk, and paddle attachments.

It sells for $359 (or more) in stores and on — We are asking $250 or best offer.

Here is a bit more information:

  • Powerful Motor and Metal Gears
  • Commercial-Style Motor Protection
  • Electronic Speed Sensor
  • Professional Bowl-Lift Design
  • All-Metal Construction
  • 5-Quart Stainless Steel Wide Bowl
  • 67-Point Planetary Mixing Action
  • 10-Speed Control
  • Multipurpose Hinged Attachment Hub

Here are the measurements:

  • Height = 16.5 in (41.9 cm)
  • Width = 11.3 in (28.7 cm)
  • Depth = 14.6 in (37.1 cm)
  • Cord Length = 50.8 in (129.0 cm)
  • Net Weight = 25.0 lbs (11.3 kg)
  • Motor Wattage = 325 watts

You can get more product information about this specific mixer here:

Cash only, no holds, and I will remove this listing immediately after the item is sold.
Thanks for looking — this is a gorgeous piece and would look great in any kitchen!

So as you can see, I provided a TON of information about this mixer to make it really easy for potential buyers to decide if it’s what they wanted or not. It only took me about 15 minutes to put this information together, but it probably saved me over an hour of responding to emails asking me a bunch of questions.


3. Sell it to the first person with cash.

Sometimes I feel bad when I tell a buyer that I won’t hold an item for them — but I’ve just been let down too many times in the past so unless I know the buyer personally, I will not hold anything.

If a buyer says they can’t get to my house until tomorrow, then I simply reply by saying, “I do not hold items, but if you’d like to contact me before you’re ready to come tomorrow, I’ll tell you if it’s still available or not.”

If they tell me they can be to my house in 45 minutes, I will usually “hold” the item for 75 minutes just in case they are running a little late. However, if they don’t show up after that time, I will reply to the next person in my list of emails.

If I have a bunch of emails from people interested in my items, I quickly scan through them and respond to whoever says they can come the soonest. My main priority is selling my items ASAP and since I don’t know any of these people, I don’t feel the need to be “loyal” and respond to the first person who emailed me — especially since they might not be able to pick it up for a few days.

When I posted the Kitchen Aid Mixer (late Friday night), I got a handful of emails in the first couple hours — but after I read that one person lived in my same town and could come first thing Saturday morning, I emailed him back first. He showed up just before 9:00am with cash in hand and it was a done deal. No messing around with all the other emails, no “holding” the mixer until someone got off work; I had the cash and the mixer was gone.


These three tips are things I’ve been doing since I first started selling on Craigslist, and based on the speed I sell things, I’d say they work 🙂

So if you’re having trouble selling your items on Craigslist, I’d suggest lowering the price, providing more description and more photos, and selling it to the first person who arrives with cash!

photo source

Filed under: OrganizingPurgingResources

Leave a comment


  1. Janet goodrich


    I will try your suggestions thank you for your tips on selling my items.


  2. Bert


    Great tips. The emphasis is on being a bit tough. You may be nice and want to make concessions for people, but (especially) if you want to do more volume and make more money, you have to keep in mind that “it’s just business, not personal.” These aren’t friends that you selling to as a favor (though I did make one friend through a CL sale–that was the exception, not the rule). I’ve asked people to hold things or if they can do it when I get off work. I try not to make unreasonable requests…and if they are willing, great, if not–I can’t really get mad about it.

    On the other hand, I’ve has people make requests of me. I never agree to deliver. CL is just not that kind of commitment for me. My wife & I actually did go look at a chair to buy once and it turned out to be too big to fit in my car. We thanked the girl & apologized for taking her time. She was very laid back and asked if we wanted her to deliver it in her SUV for $20 bucks. My wife absolutely ADORED the chair so we happily paid it. (We all got stuck in horrible traffic on the way to our place and insisted on an extra $5 bucks tip for her.) Now, she was willing to do it, but I probably wouldn’t do the same. I just don’t have that kind of time and, as I said, Craigslist isn’t that kind of commitment for me. I Never say Never, though. Perhaps if I had the right product and a big enough sale, I’d do it for a nominal fee.

    Regarding commenters who fret over safety concerns of buying & selling on CList, I happily address all concerns. Most of the bad stories you hear about have some sort of severe error in judgement made by at least one of the parties involved. The favorite thing for people to say is “what about the craigslist killer.” I say “what about him?” Most don’t even know what they’re talking about. I read up on the CL killer. He was preying on young women who were posting ads for things like “massage services” or blatant sex ads. I don’t deal in those sorts of things (sorry ladies) nor do I seek them out. It’s just foolish, and if you need an explanation, then you’re the type of person who ends up in those situations.

    People also love to refer to the muggings and other crimes perpetrated against Craigslisters. I say, again, judgement. Don’t go to areas that worry you or that you wouldn’t want to leave your car parked unlocked. I try not to let people come by after dark and I rarely let people into my home. When I know they are coming, either have the item outside or I have it ready to bring outside for them to view.

    Currently I live in a nice apartment community with a really nice clubhouse building. When people express hesitation to come to my home, I tell them that I plan to meet them outside. If they don’t want to do that, I make an offer to meet them at the clubhouse, where there are office managers and other people. If that’s not enough, then I decline the sale. Sometimes they ask me to come to the Wal-Mart parking lot, and although Wal-Mart is literally 2 minutes drive, tops from my place, I draw the line at walking or driving down to the clubhouse. Why, because it’s convenient to me, and even though they come to my community, they still don’t know where I live.

    Anyway…it’s all about good judgement. Happy selling *and buying!


    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks for your tips — you are exactly right!


  3. mina decker


    i have been emailing a girl on craigslist for over a month and i want the dresser she has posted. She just reposted it a couple of days ago. Is she getting the email. Thought it may
    be going in her spam. Is there any way to get the message to her. Im sure she must still
    have it.. Same dresser posted with a new writing so Im sure she posted it.

    Thank you for help


  4. Best reviews of Himalayan Salt


    Hi! Do you know if they make any plugins to protect against hackers?
    I’m kinda paranoid about losing everything I’ve worked hard on.

    Any tips?


  5. Adam


    I diagree that we should consider the item we are selling like as if it was a garage sale then that means craigslist is one big garage sale yes you have to be reasonable in your pricing but that does not mean you should give it away for free you use an example of 300 dollar item yet when your selling less expensive items and cant sell it then sometimes its better to give to a relative or just keep it some people are unrealistic and want to sell used diapers at full price meaning there selling items the garage man would not pick up etc


  6. Heidi


    Just another way to find great deals i’ve found is on Facebook-they now have online garage sale sites :O)


  7. Ann


    Hi, I have never sold on craigslist but I have been selling on eBay for years….

    I would be SO GRATEFUL if someone would answer this question for me. I am really confused about one thing about craigslist and I can’t find this answer anywhere on the site….

    How can I post an ad for an item to show up nationally? Meaning, I would like to include a link to my ebay item/ or just post an item for sale that I can ship nationwide. Does anyone post on craigslist to sell nationally & just ship the items? And, I believe it is OK to put a link in my craigslist ad to direct to an eBay item for sale, is that correct?

    Thanks to ANYONE that can answer this for me!!!

    Ann H.


    Andrea Reply:

    Ann, the whole concept of Craigslist is that you DON’T ship your items. you buy local and go pick it up yourself. That’s the difference between Craigslist and Ebay. So to answer your questions, you can’t post something nation wide –only for your specific location/city.


    Ann Reply:

    Thank you for responding…..I’m keep searching for a good eBay alternative to expand my online sales.


    RJ Reply:

    How do you link all your different ads in CL.


  8. Pam


    I am confused. In #1, ” The buyer offered me $200 and said he could be to my house in 15 minutes. I said SOLD!” But in #3, you state the buyer said he could be there first thing in the morning (late Friday evening posting). It’s great to sell it so fast, just wondering about the timeline.


  9. Jen


    I’d be very interested to find out more about your house listing on Craig’s list, when you sold it and why you were able to sell it after 3 days!


  10. Denise Z


    Woo-hoo! I’ve had several responses to the ads I posted yesterday! Have a gal coming this afternoon to look! (fingers crossed!)


  11. Ashley


    Ah…how I miss CL! I grew up in Denver, where there are 1000’s of postings every day, just as you said. But since I’ve moved to WY…not so much. CL here is for the *entire* state (population-wise, not an issue; geographically more challenging!). And I can’t tell you how many posts I’ve seen with the location listed as “Wyoming”. Grr! Thankfully, my parents are still in the Denver area and are willing to buy & sometimes even sell for me there. Great post!


  12. Chelsea


    Everyone has to do their own homework on how to sell on Craigslist, but I certainly appreciate all the information you’ve listed in this post and other posts!

    I’ve been selling a lot on CL lately. I’ve been trying to sell a lot of baby stuff and it’s been hit or miss. I’ve tried selling as matching outfits, single items (like a swing, coat, snowsuit), and I’ve tried selling a “LOT” of same size items and even separated fall/winter from spring/summer.

    My personal experience:

    *For my area, I was listing under a more local community, but when I changed it to the bigger area, I’ve had a lot more response.
    *Definitely good to tell people you won’t hold an item. I’ve had a couple of no shows.
    *I usually meet the people outside by the playground so they don’t know my exact location, but I won’t deliver any items, don’t ship anything, and I choose not to drive outside of a one mile radius to meet someone.
    *Since some items haven’t sold immediately, and I’ve lowered prices and relisted, I’ve seen a lot more spam come thru. I now ask people to reply to the email with their name/info and added a note that says I won’t reply to anything that appears to be spam.

    And, my personal goal, is to sell items within two months or it gets donated.


  13. Sandy


    Right on Andrea!
    Clear, concise, accurate and thorough information is what I look for when I am shopping online selling sites. And it’s what I try to provide when selling. Good photos are key.
    I have found when I try to squeeze just a few more dollars out of an item, I kick myself over the extra time it took to sell.
    I usually arrange to meet buyers in public parking lots (Meijer, Family Fare, etc) to deliver the item or pick up a purchase..unless it’s a piece of furniture 🙂 We exchange car info (color and type), choose an area (i.e. SW corner of the lot) and we always find each other.
    Great post, as usual.


  14. Denise Z


    Thanks for the pointers! I’ve been procrastinating listing some things on Craigslist and your post was just the motivation I needed. Good tips on wording and what to include in the ads! My items are now listed!


  15. Barbara F.


    Andrea, when you say cash, is it a Paypal account? I haven’t used Craig’s List (I always think of the CL Killer for some reason!) but bombed out on EBay. Can small items be shipped? Thanks. xo


    Diane Reply:

    Cash = greenbacks, hard currency… in a word, CASH! No checks, no PayPal, no money orders. Cash is king! Craigslist isn’t for sellers who want to ship; it’s for getting cold hard cash in your hands right away and for buyers to pick up the stuff and take it away!


  16. Damian


    Glad to hear you’ve had some very good experiences with CL. Most of mine have been poor at best but perhaps these suggestions will help me.


  17. Stephanie


    Andrea, do you have people come to your home when your husband isn’t there? If so, you are much more trusting of strangers than I am!


    Andrea Reply:

    Yes Stephanie, I’ve been selling on Craigslist for over 6 years now (usually when Dave is gone) and I’ve never had one bad situation. I’ve never even felt unsafe. I figure it’s no difference than when I go to buy something from a stranger’s house without Dave 🙂


  18. Sallie


    Andrea, how do you know me so well.. We are moving next month and this was exactly what I needed. I LOVE your blog! Your such an inspiration!! Thanks for the great information!!


    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Sallie — and good luck with your move!!


  19. Shannon


    Wow…I must say that this post must be divine timing for me! I have some items that I want to sell on Craigslist but didn’t know about a good way to do about it. Thanks for your post!