Craigslist 101: Do You Have the Time?

posted by Andrea | 06/28/2011


Last week I talked about how to buy successfully on Craigslist and how to sell successfully on Craigslist.

Both buying and selling on Craigslist are great ways to save money and make money…

But they also take TIME!

Buying on Craigslist usually takes a lot more time and patience than simply ordering something from or purchasing it from the mall, but it can easily save you 75% or more!!

Selling on Craigslist takes a lot more time than just donating the items to your local thrift store, but like I mentioned in my previous posts — I’ve made thousands of dollars by selling things on Craigslist — so it can be worth it.

If you are short on time but still want to try buying and/or selling on Craigslist, here are a few things to think about.

How to make the MOST of your time on Criagslist::


1. Only search for the things you want/need to buy — don’t waste time just “browsing”

2. Call the seller if they provide their phone number — this often goes faster than email.

3. If they don’t provide a phone number, then email the person and provide YOUR phone number so they can call you right away.

4. Only search for items in your city, town, or general area — this will reduce your travel time.

5. Negotiate over email/phone. If I think the price is too high, I’ll often try to negotiate ever before I look at the item. If they won’t budge on their price, then I don’t waste my time driving out to look at the item!


1. Start by selling one or two “big-ticket” items. You’ll have fewer no-shows and hopefully get a good return on your time investment.

2. Don’t waste time selling books or clothes — I’ve found those don’t sell very well on Craigslist

3. Don’t wast time selling items for less than $5.00 — it’s just not worth the time it takes.

4. Add your phone number. I personally don’t do this, but you will probably be contacted faster if you do.

5. Set specific hours. If you don’t want to wait around all day, simply put specific hours to contact you in your Criagslist post. Example: “I will be available to contact or to purchase items from 7-9pm on week days”

6. Don’t “hold” an item. I can’t stress this enough because “holding” an item means waiting…and waiting takes time. Just sell it to the first person who shows up with cash!

Also, If you are NOT willing to spend the time dealing with no shows and non-buyers, then Craigslist might not be for you!

And that’s ok!

It’s not for everyone, and you certainly shouldn’t feel bad if you prefer to donate your things to a great cause instead of selling them. The important thing is that they are out of your house and you don’t have to think about them any more!

What about you?

Do you try to sell your unused items via Craigslist, Ebay, garage sales, and consignment stores? Or do you just donate them?

Previous Posts in the Craigslist 101 Series:


Filed under: LifeFrugal Living

Leave a comment


  1. L.


    what are good ‘pick-ticket” items? I want to sell stuff on craigslist, but not sure if I have anything that would be considered a ‘big ticket” item…..


  2. Valerie


    I sell larger items on Craigslist, smaller items with good resale value (some books sell for good prices, others don’t, etc.) on Amazon, and some other items on eBay. Books that don’t have good value on Amazon I take to Half-Price books and sell in one fell swoop – only takes a few minutes to throw them all in a box and take them down there, so it’s worth whatever they give me (which is more than I’d get anywhere else). Donate the rest. Almost all clothes go straight to Good Will, because I don’t have the patience to iron and fold and hang and all that business when none of my clothes cost much to start with! 🙂 I also use to get rid of some things that really aren’t sellable elsewhere but I don’t want to just pitch in the trash.

    My boyfriend is amazed at the many venues I have found to get rid of clutter. What amazes me is how much clutter I still have to get rid of!! :O


  3. Janelle


    I have been trying to decide what the best way for me would be – either donate, garage sales or C.List. My husband does not like the idea of random people coming to our home, so C.List is probably will not happen. The annoying thing about yard sales is getting everything together and the pricing, etc – then trying to figure out if you really made enough money for it to be worth it…I want to have a yard sale so that I can sell the baby clothes – those should sell well! Anyway, those are my thoughts!


    Andrea Reply:

    Yes, I’m not a huge fan of hosting a yard sale either — so much work {I do enjoy GOING to yard sales though!!}

    Since baby items are probably the #1 sellers at garage sales, you will probably do OK…and you could even advertise your garage sale on Craigslist for more visibility!!


  4. Heart and Haven


    In regards to clothing, the exception is BABY CLOTHES.
    (seasonal items like christmas dresses, ski jackets, etc. sell well too!)

    I’ve had a TON of luck in both buying and selling baby clothes (sizes newborn – 4T). I only buy & sell in large lots (ie. 50 items of same size, season I need, etc.). I post pics of all lots, and won’t break up lots (takes too long to re-take pics if someone breaks apart the lot.)


    Andrea Reply:

    Yes, I’m glad you mentioned baby clothes — they DO sell very well on Craigslist {I’ll have to remember that for the coming months!!}


  5. Tammy aka @Tammy_Skipper


    When we moved this year and had big ticket items to sell (things that worked in our old house but we couldn’t use here), we sold them on Craigslist. The new community has a very active Craigslist group and we sold them for good prices very quickly. Once we’d unpacked more and I had lots of random, smaller items, I took them to our base thrift store (consignment). I can take 15 items at a time and I only spent about 15 mins each of the three days I went there. I’ve already sold enough items to get $24 coming my way. I spent a little over an hour at home sorting them before going in, so as long as half the items sell, I will break even for my time. when my kids were younger, consignment shops for kids clothing were the best way for me to recoup some money and find good deals at the same time.


    Andrea Reply:

    Sounds like you have a good system for donating and selling your unused items. And I’m glad you are paying attention to how much time you spend because I know people who will spend hours getting things ready for the consignment stores and walk out with $5 or $6 — NOT worth it!!