Tips + Tricks


How to Sell Anything on Craigslist | 7th House on the Left

We love Craigslist. When we moved from our apartment to the house, we listed many a thing on Craigslist and always sold whatever we posted within 1 day. In many cases (for us anyway) it is so much more convenient than having a big yard sale (or “tag sale” as we call them). We’ve also made a few purchases from Craigslist over the years including this mid-century side table, and our most recent purchase, a bass guitar (a red Fender Deluxe Active Jazz V for any fellow musicians out there).

A while back, Ashley’s dad had a big pile of left over bricks stacked up along side the back of their house, and he mentioned he was going to take them to the dump later that day. I asked him why in the world he would go through all that trouble to throw something away that would be relatively valuable to someone else, and suggested that he might want to list them on Craigslist. He’d be able to avoid the hassle of moving the bricks himself, and he might even make a few dollars from the sale. He didn’t believe us, so Ash said, “Give me 24 hours.” She took one quick iPhone photo and five minutes to list it. Within one hour, he had four emails asking when they could come pick them up. Two hours later, he was $20 richer.

That scenario has gotten around to the family, and Ash and I are now the family’s designated Craigslisters. We’ve listed everything from antique spoons to office buildings and burial plots for them. Yeah, we’re a couple of Craigslisting fiends.

How to Sell Anything on Craigslist | 7th House on the Left

ONE // Always post large and clear photos. This is without a doubt the most important tip on the list. Your photos can make or break your sale. You don’t have to have a fancy photo shoot or anything – a simple iPhone photo will do the trick. However, if your phone doesn’t take decent photos, take the time to use a point and shoot and upload them to your computer. Make sure the background isn’t cluttered, the item(s) are clean, and you have good lighting (natural sunlight is best). Also, a few detail shots can go a long way and maybe even answer some questions for potential buyers before they ask.

TWO // Write your description in an easy-to-read list form. It’s a lot easier for someone to quickly scan down a list of facts about what you’re selling than read through a long paragraph. After all, it’s the internet; people want instant gratification. Also, especially when listing furniture, include the item dimensions and material (wood vs. vinyl).

THREE // Include your phone number in the listing. Including a contact number will put the potential buyer in contact with you faster – especially if you’re dealing with someone who doesn’t email very often. If you don’t want to give out your personal phone number and have a Google account, you can easily set up a Google Voice number (learn more about that here). This is something we use for all of our Craigslist transactions and it’s worked out perfectly.

FOUR // Add some personality to your writing. Just like in advertising, you want to come across as a likable person to the potential buyer. Instead of starting out your listing with, “I have a mid-century modern chair for sale” try “I have a mid-century modern chair for sale that Lucy Ricardo herself would fawn over.” It makes your listing a more interesting. It’ll stand out among the crowd.

FIVE // Check out the competition. Chances are, if you’re listing something like a computer or lawn mower, there are going to be a lot of similar items listed as well. Be sure to check out your competition and see what comparable items are selling for in your area. Listing your item just $5 below the “other guy” may make all the difference.

SIX // Double- and triple-check your spelling. I definitely let a typo slip here and there – even on the blog. However, when we list anything on Craigslist, we make sure everything is spelled correctly – especially brand names – so our listing will show up when someone searches for something specific. Making sure your spelling and grammar are in line also increases your credibility as an intelligent person who knows what they’re doing, and it just makes for a better presentation overall.

SEVEN // Delete and re-post your listing after 48 hours. Especially in relatively large cities like Richmond, new listings are added on a regular basis, so it’s easy for your listing to get lost in the piles and piles of other listings. By re-posting your item, it will put you back at the top of the list. Make sure you delete your old item before reposting or it may get marked as spam.

If you have any Craigslisting tricks up your sleeve or any fun stories (ever see a crazy listing?), be sure to share in the comments.

Image background via.

You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    September 3, 2013 at 12:04 pm

    I love, love, love Craigslist! I just sold a few things on there last week. I agree with all of your tips. Would like to add that if you can be flexible on the price, throwing out the OBO (or best offer) along with the price might help too. Both items I sold last week were gone within 24 hours of posting, but both buyers gave another offer. Since we really just wanted the items gone, we were ok with taking a slightly lower price. When I’m looking at postings on Craigslist, I usually go for one that says OBO, probably because I like to feel like I’m getting a little bit better deal. 🙂

    • Reply
      September 3, 2013 at 2:29 pm

      Great tip!!

  • Reply
    Linda Dean
    September 3, 2013 at 3:06 pm

    I love this post. I’m a complete Craigslist dummy and can never seem to successfully sell anything. Thanks for the tips!

  • Reply
    September 3, 2013 at 3:06 pm

    These are great! I’ve never thought of the Google Voice thing. Great tip!!

  • Reply
    September 3, 2013 at 3:07 pm

    perfect timing! i’m getting ready to do a “virtual yard sale” and this will come in handy.

  • Reply
    September 3, 2013 at 4:22 pm

    Thank you so much for these tips! I have a lot of old porcelain dolls that I collected when I was a kid and need to get rid of. I’ve always been a little hesitant about Craigslist (the idea of giving my number to random strangers who might have a homicidal streak never sat well with me) so I’ve been up in the air about what to do with them. However, setting up a Google number is ingenious! I can’t believe I never thought of that. Not to mention the idea of re-posting.

  • Reply
    [email protected]
    September 3, 2013 at 7:28 pm

    I too have become the Craigslist designee in my family! I’ve been selling tons lately for my parents who are going through a house reno. They wanted to sell the items at a flea market but I told them I could get them much more through Craigslist- so far all success! Thanks for the tip about writing in list form- that’s something I haven’t been doing so I’ll try it out with the table I’m listing for them.

  • Reply
    September 3, 2013 at 9:17 pm

    I sell a lot of stuff that isn’t too big. Another way I get my stuff to move quickly, is to offer to meet people in public. There is a large shopping center near my work, so I am not going out of my way, and that way I don’t have to let strangers know where I live. And, as a single woman, I feel more comfortable meeting people in public when I purchase from CL too.

  • Reply
    September 3, 2013 at 11:05 pm

    My experience on Craigslist has been hot and cold, things either sell immediately or not at all. I’ve never been able to figure why some things and not others, though I can tell you without a doubt that anything Pottery Barn or Tinkerbell will go fast! Remember to stay safe. When possible I will load whatever I am selling in my car and then meet potential buyers in a public place that I was going to anyway (so I don’t make a special trip and sit around waiting). If what I am selling is too big to drag about then it goes into the garage where buyers can look at it and I don’t have strangers wandering around inside my home.

    • Reply
      September 4, 2013 at 9:37 am

      Absolutely! Great tip!

  • Reply
    September 4, 2013 at 12:20 pm

    Thanks for the tips! I’m about to sell some items on CLs and feel like I have permission to delete and re-post our ads if our items don’t sell immediately. I sorta felt sneaky doing it before but it makes total sense!

  • Reply
    September 4, 2013 at 6:44 pm

    I just purged my linen cupboards and was going to just take everything to Goodwill (a lot is only worthy of donation), but your ideas have me ready to put things on CL for the first time. I even have a bunch of great Pottery Barn bedding (thanks, Linda!) and now know that I can probably sell these almost new items. Love the idea for Google phone and meeting in a public place. I just LOVE your blog! Thanks!

  • Reply
    Kim G
    September 4, 2013 at 7:21 pm

    I have a question about re-posting… In the past, I’ve removed an ad, then had to wait a few days in order to re-post so it can go to the top of the list. How are you getting around that? Do you completely delete the ad, then turn around and re-post it as new? Just curious. Like many of the other comments, I rarely let someone come to my house (only if the item is quite large). I always ask to meet in a public vicinity and try to bring my husband with me if possible. Thanks for the AWESOME tips!

    • Reply
      September 15, 2013 at 3:28 pm

      So sorry about just now responding to your comment! It looks like it slipped through the cracks somehow. After about 48 hours, if you click on the link they send you to edit/delete your post, there’s a “renew” button as well. This will re-list your item, automatically delete the “old” one and put it back at the top of the list. Hope that helps!

  • Reply
    September 4, 2013 at 7:36 pm

    Always include dimensions! Someone is probably going to ask, and you don’t want to make anyone come out only to find its not the right fit at all for what they’re looking for.
    Also, you don’t have to sell it to the first person who contacts you. I almost had to move two couches with a broken ankle because I trusted flaky-girl to come through for three weeks. Bad move. First person who is able to SHOW UP AND GET IT is the one you sell it to!

  • Reply
    September 5, 2013 at 1:17 pm

    can i ask what font you used for the “how to sell anything” image? 🙂 🙂

    • Reply
      September 5, 2013 at 8:49 pm

      Oh dear, I put that together a while ago (since I was going to be out of town when it posted). I THINK it’s Bebas. Hope that helps! : )

  • Reply
    September 5, 2013 at 8:37 pm

    I’ve used Craigslist to buy and sell. Earlier this summer our neighborhood had a huge yard sale. We had a big television and a generator to sell, so I listed them separately on Craigslist with photos, information, our address and the google map option. I said they would be available to the first buyer. It worked great. Both were gone within the first hour.

  • Reply
    John @ AZ DIY Guy
    September 5, 2013 at 10:57 pm

    I’ve had lots of success too, both directions, especially with tools. A frustrating sale was a sectional IKEA couch. I had many hungry shoppers who desperately wanted it, but it took most of the day for someone who could actually lay their hands on something to transport it. I even had one couple drive 45 minutes to see it in a Honda fit. They couldn’t even haul the cushions.

  • Reply
    September 7, 2013 at 4:09 pm

    Yes, yes, and yes!! I sell stuff part-time on Craigslist, eBay and Amazon and I agree with each and every one of these tips!

  • Reply
    Sheri E.
    September 8, 2013 at 1:22 am

    I’ve also learned not to remove the item until it is actually sold. Someone just coming to look at it doesn’t qualify. I will take numbers of people in case the first one didn’t buy it. I used to save up boxes from my business that I could have just recycled but they are hard to find when you are moving. I’d list them as free but it soon took too much time as people wouldn’t show up, or they’d pick through them. I think with free stuff it’s best just to put it on the curb, maybe advertise on CL that you’ll remove the listing when it’s gone, or if you are on a busy street you don’t even need to do CL.

  • Reply
    October 27, 2013 at 4:15 pm

    I tried to sell wedding rings with out success. I set up a meeting with the buyer at a local jewelry store. The inquiries were from out of town and wanted me to accept payment from Pay Pal by Email. When I checked with Pay Pal they did not receive any payment. I googled the senders name, and the list of scammers came up, plus how the scam works. The contact was in New York, but the buyer was in Nigeria. The whole thing looked very legitimate on the Email, but the Pay Pal site said otherwise. The thieves are out their and Craig’s list has no way to keep you safe from them. So, advise is don’t be in a hurry. Check everything out. Be cautious.

    • Reply
      October 27, 2013 at 6:44 pm

      Yeah! Also watch out for emails where they only mention what your selling as an “item”, they’re normally scams.

  • Reply
    March 10, 2016 at 3:16 pm

    #6 is right on! Check spelling and grammar. That is- “couch for sell” , misuse of similar words- then & than, their, there & their, your & you’re, bring & take , etc.. I’ve always thought that if I’m dealing with such a person then there is an automatic 50% discount.

  • Reply
    August 19, 2016 at 12:17 am

    I’d avoid the cutesy-ness. 90% of the time, people use it terribly, and I immediately close the tab. I don’t want to reward that b*******. Also, all caps. I close the tab. I just want to know what the item is, not the raptures that your children had over this item.

    But that’s only working as someone who buys stuff and finds apartments on CL.

  • Leave a Reply