5 Tips for Selling Your Stuff on Craigslist

5 Tips for Selling Your Stuff on Craigslist

In my perpetual bid to rid our house of clutter, I did a major sweep of our storage room a few weeks ago. The room had become so packed that it was hard to even open the door! Yes, the Babies R Us warehouse was starting to cause a problem.

So, I decided it was time for a major purge. Two bouncy seats, a swing, a jumpy, an infant play gym, a pack ‘n play, a cosleeper… the list went on and on.

We could have had a garage sale, but frankly, my garage isn’t much better than the storage room and I didn’t think I could face clearing that out as well. (I’ll get there… eventually…) And, given the prices that I expect to get at a garage sale, I figured I could do better on Craiglist.

In just under two weeks, I managed to get my asking price on every single item I listed. My house is a bit clearer, and I’m a couple hundred dollars richer. Win -win!

Based on that successful experience, here are my five tips for making some extra cash by selling your stuff on Craigslist.

1. Clean It Up

Before I even listed a single item, I cleaned everything thoroughly. The fabric parts I laundered and line-dried, the plastic bits, I scrubbed with a Clorox wipe. I noted any scratches or other defects, and then did my best to make sure these used-with-love items looked as good as possible.

2. Shoot Some Nice Pictures

You don’t have to be Ansel Adams to sell stuff on Craigslist, but it is worth waiting for good light to shoot your pics. And please, whatever else you do, make sure that the background isn’t a cluttery mess.

It’s true that Craigslist shrinks your images – and they will look a bit pixelated. But blurry cell phone pics? Horrible lighting? Visible dirt and dog hair? Ick!

This might be over the top, but I even took a few moments to edit my pictures, cropping out unnecessary background and brightening less than ideal images.

3. Write Well

No, it’s not a feature article, but I still tried to make my Craigslist descriptions as appealing as possible. Strike a conversational, but not overly familiar, tone.

Don’t apologize for your items – they are USED after all – but make sure to note anything that is less than perfect. And if you’re listing multiple items, be sure to create an easy to remember hashtag, so viewers can search for the rest of your goodies as well.

Here’s an example:

Priced to sell, since I am on a decluttering spree!

This excellent used condition Tiny Love Super Deluxe Lights and Music Gymini Activity Gym sells for $50+ on Amazon and BRU.

The mat and arches are both in excellent condition – no stains or tears – and we have all the animals.

My daughter *loved* hanging out on this mat when she was a newborn.

Email is the best way to reach me, but you can also try XXX-XXX-XXXX.

(Find other items up for sale by searching #babygearsale)

4. Set the Price Right

I asked $10 for the above gymini – and I got it. No haggling whatsoever. Barring one insanely low-ball offer (I was selling a baby bath for $5 and the emailer asked if I’d consider $2 – uh, no!), I was pleasantly surprised that no one even tried to negotiate. I guess that’s a sign that I did indeed set the price right!

Take a moment or two to “research” similar items on your city’s Craigslist. It doesn’t matter if in some other city, you could sell the gymini for $20 – you’re in your city. I searched for similar terms, and scanned the prices. I set mine in the lowest range, without being absurdly low – as I think that signals “defective product”.

If what you are selling is so unique that no one else on Craigslist is listing it, you might want to consider going to eBay instead.

5. Be Available

Make it a point to quickly respond to emails and/or calls as long as the item is available. If you don’t want to deal with emails and calls over Shabbat, don’t list your items on Friday afternoon!

Once an item was pending pick-up (PPU in Craigslist speak), I created an auto responder to let emailers know that I’d get back to them if the item wasn’t picked up. As soon as something sold, I deleted the listing – that way I avoided frustrating potential buyers (and myself, with incessant emails I’d feel guilty for not responding to).

I’ve still got mountains of baby clothes and a number of miscellaneous household items that I plan to list in the coming weeks. Once everything is sold, I’m going to go shopping – we need a new couch and some dressers for our boys’ room. How cool would it be if we could fund the whole thing by selling our cast-offs?!

Have you had success earning extra cash by selling on Craigslist or eBay – or at garage sales and consignment sales? Share your best tips in the comments section!

(This post originally appeared on Kosher on a Budget in 2011.)


  1. Thanks for posting! We’re just starting the process of emptying our house… we’ve decluttered, but now we need to sell, sell, sell! I like the idea about adding the “Email is the best way to reach me, but you can also try 913-XXX-XXXX.

    (Find other items up for sale by searching #babygearsale)”

    what do you think is the best day to list items if you are shabbat observant?

    • I tried to list early in the week – Monday or Tuesday. You can even go in and delete your listings and then relist after Shabbat, but some people have already copied down the information, so it’s possible you’ll get calls anyway. I decided not to say “don’t call on Saturday” b/c that seemed like I was unavailable – which of course breaks Tip #5 😉 I just made a point to get online Saturday night and respond to any requests ASAP.

    • James Napier says

      I like your ideas.

  2. Great post, Mara. I’ve had several garage sales, but never listed anything on Craigslist. Might have to do this in the future.

  3. I’ve been considering Craigslist for some time. Have you tried eBay? Any idea how the experiences compare?

  4. I’ve never sold on CL, but have made numerous purchases. My hints reiterate what you said:

    A picture is worth a thousand words. If the posted picture is blurry, cluttered, or too small, forget it. I’ll move on.

    Details in the description. Include specific name or brand and model number if possible. For items such as furniture, include lots of measurements. Photograph the defects.

    We live in a major metropolitan area. There are 1000’s of new listings every day. To sell your item, make it stand out.

    • Thanks, Kathleen! Glad my tips make sense from the buyer perspective. I also do a lot of buying on CL. Maybe there’s a post in that, too! 🙂

  5. I’ve bought and sold a bunch of things on Craigslist, quite successfully. It’s a great resource! The one tip I’d add to your list is to be smart about arranging the transaction. Especially if you live in a non-urban area: Don’t give your exact address while telling someone no one will be home until 5 pm, for example. For smaller items, I’ve arranged to meet people in busy, easily accessible parking lots during the day. For larger items, I’ve given only my neighborhood/cross-streets and set up a meeting time; the buyer can call/email/text when they’re heading over and you can give them your address then.

    • Mara Strom says

      Good tips on safety! I also have several back and forth emails before I give someone my address. And always make sure that my husband is home at the appointment time.

  6. Any tips for selling furniture on CL? I have a large, heavy dinette set that has to go. It is beautiful and in perfect condition *except* the seat cushions need TLC or replacing, which I am not going to do for them. It will also need super manpower to move – we had professionals bring it over, it was given to us free by someone who was re-furnishing, but I think it’s nice enough that I can try to get something for it. Not sure how to deal with it, though, because of the big-ness. I’ve sold things like baby monitors and maternity clothes before, but never big heavy furniture.

    • Mara Strom says

      Chava – We did the same thing for big furniture items as we did for the little things. I’ve sold couches, a dining room table and a curio on Craigslist. Definitely a good way to recoup the costs. Just mention that the items are heavy and that the purchases will need to be able to move and transport it. (When we buy big things on CL, we borrow or rent a pick-up truck.)

  7. I’ve sold a few things on local Yahoo groups (after no response on craigslist). Worked out well.

    Considering ebay. Any thoughts on ebay vs craigslist?

  8. I often sell items on ebay. Craigslist is simpler, as you do not need to deal with shipping an item, but you can often do better in terms of profit; after all, your “customer” base is nationwide, and there are all sorts of people who want all sorts of things and will pay a premium for them if you have the specific item they are looking for.

  9. First of all, thanks for the tips. I’m getting ready to sell several items, and hadn’t thought of some of the things you suggest.

    I have sold items through both craigslist and ebay. With ebay, you have to be prepared to ship your items, as it doesn’t have the ability to only list things locally. There is an option for large/heavy items to be picked up or for local buyers to come get the items, but most things get shipped. Ebay charges a selling fee that is based on the selling price, how many pictures you choose to include in the listing and a variety of other factors. If you accept payment through Paypal, they also charge a fee. Paypal only bills you for their fee on a monthly basis, so be prepared for that to come later.

    I plan to go to craigslist first for the items I’m trying to sell now. I may consider posting them to ebay later if they don’t sell on craigslist.

  10. galileegirl says

    We did a lot of buying and selling on Craigslist when we lived in the USA.

    I especially liked your tip about keeping the background in the photo clutter free. I never understood why people post photos of their messy homes. For example, I’ve seen pictures of beds for sale with mountains of laundry on them!!! For me, that is an instant turn off and I will not consider the item even it meets my specifications.

    We’ve also had a lot of success buying on Yad2 (furniture and even a car) in Israel. I believe that the same tips would apply when selling on Yad2.

  11. Can i ask a question? I have 2 amazing strollers that i want to sell. a babyjogger elite double and a babyjogger select 360 single. both are in great condition but were left folded so the elastic on either side is stretched out and looks terrible. any suggestions on pricing? the double is 7 years old and the single is about 4 years old.

  12. Thanks for the tips, just tried listing my first 2 items! Any idea how to rotate the picture?

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