The 5 Commandments of Craigslist Shopping- Score Amazing Finds

I am cheap.. Like really cheap. Like I don't like spending money on unnecessary stuff unless I have to, even then- it has to be on sale. Since I am the queen of being cheap, I have a very distinctive love/hate relationship with Craigslist. Over the years, I have found some pretty dope stuff on Craigslist. Vintage dressers, free desks, 5$ side tables and brand new table lamps from high-end retailers. The rush I get from finding hidden treasures on Craigslist is pretty amazing and addicting, once you start- its hard to stop ad if their was a rehab for thrifting- I would be the first to sign up. 

Since I consider myself such an expert, I thought it was only fitting to share some of my top 5 tips and tricks for scoring amazing stuff on Craigslist. ENJOY!

5. Know the Lingo- Use Keywords Properly

Lets face it, most people are not trying to make major sales on Craigslist, nor are they always versed in home decor trends like "Farmhouse" or "Shabby Chic." When searching for particular items on CL, keywords are major! Looking for a mid-century dresser to use as a buffet? try searching "Dresser" or "console." Dream of snagging the perfect nightstands to flank your bed? using vague descriptions will help get to the hidden treasures among the junk. 

4. Who, What, Where- Know Where to Look

Craiglist is separated by geographical locations. Meaning, items will populate based on your chosen area on the home screen. In my experience, I have found that some of the best items are located in large, metropolitan cities where people are moving in/out pretty frequently. Why is that? because when people are moving- most people try to get rid of their crap and FAST. Finding people who are moving and looking to get rid of stuff allows you, the seeker- more flexibility to haggle on the price (being fair of course). 

3. Be Cheap, Not Offensive

Nobody wants to pay more for stuff then they have to. We ALL want to save a few dollars here and there- especially when you are taking on a DIY project. Haggling on Craigslist is a science, typically the general rule of thumb is to not ask for more than a 10-15% reduction in price. Low balling people who are already taking a loss on their belongings can turn people off and cost you the sale. Respect in your initial response (more on that in a minute), will not only get you a quicker response, but usually yield good results in haggling so KEEP IT CUTE.

2. Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

If you have ever tried selling or buying on Craigslist you know that most people HATE wasting time communicating with potential buyers. Not all sellers include in-depth descriptions in their posts, but generally pictures offer a good background on the piece. When approaching a potential buyer on Craigslist (I always recommend through email), be swift and to the point with your initial inquiry. Make sure to start the email by actually saying "Hello." Offer a compliment on the piece in your opening line like "I really like XYZ and I am interested in purchasing." In the email, always include a date/time when you would want to pick up the piece and close the email with your phone number if you feel comfortable. 

1. Move it or Loose it Man

If you are not fortunate enough to own a large vehicle- van, pickup truck, trailer etc. buying on CL can get tricky if you are looking for amazing furniture. I currently live in a one car household and this point is always the hardest for me since my husbands prized hotwheel car doesn't fit much in it. Buying on Craigslist will require that you have your transportation lined up in advance. Know someone with a truck, be friendly to them, offer them some yummy bake goods or your first born (actually don't do that- but you get the point). Having transportation lined up in advance will not only save you the headache of actually picking up the pieces you want, but will save you money in the long run in transportation fees. If transportation access is not possible for you, don't worry not all hope is lost. Many small businesses offer local pickup services on CL for an additional fee. Also, try asking the seller if they would be willing to transport the item for extra $$$$. The key in arranging transport is just to be organized and efficient- if you take too long organizing pickup/dropoff you can turn-off the seller loose the sale.

So their you have it, my top 5 tips for scouring hidden treasures on Craigslist. Of course, it goes without saying that CL is NOT a perfect science. Exercise caution and discretion when communicating with potential sellers. Never meet a seller alone to pick up a piece (Craigslist can be a scary place y'all). Bring a strong, intimidating man with you to help with transport if you have one available. Do not offer exchange of money over the Internet without first seeing the piece that you are buying.



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