Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Tips + Tricks | Craigslist

A week or so ago, I got a few requests for how I narrow down the sea of junk (hello massive 90s sofas and mattresses) on Craigslist to the gems. So, I asked a few of my favorite Craigslist bargain hunter bloggers to share their tips too. Here you go!!

First things first, BE SAFE! You're dealing with strangers, so think before jumping in. 1. Communicate at least a few times (by phone if possible) 2. Bring your spouse/friend with you 3. Let someone else (family or friend) know where/when you're going 4.  If possible, meet in a public area. Though, it's very common to meet at someone's home, especially if it's a heavy dresser, etc. Check out the address on Google Maps (street view) to make sure it's not in the middle of the woods, etc. 5. Be aware of possible scams (they are on there!) never send money before seeing an item, cash and carry only. That being said, I haven't had any negative experiences - everyone that I've met has been very nice and most importantly normal. But a warning definitely needs to be mentioned - be safe!

Here's our top tips!

"Search Craigslist often! Frequency is so important - using a Craigslist app, such as cPRO makes it easy when you have a free moment. Think about what a seller might call something verse what it actually is. My most recent find - rattan bistro chairs were found searching "wicker". Also, I love Mid Century Modern pieces, but typically people who label something as MCM overcharge, so try searching old dresser or wood dresser or estate/garage sale. These are broader searches (so you have to hunt more), but typically they are priced better. Some of my favorite key words are bamboo, rattan, wicker, mid century modern (sometimes you get lucky and get a deal!), wood dresser, old dresser. Finally, search nearby locations or along a travel route - if I find something I really want (for a good price), I'm willing to drive a little further!" 

I love, love, love my Chinese Chippendale chairs (though I still haven't upholstered them yet!!) We drove 2 hours and made a day trip out of it - we saw the Biltmore and some new vintage shops too.

"Never give up! I tend to hit Craigslist only when I have something specific in mind, that way I'm not filling our house with all of the random deals that I "just can't pass up." It takes a little bit longer to go looking for something specific, but the key is to be patient, to keep checking (even going so far as to set reminders) and to never settle for second-rate! This process has made my proudest finds all that much sweeter." 

I'm obsessed with Carrie's tulip chairs - she recently had the seat's reupholstered and they look amazing!! 

Follow Carrie's Craigslist finds on her blog, Dream Green DIY and Instagram

"My top tip is to check often, like all the time.  If you’re on the hunt for something, don’t think checking every other day is going to do it.  Craigslist has a great phone app that makes it so easy to check as often as you can."

Jen is a fellow lover of all things bamboo, brass and marble. So naturally, I'm crazy about everything Jen finds! I'm still looking for a bamboo brass cart! Check out more of Jen's Craigslist finds, here, here, and here

Follow Jen's Craigslist finds on her blog, With Heart and Instagram

"Check Craigslist frequently and keep your searches pretty broad.  Sometimes people mislabel things or call it by another name and if you search for something by a particular name you might miss out on some things.  I also always check the box for "has image", then click "by owner", and then I click the "gallery view".  It helps me to be able to scan through everything quickly."

Ok, how great are are Bethany's Mid Century Modern wire chairs!? Love them!! Check out Bethany's Craigslist scores, here, here, here, and here

Follow Bethany's Craigslist finds on her blog, Dwellings By Devore and Instagram

"I use the cPRO Craigslist app on my iPhone. I rarely have time to sit and browse Craigslist on the computer, and usually whenever I have a down moment (rocking the baby to sleep, waiting for my lunch order, waiting in line at the grocery store, etc) I will browse Craigslist using this app.  I like the feature that allows you to tag a post as a "favorite" so you don't have to waste time searching for that thing you liked. I don't think my keyword searches are much different than the norm, but these are my favorite search terms: "west elm", "mid century modern", "hollywood regency", "old wood dresser (or whatever item I'm looking for)", "vintage rug", "vintage ___", etc. I haven't started using the alerts tool, probably for fear I will actually find too many things I want or think I need. My husband should thank me for this, ha!"

Brittany is the campaign dresser finding queen! I'm also jealous of how much she can pack in her car! I have yet to find a long campaign dresser ... still on the hunt! Also, this rug wasn't found on Craigslist, but SO SO good!! 

Follow along with Brittany's finds on her blog, Brittany Makes and Instagram

"Respond immediately (and then think about it) "I love your table and would like to buy it. When is convenient for you?" Thank you so much, Pam 303-123-4567. I never ask questions at this point and chance another buyer's offer coming in while we're emailing/texting back and forth about details. AFTER the seller sets a time and gives me their address, we are buds, then I inquire about the item."

Pam is constantly posting amazing Craigslist finds!! Makes me wish I lived in closer so we could share :) Also, can't believe that her sofa was just $100!! Pam shares more Craigslist tips on her blog, here

Follow along with Pam's finds on her blog, Simple Details and Instagram

"Other than refining my search "by owner" and sorting my finds through "gallery" view, I really like to search for specific items that are currently available in stores. For example, I really wanted an Ikea Docksta table, which was currently for sale at Ikea for $199. I thought I could find it for less, and sure enough, a few weeks later I was able to snag one off Craigslist for $75! It's a great way to save a little bit of money on items that you might buy anyway. And the money saved makes up for any minor dings or scratches!"

Those cantilever chairs were only $60 for the set, SO good! The perfect example of how buying second hand can save you so much money! 

Follow along with Shannon's finds on her blog, Burlap and Lace and Instagram!

"Many of my favorite small local thrift and consignment shops also list some of their items on Craigslist. I’ve set an alert to be notified of anything they post so if I find something good I can call them right away to put it on hold until I can get over there."

Elizabeth is constantly posting drool worthy finds, like this Chinese Chippendale chair!! Check out more of Elizabeth's Craigslist finds here and here

Follow along with Elizabeth's finds on her blog, The Little Black Door and Instagram

"My favorite tip is definitely the "set alert" button!"  

Gwen has found SO many amazing rugs on Craigslist!! We have all hardwood floors in our MD home, so I'm definitely on the hunt! p.s. so funny that I emailed Gwen about participating in this Craigslist post, the same day that Gwen shared her amazing Craigslist tips, you can find them, here!

Follow along with Gwen's finds on her blog, The Makerista and Instagram!


A big thanks to everyone that participated today! Hopefully, you picked up some new tips to find treasures among the junk!

Thrift stores are also the perfect place to find amazing finds, check out my tips here! 


  1. More! More! More! I love this post. It has inspired me, so thanks so much and I hope
    you'll do this again.

    1. Glad you like it!! I'll plan to of more tips + tricks soon! :)

  2. This is such a brilliant series, Sarah! Thank you for having me! :)

    1. Shannon, thanks SO much for participating!! :)

  3. Thank you for including me! Live this round up of tips, I think I need to use the alert button ;)

    1. Thanks so much for participating Brittany! I don't use the alert button either, but I need to start!

  4. i totally do the same thing pam does... then sometimes say "oh it won't fit, thanks anyhow!" if i changed my mind and feel bad... ;)

  5. Ive used the app before but I actually prefer to browse the site via my smartphone browser. I bookmark my favorite searches so I can just click on whatever I want to browse and wait for the site to load. Then if I'm on the fence about an items necessity I'll bookmark it and come back to it to see if details or price drops.

  6. Good tips! CONSTANT VIGILANCE (for all you Harry Potter fans out there) is key on Craigslist. The great finds go so fast! I buy lots on CL but sell lots, too, and I find there's also an art to that. I wrote up some tips for selling your junk here: https://whitedogvintage.wordpress.com/2015/01/20/5-tips-for-selling-your-stuff-on-craigslist/

  7. Such an awesome idea Sarah!! Thanks so much for including me with these CL enthusiasts!

  8. Thank you so much for bringing together all of these great ladies and their expertise!! I had actually just added a few alerts for my local CL area after reading Gwen's post not long ago. And my hubby and I are driving down to Florida soon - so glad you suggested looking for treasures on a trip like that! :)

  9. Great tips by all! Thanks for including me, friend!

  10. Thanks to all of you for sharing. It also helps to have a sweet friend who keeps a mental list of what her clinets and friends are looking for! Thanks Pam!


  11. Thanks for including me! Great group and tips!

  12. Thanks for including me Sarah. These are great tips to keep in your back pocket!

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  14. These are GREAT tips. I consider myself a CL semi-pro (ha!) and I can't think of anything that was not included. Thanks!



Thank you so much for taking the time to share your thoughts! I love hearing what you think! :)

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