Sell Your Stuff on Craigslist for Extra Cash

Have you sold your unwanted stuff on Craigslist yet? If not you should consider it because it’s a great (and easy) way to make extra cash if you do it right. If you don’t know, Craigslist is a (mostly free) classified website that offers darn near everything you can think of. This makes it a great marketplace to sell your stuff. I’ve had ongoing success selling, making a little over $1000 posting things sporadically throughout the year.  I don’t consider myself an expert by any means, but thought I’d share what I have learned and what works for me.

I won’t spend time explaining how one sets up an account and creates classifieds to sell stuff because this WikiHow page does it so well (complete with pictures). As to what to sell on Craigslist? Whatever you want! Anything. Everything. That’s not very helpful, is it? The truth is you CAN sell just about anything on Craigslist. There are people like this guy who make an excellent full-time living selling stuff on Craigslist. Be warned, he makes it look so doable you’ll want to quit your job and join him! Maybe one day I will but today I’m keeping it really small. So what do I sell and how do I decide?

What to Sell on Craigslist?

The simplest answer is also the most complicated. I sell what I’m comfortable selling on Craigslist. That can be different for everyone, I know. But what helped me figure it out was developing a set of criteria. My list was not something I consciously decided to create, but after a few go rounds on Craigslist, it solidified for me in a way that I can now articulate. Here it is:

Whatever I Sell on Craigslist

1. Has to lead to at least $50 in profit, so in my case we’re generally talking about home goods like furniture and large items. This is because of the potential travel to meet buyers, or in some instances, allowing a seller to come to my home (more on that later), and just sort of the personal nature of it. There are scammers out there and (sometimes obnoxious) negotiators, so I set a price that I feel makes it worth my time for the admittedly little work put into this.

2. Can’t be Sold on eBay: If the item will net $50 in profit after shipping and handling, eBay would be my first choice. However, if the item is too bulky, fragile, or too costly to ship using eBay, I’ll sell it on Craigslist.

3. Can’t be Consigned: Depending on the item, consigning can net more than selling on Craigslist. And if not, having the shop do all of the legwork on my behalf more than makes up for making a bit less after splitting the profit. However, if that piece requires a rental truck to get it there because it’s too unwieldy to maneuver into my (or Brad’s) car, it gets placed on Craigslist.

That’s it. That’s my criteria for what I’ll consider selling on Craigslist. What have Brad and I sold? The larger items include:

Dresser, Secretary Hutch, Settee, Dining Room Set, Scuba Gear, Snow Guards (left when we replaced our roof)

My biggest success wasn’t even my own! I posted a motorcycle on behalf of my dad (because you know, sometimes parents don’t feel comfortable doing this stuff), filtered the inquiries sending specific ones his way. That bike wasn’t listed 24 hours before it was sold with four people vying for it. He made more on that bike than he originally purchased it for new!!!

Below are a few additional guidelines I follow with regard to Craigslist:

1. When meeting with a buyer Brad and I are ALWAYS together AND I tell my parents when it’s happening. Just don’t forget to call them afterwards to let them know everything is fine or you’ll have a panicked mom like I did (sorry mom!).

2. When possible meet in a public place like inside of a Starbucks. Basically avoid parking lots to decrease chances of “snatch and run.”

3. When we’ve allowed people to come to our house we have the item outside in the garage. Yes, we’ve ignored this one before because the dresser was too heavy for the two of us to move outside. Yes, the buyer was perfectly nice. Yes, we were still terribly uneasy that a stranger was in our home, even though we’d pushed that dresser as close to the front door as possible. What can I say? Each person has to weigh the risks and their comfort.

4. Patience Really is Key: That dresser that we sold must’ve stayed on Craigslist for four months. We just renewed the classified every time it expired. We did not lower the price (we would have but we truly believed we were competitive). And it finally sold. It may take a while to sell your items. Sometimes you place your item on sale before the person who will eventually buy it is in the market looking for it. Don’t give up. Of course you can’t be blind to the possibility that it’s overpriced, etc., but don’t give up…especially when there are thousands of similar items listed and being bought.

5. Finalize the Price BEFORE Meeting the Buyer: This sounds like one of those “goes without saying” suggestions, but it’s worth repeating. Does this mean people won’t try to negotiate? Of course it doesn’t, but it helps Brad and I keep things straight in our heads and on the same page. We always ask ourselves what if the buyer tries to talk us down. Are we willing to go lower? What’s the absolute lowest amount we’ll accept? With that in hand we’re prepared. One thing to never, EVER fall for is the old, “Oh, I only brought this much, will you accept that? “ Nope. In addition, I’d probably tell the person that I might have been willing to accept that if they tried negotiating, but because they were shady, I’ll just keep my item.

So those are my pearls of wisdom such that they are. I hope they have helped. Have you sold on Craigslist? What’s your specialty? What tips do you have?