My Guide to Selling on Craigslist

My Guide to Selling on Craigslist

I sell mostly on Craigslist because it is easy, there is no shipping, no waiting for money to be sent and it’s free!  Here is my Guide to Selling on Craigslist.

What to sell?

Start with things that you have around your house.  My family says that I will sell anything that isn’t nailed down!  Ok, they’re right.  We all usually have excess stuff in our house and don’t miss it when it’s gone.

If you go to garage sales or thrift stores you can take your smart phone and look at completed items on eBay to see if an item is selling and for how much. Here is my list of best selling items that I always look for at sales.

Things sell that you wouldn’t even think would sell.  My family always wonders who would buy some of the stuff I sell, but they do.  If in doubt, try it, it’s free.  You have nothing to lose.

animal2 My Guide to Selling on CraigslistListing Your Item

The key to a good listing is to have great pictures!  You may have 8, so take advantage of that with sharp, close-up pictures. Crop them if need be, so they are only of the object, and not a lot of background.

Have a detailed accurate description.  Don’t bore them with a really long description, but make sure everything they need to know is in there.  Include the condition, whether, new, gently used, sealed, size, etc.

DO NOT USE ALL CAPS IN THE TITLE!!!  I usually decorate my title a little with <<< surrounding the title >>>  or add some spaces at the beginning so it isn’t all the way left.  Capitalize an important word or two, but that’s all.  Make sure you put your city and state in the “specific location” box.  Many people search for someone local.

Have something common in all your ads such as a name or phone number.  You can tell people at the bottom of your listing to search that word to see all the items that you have for sale.


I do a search on Craigslist and see if there is another one of what I’m selling.  If the condition is the same, I might go just a little bit less.  If there isn’t one, then I search on eBay to see if the item has sold and for what price.  I then price it at least 10% less since I will have no fees to pay.


I accept cash only!  Do not accept checks or money orders.  Many money orders are fake and you won’t know it until weeks later when the bank takes the money back out of your account.  If I do choose to ship something, I have them pay with PayPal, or send a check, but I don’t ship anything until the check clears.

Do not hold anything for anyone.  I can’t tell you the amount of times people promised to get it when the paycheck comes, etc. and then I never hear from them again.  In the meantime, others have wanted to buy it.  First person with cash gets to buy it! 

My Item Isn’t Selling!

People tell me all the time that their item just isn’t selling.  First thing I ask is if they have been renewing every time Craigslist lets them.  If you have an account, and I suggest you do, there is a Renew button that will be available every couple days, and you need to renew it right away.  If not your item is buried in the list and probably not being seen by anyone. 

If you are renewing it and it’s not selling, then the price is probably too high.  Lower the price some and see if you get more bites.  I would rather take less and get it out, then to hold on to it for a little more.

If it still isn’t selling check your pictures to make sure they are clear and that your description is accurate. 

Meeting the Buyer

 I don’t usually have people come to my home.  I meet them at a gas station or other public place.  A really good place is in a police station parking lot. Just be careful, take someone with you if need be, and watch all around you.

One Last Thought

Many times when my items aren’t selling I keep them listed and keep renewing.  After a couple months, the listing shows up on Google or other search engines.  I always know when this happens because people from other states will begin contacting me.  I am happy to ship to them and do all the time.

Happy Selling!

lisa My Guide to Selling on Craigslist

UPDATE:  Since writing this guide, I have changed the way people inquire about an item.  To eliminate many of the email scams, I only list my phone number and ask them to call or text me.  I am good at knowing the scams, and yet it was getting hard to tell what were real questions and what was being asked to get my email.  Serious buyers don’t mind using the phone.

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  1. Great article, I didn’t know about the Renew button, or that eventually they got on Google. Started following you on Pinterest, maybe for more good ideas.
    Shared on Facebook.

    • Hi John, I’m glad you were able to learn something from it. Many people don’t know about the renew button! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Lisa- I am in the position of trying to convince my husband it is possible for us to make some income this way and this article goes a long way to quantifying how to do it. Thank you for giving us a step up. And I, too, am now following you on Pinterest!

    • You can absolutely make income provided you have stuff to sell. I go to garage sales at least two times a week. Most people have enough in their house to start! It’s fun, and a great way to make extra money.

  3. I usually take my german shepherd in my car when I meet craigslist people.

    • That would work to deter people :)

  4. Lisa, where is the renew located on craigslist? Thanks for your article.

    • Create and account (free) and then when you go to it you will see everything you have posted. Active listings will have edit/delete next to them and every couple days it will say renew. Just hit the button and go through the steps to relist it. It keeps your pictures!

  5. That’s a great piece… The items usually appear on google after a few days, based on my experience in 4-5 days I can search one of my items on google and find it.


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