How to Crush it on Craigslist: A Q&A

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I’m a fan of Craigslist. A big, big fan. As someone who is super into interior design but has a tight budget, Craigslist has answered a lot of my prayers over the past few years (I even scored the adorable abstract painting pictured above!). While some of my friends do use the site (whether to buy, sell, find roommates, etc), a lot of people I know are totally put off by the idea. And for good reason. You have to feel safe and confident about picking up something from a stranger, first of all. And while I’ll certainly encourage you to use good judgment when buying and selling, I’m not going to get into that here. Instead, I’m going to answer a few questions I’ve gotten about my experience using Craigslist and share a few pieces of advice. (If you google this topic, you’ll find tons and tons of posts devoted to Craigslist tips. I’ve read a bunch of these and agree with a ton of the advice I’ve read, but I figure it doesn’t hurt to share my perspective with y’all).

Q: Who is using Craigslist? (Aka, it’s you and a bunch of old, scattered retirees, right?)

A: Most of the people I’ve bought from on Craigslist actually happen to be young women my age! This may have to do with the pieces I’m interested in buying and the style to which I’m drawn, but also when you think about it, a lot of girls in their 20s are moving around geographically, moving in with a significant other, trying to sell off stuff for extra cash…so it kinda makes perfect sense that they’d be prime Craigslist sellers. I honestly could picture myself being friends with several of the people I’ve met through Craigslist (in a 100 percent non-creepy way).

Q: Why would you buy something on Craigslist when you can just order a similar-looking, similarly-priced item online without the hassle?

A: This is a personal preference. For me, I like the feeling of finding a diamond in the rough and snagging something that’s on-trend but still slightly different than something you can acquire in an online shopping cart. That’s also why I like shopping at places like HomeGoods, thrift stores, etc. I like spotting something cool and slightly less common than what you’d see on the floor at Ikea or West Elm.

That said…

Q: Isn’t everything on Craigslist old and gross?

A: No! Definitely no! Craigslist is full of pieces from stores like West Elm, Anthropologie, Pottery Barn, you name it. Sure, sometimes items aren’t in great condition after years of use, but you can also find practically-new pieces at steep discounts. Not everything on Craigslist looks like it’s a reject from your great aunt’s yard sale.

Other tips from my experience as a buyer and a seller:

-Be polite and grammatically correct in emails. If you sound like you’ll be difficult to communicate with (literally and figuratively), I’ll be less inclined to keep up a correspondence with you.

-Don’t ghost. Seriously. This sucks in the dating world, but when there’s money involved? Ouch! I recently had a woman call me the day before she planned to pick up an item. She seemed enthusiastic, took the initiative to call and confirm her pickup time after we had been emailing a bit, and we agreed that we’d meet the next day. Fast forward 24 hours later to our scheduled rendezvous and…there was no sign of her. Thankfully, I had countless other people interested in the item and was able to sell it quickly, but I was frustrated that I carved time out of my day to meet her and she was a no-show.

-Be creative. If an item looks less than perfect but you’re a good DIY-er, consider ways in which you can spruce it up. If you’re already getting a good deal, you can invest that extra bit ofΒ money into making something simple look great.

Do you agree with these tips? I’d love to hear any that you have to share!

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