Your Craigslist Questions Answered and How to Use TaskRabbit

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Pictured: A lucite console I scored on Craigslist for $25, and a framed Minted picture and set of x-benches I also purchased via CL.

The other day I put out a little call for questions regarding Craigslist/thrifting and wanted to answer them on here! Thank you to everyone who submitted, and as always, feel free to message me on Instagram or email me if you have further q’s!

Let’s get started, shall we?

These two questions were pretty similar, so I’m including them together:

How do you search on Craigslist–for a particular item, or by browsing until you find what you like? What are your Craigslist search terms? 

This probably isn’t the most popular approach, but I usually browse until I find what I like. This obviously takes a little more time, but I like seeing everything that’s out there–although I’ll admit that this sometimes alerts me to things I didn’t really need! However, people often label an item in the most simple way possible–for example, a lucite table could just be called “clear table” or “coffee table,” and it wouldn’t pop up using more sophisticated search terms. That said, it’s always possible to miss new postings even when scrolling through all the way, so I do frequently run searches using terms like “bamboo,” “campaign,” and “rattan”–those are definitely my favorites! So I guess my answer would really be that if you want to cover your bases, do both! A lot of other sites will tell you to use keywords to find higher quality items, but that said, people using phrases like “chinoiserie” or “Hollywood Regency” often know what they have and may price their pieces a bit higher, though this is not always the case.

The visually awesome but super challenging to maneuver spiral staircase!
The visually awesome but super challenging to maneuver spiral staircase!

Please tell me all the things about TaskRabbit and picking items up in a city! 

I could seriously write a whole post in response to this answer (and have thought about it!) but will try to answer this somewhat succinctly here. Since I don’t have a car or a live-in, professional mover-sized helper (haha), moving furniture in and out of my apartment has certainly been a struggle (especially in my current apartment, with its two flights of stairs to get up to our unit and the spiral staircase up to my room! So be relieved, because I promise that almost any of your situations will be far easier to deal with than mine, and I’ve still managed to make it work most of the time!). Due to that staircase, I’ve had to become a little more selective with what I purchase, but honestly not much so thanks to TaskRabbit.

The way TaskRabbit works is pretty simple. You download the app, select the task you have in mind, and fill out a brief description of what it entails, as well as your ideal timing for someone to come help you. Once you submit this information, you’re presented with a list of helpers who are available at your selected time, along with their hourly rates and customer-submitted reviews. You can then scroll through your options (sometimes there are more people available than others) and determine who is the best match for the job. For example, I’m often willing to pay a little more to work with someone who has extremely positive reviews or looks/describes being strong (yes, people have pictures! Haha) or mentions having worked as a professional mover. I also read the reviews before selecting a Tasker–you ultimately are inviting a stranger into your home, and safety is KEY. I’ve hired several people to lift/move furniture, drill holes into the wall, etc, and have never felt unsafe working with someone, but I feel like I have to put this out there as a disclaimer! Another disclaimer: there have been several instances where I’ve had to help the TaskRabbit–not with things like drilling, of course, but definitely with lifting. I’ve always been fine doing this since I’m fairly able to lift things and usually just need an extra–but much stronger–pair of hands, and I also know that I live in a pretty challenging building for moving things and am not always putting the Tasker in the most fair situation. But because of this, if you’re injured or uncomfortable helping, you may want to hire two Taskers at the same time, which I believe you can do!

I’d say in general, rates range from about $30-$100 per hour. I’ve never needed a Tasker for more than an hour, even when they’ve gone along to help me pick up an item (you can indicate that you need a car/SUV for the job, and this is super useful if you don’t have a car of your own and don’t want to coordinate with an Uber and a Tasker). But generally, I use Uber for CL pickups. I know it isn’t necessarily ideal because Uber drivers obviously aren’t signing up to also be professional movers, but politeness goes a long way, and I’ve never had an issue besides someone telling me that their car just is too small to fit an item. (Speaking of miracle Uber drivers–I recently had an Uber driver who not only helped me transport a dresser, but also helped carry it and the drawers into the car, sat on the corner with me for five minutes while we waited to the rain to pass, offered me an umbrella, and then carried the furniture pieces to my front door–needless to say, he got a tip!). Don’t want to spend extra $ to bring your item home? I’m a pretty cheap person when it comes to Uber (I almost always pool or express pool), so I usually try to fit smaller items into the trunk of a pool and only call my own car or an XL if an item is very large, like a dresser or set of chairs. You can definitely make the process pretty affordable!

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What is your number one tip when it comes to Craigslist ettiquette? 

Definitely to be punctual. I posted a bit of a rant about this on Stories the other day after dealing with a seller who was an hour and a half later than she said she would be, in the morning, before work, after I had woken up over an hour early for her…gah! (And I eventually got messages from other people with similar horror stories–one person told me about someone who came over, sat in a $25 chair for 20 minutes, and then decided it just “wasn’t for him.” I am a firm believer in respecting other people’s time and schedules (and even more so when someone is cutting you a deal price-wise). If you say you’ll be there at 7, don’t be any later than 7:10 (especially if the person has made it clear they have somewhere they need to be). Also, if someone gives you a window of time to drop by, don’t wait to arrive until the very last minute. A few weekends ago I told someone they could stop by between 3:30 and 5:30, and they didn’t give me a clear indication of when they would arrive before eventually texting me around 5 that they were on the way. They ended up not arriving until 5:35 (thankfully I didn’t really have somewhere super important I needed to be at that moment, I more just wanted to get on with my afternoon and run some errands–I usually am pretty on the go on the weekends and am rarely just at home for an extended period of time), which was super frustrating! I could go on and on about this, but the moral of the story is to be on time, especially when the seller has made it clear that they are accommodating you!

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3 Comments

  1. Hi Sarah,
    Have you ever used Task Rabbit to hang pictures? I moved into a new place in April but I haven’t hung anything on the walls yet because my walls are made of concrete and using a hammer drill terrifies me.

    1. Hi! I personally haven’t, but I know they do those things–I’m lucky to have normal walls and just hang things on my own, but I bet they could help you!

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