The Step-By-Step Guide to Selling Your Crap on Craigslist

Hopefully business doesn’t suck but that you just want to get rid of your crap!

I wrote a post called The Step-By-Step Guide to Selling Your Crap on Amazon just recently and I wanted to add a guide for selling your crap on Craigslist since that’s a popular and often sought after venue for selling/buying stuff. You choose where you want to sell your stuff. You can do one or the other, or you could do both!

The reasons why I am sharing with you these Amazon and Craigslist Step-By-Step Guides are:

1. It works. Once you learn how to set up your account, list new postings for sale, and monitor your sales, it’s easy to get rid of A LOT of stuff while getting some side cash, instead of simply donating/trashing the items.

2. A few friends and relatives have inquired about how I got rid of my stuff by selling them via Amazon and Craigslist. I thought it pertinent to provide two separate guides since they do operate a little bit differently. Originally I was going to combine the two but then realized after writing the Amazon guide, a separate post would be necessary! If I get more than one request/question of similar nature from readers/friends, I will most likely devote an entire post or two to such request/question, but of course, at my discretion. I won’t talk about how to properly groom your dog and cat because that’s just not relevant to Castles in the Air! eBay is also a very popular and great selling agent, but since I am not an expert in eBay selling, I’ll leave it up to those who are. Random fact: did you know they have an eBay University (company-sponsored) that travels from state-to-state providing in-class training on how to become a better eBay seller? It’s true! This is a very in-depth online tool to seriously sustain yourself completely by auctioning off stuff on eBay. Buy at lower cost, sell at higher rate. Keep the difference as profit.

3. Providing valuable and useful content is so much more gratifying than not. That is what I believe I’m doing at Castles in the Air, and that is also why you come back to read more (and thank you for that!).

Ready to get rid of your crap on Craigslist? Let’s do it!!

The Step-By-Step Guide to Selling Your Crap on Craigslist

Step 1. Whatever country/state/city you reside in, you’re bound to find a locale that’s closest to you. Go to and on the right hand side, you’ll find a listing of nearby cities, US states, and countries. If you’re in the San Francisco Bay area, your direct link would be If you are in the Chicago area, your direct link would be Select your appropriate city/locale now.

Step 2. In the middle of the page, you’ll see a column that says “For Sale.” These for sale items are then broken down by category, such as Appliances, Bikes, Books, Computer, Furniture, Jewelry, Video Gaming, etc. Click on whichever category your item belongs in that you want to sell. For example, if you are trying to sell your coffee table, you would first select “furniture.” For demonstrative purposes, I will be using the coffee table as the example.

Step 3. Now you’ll see all the current postings under “furniture” beginning with today’s date and most recent posting. You’ll see different titles of the posted item, such as “BRAND NEW Regal Champagne LOVESEAT $300″ or “2 black IKEA tables $40.”

Step 4. On the upper right corner of the page, click on the link that says “Post.” That’s where you’ll begin to post your item for sale.

Step 5. Please choose a category. For this purpose, we’ll select “furniture – by owner.” Note that there is also a category called “furniture – by dealer.” Unless you are a furniture dealer or manufacturer, please do not select this category!

Step 6. Now choose the area nearest you. If you are in the city of Chicago, you’ll select “city of chicago.” If you are in the Northwest suburbs, you’ll select “northwest suburbs.” Yes, it is that straight forward. Yay!

Step 7. Now you’ll come to the page where you’ll list your actual item. NOTE: Your posting will expire from Craigslist in 7 days. That’s how they keep their site to the bare bones (though it may look a bit stuffy at first) and have only the most active and recent postings listed.

Step 8. Under “Posting Title,” type in a descriptive phrase for what you are trying to sell. For instance, “Set of 3 World Market Nesting Coffee Tables $60.” Even though you’ll add the price in the “Price” field box, it’s still a good idea to include it in the title for more description. Do not write a title that is vague! So nothing like, “Coffee Tables.” You want potential buyers to click on your post. If they don’t ever click, they won’t ever buy.

Step 9. Type in your price you’re listing the item for under “Price.” Remember that people on Craigslist are there because they want something for ridiculously cheap and/or free. So nothing extravagant here! Be reasonable and if you really want, list it for $10 more than what you’d actually settle for. This way, when buyers bargain with you (yes, they will ask for less than what you’ve listed, it’s like a free open market here, not dissimilar to the markets of Asia), you can have a little room to negotiate and still leave with a satisfied amount. However, if you’re looking for a lot of money for your used item, that will be extremely difficult to do given that used items depreciate almost instantly once it’s opened or used. Cars are a great example of that.

Step 10. Under “Specific Location,” type in your exact city/neighborhood you are in. If you are in the city of Chicago and reside in the Uptown neighborhood, you would type in Uptown since your general area/city has already been denoted.

Step 11. Under “Reply to:” you have 3 options:

  1. You use your actual e-mail address that others will see;
  2. You completely hide it by selecting “hide” button; or
  3. You anonymize your e-mail to show as some arbitrary e-mail address by selecting the “anonymize” button. You’ll still need to enter your e-mail address and re-type it for confirmation, but that’s because Craigslist will need some sort of address to send buyers’ inquiries to. It won’t be listed publicly, if you have chosen this option.

What have I done? I used option 3. Interested buyers will still reply to your posting but not as a direct e-mail. You’ll still get their e-mail, it’s just that your e-mail address won’t be out there for the city to see. But keep in mind, once buyers respond to your posting and it sends to your inbox, you’ll have to reply from there, thereby revealing your e-mail address anyway. I’ve never had a problem with spammers of all my items I’ve listed on Craigslist, so option 3 is still a good bet.

Step 12. Under “Posting Description,” be as descriptive as possible! Include dimensions, like height, weight (if known), length, and width. Also include approximate age of the item. So if your coffee table is 2 years old, say it’s 2 years old. If you don’t remember, approximate it (e.g., around 3 years old). Buyers like newer items so keep that in mind. That doesn’t mean you flat out lie on your posting and say it’s barely used when it’s apparent your demonic cat has scratched the hell out of the table. :P

Include where the item is from, as in where it was bought at. This is where you also indicate whether or not you want the buyer to “pick up” at your location (e.g. your home) only or if you’d rather determine an appropriate public setting to meet at to exchange cash for goods (not drugs, I hope?). In my experiences, I’ve indicated pick up only, due to the furniture being awkward for me to carry down the apartment building and into my Honda Fit. It just doesn’t work! If you are a single female (which I am, though the Black belt in karate does help a little), it might not be a great idea to do this if you don’t feel comfortable/safe with it. Have a few friends over at the time of pick up, if you’d like. In the end, choose to be smart and savvy and don’t do anything questionable that might get you into some trouble.

This is also where you indicate CASH ONLY. It’s never a good idea to accept others’ cashier’s checks or other forms of payment in person because there’s more chance of that being counterfeit. That’s not to say cash is never counterfeit, but there’s less of a chance. Cash is also liquid. It moves about easily. No fuss, no hassles.

Step 13. Now add some images by clicking on the “Add/Edit Images” button. Why? Because people like pictures! It’s a proven fact that with a picture or two, it draws more people in to click on your posting, read whatever you have to say, look at your pictures, just because they’re curious creatures. Why else do you think popular blogs have a photo accompanying each blog post? ;) We like pictures, too!

Step 14. Now click “Continue.” You’ll be taken to a page where you can review what you’ve written. After you are satisfied with the posting, click “Continue” again. Your posting should be live on Craigslist now!

Congratulations! You are now a Craigslist seller!

4 Benefits of Using Craigslist

1. You don’t need to apply for an account, unlike Amazon or eBay. It’s great for one-time deals or if you’re moving across country from NYC to Seattle and you just need to get rid of your bed, now!

2. You can keep all the profits, unlike Amazon or eBay, where a cut will be taken from your earnings because you are using their online site. Of course, “cash only” is a major reason why you can keep all the profits.

3. You decide where/when to do this, whether it’s a pick up only or meet at a nearby locale. So if that’s 9 p.m. at night because that’s the only time you and the buyer can meet, then so be it. It’s flexible.

4. Postings expire after 7 days, meaning you’ll know right away if you haven’t received any responses in a week, to probably lower your cost (oftentimes the reason why no one would respond). You should have already added pictures to your post to attract more buyers. If you need to know why again, go back to Step 13.

3 Downsides of Using Craigslist

1. Because buyer/seller transactions are solely up to the involved parties, things can get harried if one is not careful and using common sense (remember that old adage that says common sense is oftentimes not common?). You’ve seen the headlines and stories of Craigslist murders (such as Philip Markoff, the SUNY-Albany student who slayed aspiring model Julissa Brisman) and other happenings. But remember, you’re not posting in the adult services or adult gigs so things should be more straight forward! I haven’t encountered any problems posting in regular “For Sale” sections.

2. Although the site is supposedly more censored now to prevent tragic instances from happening, it is still open to a lot of creeps and weirdos who are looking to take advantage of others. Just be careful. Predators are not just in the physical, they are also very much online.

3. Postings expire after 7 days. Note that this is also benefit #4. The time constraint is a good and bad thing. In this case, it’s not as good since after a week of not hearing from anyone, you’d have to re-post your item again. Save a copy of your posting so you can just copy/paste should you need to re-post it again. If, after a few times of re-posting and you’re still not getting any responses even after lowering your price dramatically, it may very well be that people do not have a need for this particular item in this particular place. At that time, do what you will with it by either giving it away, listing it for free under the “Free” category, or putting it curbside where others are bound to pick it up and take it home as their newfound treasure. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. I’ve done it before! I had found a pair of 8-lb. dumbbells in the trash receptacle waiting to be tossed but since that’s a pretty good weight for me, I took them.

To give you an idea of what I’ve used Craigslist for:


I sold all my furniture here, indicated pick up at my location and cash only:

  • World Market set of 3 nesting tables
  • World Market bookcase
  • World Market futon
  • IKEA dining table with 4 chairs


I’ve found paid research studies/surveys under the “Jobs” column and then the “ETC” category. The etcetera category includes random stuff, like dog walking, paid research studies, Jewish or Asian egg donors needed (yeah, you’ll see a lot of that!), etc. You’ll find some funky stuff for sure, but I have found some nice paid studies, some for $50 cash, some for over $100 cash. This is a great side gig to do if you are in need for some extra cash or in between jobs and just need to have something in your pocket. These paid studies are usually through a professional research organization or at a local college/university. I’ve done studies for both and got paid pretty quickly thereafter or on the spot in cash.


With the help of a friend, I’ve also found my current housing situation through using Craigslist, under “Housing” column and then “Apts / Housing” or “Rooms / Shared.” Now, I just rent a room, living with 2 other roommates, in a house owned by the landlord. We share the kitchen, bathroom, and general rooms, but we each have our own bedroom. Rent including utilities per month for me is $520 right now. Sweet!


When I was in between jobs and doing my search online (late 2009), I did use Craigslist a few times to see if there’d be anything open there. Because it’s free to use and to post, you don’t see a lot of big-name companies using this site. Those companies typically go through more traditional or mainstream sources of finding candidates, such as Monster or CareerBuilder, through their own recruiting portal, or at the local job/career fair. What you may find, however, are the smaller start-up companies, which have jobs just as good as those jobs at larger companies. I’ve had a few interviews and job offers after doing my search on Craigslist under the “Jobs” column and selecting my job category I’m interested in. This was all pretty recent, too. Just within the last year. Though I ended up going with a company that my friend referred me to (where I currently work at), I have found success on Craigslist for potential job opportunities.

If these Amazon and Craigslist Step-By-Step Guides have helped you in some way, please spread the love! Thank you for reading and here’s to much success in selling your crap and having an awesome life!

All the very best,

Nina | Castles in the Air

  • Matt Madeiro

    Great post, Nina! I'm in the process of selling off video gaming things, but so far Craiglist hasn't come through for me. I might need to study that Amazon guide instead. :)

    In any case, kudos for breaking down the Craiglist process so easily and neatly. I have a few friends who've never ventured to try it (no doubt due to the problems you mentioned!), but this should ease their minds quite a bit.

  • Nina | Castles in the Air

    Awesome, glad to be of help, Matt!!

  • Claudia

    I came here after really enjoying your post on Miss minimalist's blog. I was hoping to learn something new about selling on Craig's List, but really, CL is so simple you can be a first timer and go directly to their site and post something; special instructions aren't really needed.

  • Nina | Castles in the Air

    Good point, Claudia.

    However, there are many folks out there, despite having a website be as simple and straight forward, that will still get confused if they do not have a guide or step-by-step instructions. I've actually had a few of my relatives (older) asking how to post on CL. In addition, a few general pointers and specific tips here and there will make the post more “attractive,” so to speak.

    This guide was meant for those who may never has used CL before, or are just not as savvy as you and I. :) Thanks for reading!

  • tokyin

    “or putting it curbside where others are bound to pick it up and take it home as their newfound treasure. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure…”

    Hmmm, this sounds very very familiar to me…… oh yeah! It happened in my dream! Few weeks ago, 8/1, in my 2nd layer of dream! Now I remember!!!!! Afterwards I got kicked in the stomach, choked out some $$$, then woke up – back to my first layer of dream!

    Anyway, very detail post, a great guide. =)

  • Nina | Castles in the Air

    Glad you enjoyed the post!

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