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Before You Recycle, Reuse—with Craigslist

As I mentioned, we’re cleaning out the office in order to make it a more useful writing/study space. Traditionally, it’s been the dumping ground for old things we didn’t want in the rest of the house—furniture, electronics, books, etc. A lot of this stuff is still useful, just not to us. So we’re selling it on Craigslist.

Craigslist can be so much better than a yard sale (especially if you don’t have a yard), getting the attention of people who specifically want your stuff rather than those who got pulled in by a random pile in your driveway. But it can be a pain, too. Here are some tips I’ve learned over the years.

  • Post on Sunday night/Monday morning. More people are online during the week than the weekend.
  • Include a picture. People are more likely to contact you if they’ve already seen the item.
  • Don’t post in the free section. Even if you sell it for $1, you’re less likely to get inundated with emails and then stood up. I’m not sure if that’s because people find it easier when it’s categorized properly or if people just value things more if they pay for them.
  • Check out how much similar items are selling for. My rule of thumb is that it loses half its value the moment you buy it, because it’s no longer new. Then I go down from there based on age, condition, and demand.
  • Decide ahead of time if you’re going to deliver or haggle. People feel obligated to negotiate with you. Personally, I don’t go for it—I have a small car and I hate haggling.
  • Schedule pickup for a time when you’ll already be home. I’ve gotten stood up so many times that I never stay home specifically to meet someone.
  • Make sure someone’s there with you. I’ve met enough creepy people this way that I always have Jason around when they show up.
  • Don’t remove the listing until after it’s been picked up. Like I said, you get stood up a lot, and Craigslist doesn’t allow you to repost for 3 days.
  • Remember to remove the listing and reply to any queries. Otherwise you’ll be harassed by people who want to know if it’s still available.

Other sites are good, too. We’ve had good luck selling books and video games on Amazon Marketplace or trading them on Paperback Swap, and people selling collectibles seem to like eBay, but Craigslist is good for larger items that you wouldn’t want to ship. It can be kind of a hassle, but it’s a good way for someone to get use out of the things you neglect. They’re happy; you’re happy—it’s a good deal.

Speaking of deals, I still have a few things that haven’t sold yet: a beanbag chair, TIVO, VCR, router, and computer speakers. Let me know if you’re interested.

One year ago: Harvesting Vermicompost.


Comment from Sharon
Time September 7, 2010 at 10:08 pm

YOU ARE GETTING RID OF THE BEANBAG??? Take that off Craigslist right now; that’s Adam’s.

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