Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Tips for Navigating Craigslist

After a disappointing morning in an attempt to get a Craigslist find yesterday, I thought it would be a good idea to share my story and give some helpful hints that I have learned along the way. I traveled an hour to get what I believed was the perfect entry table for my home. When I finally arrived and saw the item, it was not the correct size and was extremely wobbly. The owner was not there and I had to negotiate with the room mate. Since I was already there, I offered way below what she was asking. The room mate called the owner and the owner said no, so I left. I understand you always have to see a piece in person, but if she had been upfront with me and said the demilune table was wobbly and given the correct size, then I would have saved my time.

So here is my updated checklist:

1. Ask as many questions as you can think of before picking it up, especially if they are not close by. Examples:

  • Is this item sturdy? 
  • Does it come from a smoke-free and if you have allergies pet-free home? 
  • How old is it and does it need any repair? 
  • Has it been in storage for a long time? 
  • Are there any defects?
  • If it is an upholstered item and you don't want to re-upholster, then ask...Could you send me a close-up of the fabric?
  • I ask this every time...Has it been sprayed with a stain repellent? (but that may not be important to you)
  • Ask if they could send the exact dimensions?  
2. If they are far, then it never hurts to ask if they can meet you half way.

3. Don't have some one else pick up the item before you have a chance to see it. My father picked up a chair for me and it was not at all what I was expecting, so it is best to see it for yourself. 

4. It never hurts to ask if the seller will accept less for the item. I am on a tight budget and most sellers are understanding because they just want to get rid of the item to free up their home. But, remember to ask politely and state your case. 

5. Don't feel obligated to buy it if you are in front of the seller. My friend ended up with a kitchen table and 4 chairs that she has never liked.

6. If you are not handy, nor have the time and the item needs a lot of work, then don't get it and think some day you will get to it. 

7. Be positive and be friendly!!!! I always approach my inquiries with  kindness. I was selling a really expensive door (it came with my home) a year ago and the woman that was inquiring about it was so rude and abrupt that I was uncomfortable having her come to my home, so she missed out on a deal and I ended up giving it away to my super friendly contractor.

But alas all's well that ends well!! At the end of the day I did get an incredible deal on CL and with the help of a good friend and my son (he provided entertainment in the way of holiday Carols). With lots of laughs on the way I got these beauties (which my friend who reads my blog asked me right away..."so what color are you going to paint them?"...heehee)...

image 2107545007-0
Image from the CL posting

image 2107545007-2        
Image from the CL posting

And the color is going to be...


It is going in my family room to store my sons mountain of Lego's and the room is already painted fun sunshine yellow...don't worry I will show the before and after asap!!

I have been navigating Craigslist for many years and have gotten many lovely items from it and plan to get many more. Hope my tips have been helpful and good luck!


  1. Love it and great CL find!! I go back and forth on CL-- sometimes I keep up with the furniture postings and sometimes I do not...since it is so unpredictable here in Nashville-- but what a great source to go to! Take care, Caroline

  2. Danielle,
    This is truly great advice!!! Small tables in general are prone to the wobbles and the storage question and smoking questions are critical...musty, smokey odors are impossbile to ever completely eliminate!

    Can't wait to see the after!

  3. great post Danielle, and I love your plans for that dresser. You are a craigslist genius!

  4. Great CL shopping tips and a fabuous find!
    Love the clothes you picked out for the lucky little girl too!


  5. Great advice! I may also add that going alone to a random person's house (or vice versa if you are selling something) is sometimes not the wisest move. My friend had a scary experience once when she went to look at a mirror she found on Craigslist. Most people are nice and friendly but it's a good thing to be cautious. Bring a friend along for the ride!

  6. Thanks Londen...can't wait to paint it!

    Alison..so true and am sorry to hear your friend had a bad experience. Safety is so important to me and I did a post on it awhile ago..here it is: http://freshquince.blogspot.com/2010/10/craigslist-safety.html