The majority of the furniture in my home is from Craigslist. I have been lucky to find original pieces that no one else has, although there are myriad options for every last thing you can think of!
I have had many inquiries from my blog friends as to how I come upon so many interesting finds on Craigslist. Today, I am going to tell you what I know!
If you are patient and knowledgeable you can find anything. I promise!
Let's start with the basics, for those of you who have never used Craigslist. Most large cities have a very active Craigslist.
Click on all the highlighted links in the preceding paragraphs to see just a few of my unique Craigslist finds!
Here, you will find a typical page layout. Note that the United States states and cities, as well as Craigslist Worldwide are available options. I am not sure if all the pages are similar. They most likely are.
Click on the state in which you live, then the closest nearby city.
On the left you will see a search box above the calendar. Enter the item you are looking for then press search.
Click on "Show Images". That way you don't have to click on each post to see the item. If you hover your mouse over the photo it will become a bit larger. This photo was found on pinterest.
Lots of options! I will tell you how I use it. I put the item I am looking for in the search box from the first page then I click on "title only" and "has image", otherwise you will be looking at posts that have your search word in their details and it rarely turns out to be what you are looking for. I also look in "all for sale/wanted". You have the option of looking in separate categories such as "furniture" or "antiques", "farm and garden", etc.
Sometimes I merely scroll through the "antique" section" or the "farm and garden". If you do this every morning and evening it will only take about ten minutes. You will only be looking at the newest posts.
Once you are familiar with the layout you can begin searching for items that may interest you.
Here are the search terms I use regularly, along with the various spellings I have seen! Unlike ebay, Craigslist does not automatically search for multiples unless you specifically request. Nor does it suggest correct spellings. If you want chairs, do not search for chair. However, sometimes people post it as "chair set". Many people simply do not know what they have, so it pays to browse. Remember my Duck Chairs? Or Gracie's Dollhouse (doll house)?
Chest of Drawers
Familiar names too...
Be aware of colloquialisms, as well. One man's commode is another man's toilet!
If you want a mirror but don't want to see, say, a bar mirror you can type in a minus sign before the word bar, it deletes it from the search!
Or a gate, but not a child safety gate?
If you know precisely what you want, surround the words in quotation marks:
"English Revival Secretary"
You will get results only for those terms only in that order.
Either/or... For example, you want a chair either Regency or Empire style, you would post is thusly:
Chair Regency | Empire
The "| "symbol is shift backslash. It is called the pipe key.
Have new listings sent to your RSS feed every time they’re posted. Just type in your search, and on the search results page, click on the orange “RSS” button on the bottom and add it to your RSS feed.
You get the idea! I have been very successful with these search terms! I even found a free leather sofa, which I stripped the upholstery off in a Chicago alley to use for my louis chairs in the Breakfast Room! Have you seen the cost of leather? Environmentally friendly too! (Unless you were the cow).
I swear to Santa I have seen this one more than once...
Chip and Dale Furniture
Once you find an item you like, click on the link and it will take you to a page that looks like this. If you are still interested, click on the "reply to this post" link. It will give you several options to send an email.
I usually write:
If the side table is still available could you please call me at (888)777)6666? I am interested in the table and can come immediately!
I always identify the piece I am interested in so they don't assume it is spam. There are a horrendous amount of scammers on Craigslist!
When they respond I discuss the different aspects of the piece and, if I deem appropriate, I ask them if they would be willing to take X amount? Normally, I do not dicker. Most of the time I know I am getting a deal and I just don't want to insult anyone. Please be sure to discuss the price in advance. People have told me stories about how buyers tried to give them $20 for a $200 item as they were carrying it to their car!
Most of the furniture I bought fit into my Toyota Matrix! I have not been paid for this endorsement!
Don't be afraid to go on an adventure! I also look at the Craigslist listings in Wisconsin (two hours away), the Quad Cities (two hours away) and St. Louis (four hours away)! St. Louis always seems to have more authentic French items, whereas Chicago has a lot of Mid Century Modern and Wisconsin has lots of architectural salvage. I found my Christ Corpus Statue, from an old Catholic church there!
Since we home school we can incorporate the trip into our curriculum!
If you decide you want the item, set a time to meet the seller. Always bring exact change and be on time. Since I am located about an hour from the city or the Northern Suburbs, where my treasures are usually found, I offer to call them as I am leaving. That way, they know I am really coming and do not sell the item to someone else. Even so, I called a man after I rented a van for a large piece and told him I was on the way. He sold the furniture to someone else in the 45 minutes it took me to get there!
Make sure someone knows where you are going, if you are going alone! Leave the address on the table at home. Mention to the seller that you are leaving as soon as you tell your husband (bodyguard, Russian Strongman, etc.) where you are going. That way they know they will be caught if they are up to no good! I have never had a problem but safety can sometimes be an issue on Craigslist. All transactions are cash only. That can attract the criminal element. Don't take chances. There is no bargain in the world that is worth your life! I always slip the fact that my husband is a police officer into casual conversation! Then I might mention that my husband joked I should bring my gun, just in case! *nyuk nyuk* Not awkward at all! But, hey! I'm still kickin'!
Also check to see if there will be someone there to help lift if the item is heavy. If the item is small you can suggest meeting at a public place such as a gas station. Why a gas station as opposed to, say, the mall? Because the attendants are usually paying attention to the parking lot, unlike a large mall parking lot where people generally do not "see" you.
If I am interested in a piece I have several rules. First, I have to sell some of my own things to pay for it. That way I stay married and I don't have way more than I need. Not to say I don't have too much! LOL!
The neighborhood kids all think we are rich! LOL! I have saved thousands upon thousands of dollars shopping on Craigslist! I will wager that I spent less on a my antiques and one -of -a -kinds than people typically spend at Ikea on disposable furniture!
Don't forget to look in the "free" section. You will be amazed by what people give away!
Soon you will be Craigslisting like a professional! It has all the convenience of online shopping with zero shipping charges and no wait!
Selling on Craigslist will be another tutorial for another day!
I have met so many wonderful people on Craigslist! Some have even become friends!
If you have questions, I would be happy to answer in the reply section! I am sure I missed something or other!
I am participating in
From My Front Porch to Yours, Treasure Hunt Thursday
No Minimalist Here, Open House Party
The Thrifty Groove, Thrifty Things Friday
Thankyou so much for this great tutorial. Thanks to you I too started shopping from craigslist and found unique pieces which no one else has or knows where to get. Your blog has been very inspirational to me.ReplyDelete
Andie fantastic article.. I love your passion to travel so far for things that you want!Delete
Those are fantastic tips, Andie. I wish there would have been a Craigslist when I was a newlywed and we had to save up to buy anything.ReplyDelete
Thanks for all the wonderful tips. I use craig's but this will help me a lot...ReplyDelete
Fantastic blog...I love seeing all your wonderful crazy ideas!
I've been using craigslist for years but your pointers have helped me find a few shortcuts -some stuff I never realized! Love the compiled list of search terms. I'm printing this out for reference.ReplyDelete
"Show images" might have just changed my life,LOL! Why did I not ever notice that? Thanks a bunch!!!ReplyDelete
Andie - you know some of us aren't that far from you. We'd appreciate a heads up as you re-sell on Craigslist! (looking for a desk in particular)ReplyDelete
Thank you for the tutorial and the inspiration. You have such energy and drive.
Oh - looking through the links it reminded me that you planted lavender last year. How did it work out? I'd love to try it but the things I've read from others in Illinois haven't been encouraging. I'd take your word over any of them though.
Cris (just up the road from you)
Cris! It has been a while! Hoping you are well!Delete
My lavender did so well this year. I actually had TWO harvests! I dug a pit with a drainage pipe, filled the bottom 12 inches or so with large stones, then soil. Lavender hates clay soil (like we have here in IL). I watered it every seven days this Summer, due to the drought, but normally it does not need water. Water promotes fungus and root rot.
Let me know if you have any questions!
And by road, I meant the 55.ReplyDelete
If you lived near me we could be friends and play together with Chip and Dale!ReplyDelete
I've been shopping - and selling - on craigslist for yeats, but have learned some things here that I didn't know! Thanks for the great info. Wish we had more neat French stuff listed here in Dallas.ReplyDelete
My Dear QL Queen, Where I live one has to drive for hours to find something on the list. I know you have had great success. Richard now, Santa wants your address so he can send a little something, something to you in the mail. Thanks I hope I get it soon so it will not be late. Love and Sissy Dog Kisses. Richard from My Old Historic House.ReplyDelete
Thank you so much for your tutorial and sharing what you have learned along the way. What a big help that will be! BTW, I'm not really Anonymous, my name is Mary, I don't have a blog but I love seeing what others are doing. Again, thanks!ReplyDelete
Ahah! I was hoping I would find this tutorial from you Andie!! xox Made my day, I will try some of your tips when I get the chance and see what the results are, so thank you darling~you are the best!ReplyDelete
Andie, A large portion of our furniture and decor came from Craigslist. I also have many pieces purchased at auction and thrift stores but CL is still my favorite. You have found some amazing pieces and I appreciate the tips. Thank you for linking to the Open House party.ReplyDelete
Absolutely EXCELLENT tutorial for Craigslist Andie! Troy and I are huge Craiglist seekers as well. We have built out DTL business trailer from free finds on Craigslist. As well as a lot of other freebies and bargains. But, this tutorial taught me even more. Your are the Queen of Craigslist and I bow to your expert talent! thank you so much for sharing these great tips at TTF. Have an awesome day! (I have already c/p this into one fo my files!)ReplyDelete
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You have some great tips here ... thanks for sharing. I have used Craigslist for years as a seller & I learned some new things here. I noticed how many misspelled listings there are while performing searches on Craigslist to gather pricing info for my own listings ... your list of misspellings is genius.ReplyDelete
Andie thank you so much! What words would you use for Bamboo/ Chinoiserie. I always have heard if you mention a certain known name the seller will know what it is and price it up!ReplyDelete
Art by Karena
Thanks Andie. Great tips. Off to CL.ReplyDelete
Here we are much later and i still don't know what an RSS feed it, though I think I downloaded one once from an app site but didn't know what to do with it. I paint furniture better than I compute(r). But I don't think anyone has mentioned that often transactions can be carried out in the parking lot of the police station. Near here, the police spread the word in the newspaper,but i doubt if the cops would run anyone off who is handing over money in their lot w/o asking permission to trade there. But it's over a year later than the last comment and maybe everyone does this now? Just shows how perennial are your posts!!!! XXX MJReplyDelete