When you decide to get rid of your furniture, you have a lot of options. Craigslist is one of the most tried-and-true methods of getting rid of stuff, especially if you want money in exchange. So, when you start to put your stuff on Craigslist for sale, how do you get started on the right foot? (Note: these guidelines work for LetGo, OfferUp, and Facebook as well!)
A lot of people will share vague tips, like “take good pictures” and “use good lighting.” They’ll say “write a detailed post.” They’ll tell you to “price it correctly,” and “be patient.” And while those things are true and somewhat helpful, what do they actually mean? How do you know what’s a good picture? What is the correct price? What details? HOW do you sell your furniture on Craigslist?
If you’re reading this, you’re already off to a good start. No, not because I’m an expert, but because that means you’re already committed to the idea of getting rid of furniture by selling it. That’s half the battle, and it brings me to the first tip:
- Commit to the idea of “you get out what you put in.” When you decide that you’re going to sell something, decide that you will put a little extra oomph into your listing and your communications with people. Plan to take 10-15 pictures of each piece and post a minimum of 6-7 each. Plan to spend a half hour or so researching each piece to find out the right information. You’ll also want another half hour that you can spend writing the post. Be ready to spend a little more time than you would spend simply snapping a pic and posting it.
- Research your product. This may sound really weird because you already own it. What kind of research could you possibly have to do? A surprising amount. That’s something that stumped me when I sold our furniture on Craigslist, LetGo, and OfferUp: many people asked me super-specific questions. And, when I didn’t know, I lost the sale. So, let’s start with the basics. Do you remember what brand it is? How old it is? What it’s made of? Do you know how much it cost originally? Is it still available new? If you do know all of those things and then some, awesome! Go on and write that post (tip 5 includes some pointers for that). But if you don’t, see the picture to the right for some questions to try to answer before you write your post.
- Price your item fairly. But how do you know what’s fair? Sometimes, you can just
put the price its worth to you. How much would you be willing to pay for it? The answer to that can be clouded by the sentimental value it has for you or how much you paid for it, causing you to overprice it. Which, trust me, you don’t want to do, especially not on Craigslist. Conversely, your dislike for it may cause you to price it way too low and lost out on a few (sometimes hundred) bucks. In other words, you may undervalue or overvalue it without a little extra legwork. Check out our little flowchart to help you price it. If you don’t have enough information or that little infographic looks crazy, then take what you paid for it and split it in half. Add a little more if it’s still relatively new and in great condition. Take away a little if it’s old (like just old, not antique or truly vintage), and a lot if it’s all messed up.
- Write a good post. People shop on craigslist for furniture because they are looking for a good deal. They also shop for those special finds that will add the character they need to their homes. But, how are they going to know that what you have is a good deal or a special find if you don’t tell them why it’s a good deal or what’s special about it? In other words, you’ll fare better if you describe your item rather than just naming it. And be honest, because people will figure it out or you’ll feel guilty and put bad karma into the world. Include the details in the infographic above. Use good grammar and punctuation, not because I’m a grammar nazi, but because good grammar and punctuation aid understanding. Hint: Use Grammarly in your browser if you’re not sure!
- Take good pictures. But how?!! Well, I’m no photographer, but I do know that people won’t buy your item if they can’t see it. In my experience, there are three key steps you need to take to prep your item for a good picture. So, the first thing you need to do is make sure your camera isn’t smudged. Get a soft cloth and get the finger prints off. Give it an extra swipe, even if you think it is clean. The second thing you need to do is remove everything else from the picture. A photo of a couch surrounded by clutter does not give the person a good idea of what the couch looks like in everyday life, it distracts them and may even make them think you are lazy. If you’re not a professional stager, it is probably better not to stage it. Lastly, you need to find a way to light up the picture. If you can take a picture near a window on a bright day, do that. If you can face a lamp toward the piece, do that. Putting a white sheet behind the item or beside it to reflect light may also help. Hint: You can also try using the pre-filters on your phone’s camera if it has it. These are the filters you can use while taking the photo.
I hope you found this article helpful. These tips are from personal experience, and I found that they helped me sell everything from leather couches to a footstool I bought in college.
What’s your experience with these methods? Do you have additional pointers? Share them in the comments or contact us!