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I’ve been making a lot of exterior changes this year, but there’s one change going on with the living room I wanted to let you guys know about:

selling furniture on craigslist
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It’s finally time for new living room furniture. I’ve started by selling off the coffee and side tables last week on Craigslist, and soon the couch will be gone too (I haven’t decided on a camel leather one or a gray MCM style one yet, but once I do, it’s buh-bye couch).

Almost all of the furniture pieces I’ve used in the living room are relics from my apartment-dwelling days, making them some of the oldest things I have in the house (other than my bed in the master bedroom). They aren’t really bad, and it’s not that I hate their look, but you see how the tables have a lip around all four sides? Since adopting a dog that sheds as much as Charlie, it gets really annoying to not be able to cleanly dust these tables off if stray dog hair gets in the corners (and you’re welcome — another glimpse into my glamorous life). ;)

I’d rather build or buy new tables that don’t have this feature. My current favorite is this carved one from West Elm, but since I haven’t built a lot of furniture around the house, I think the challenge could be fun.

carved-wood-coffee-table-west-elm

Anyway, I sold my tables off within just an hour or two, and since I’ve done this a number of times to have a sort of checklist to how I go about it, I thought I’d share some of the tips I tend to use whenever I want to sell furniture or larger items online. Answering questions after the fact is often the most time-consuming part, so that’s my priority: to eliminate wasted time and frustration.

My Checklist for Selling Furniture On Craigslist

  • Include a shot of just the items for sale as the lead-off pic.
  • Let buyers know right away if you’re willing to negotiate — “$50 OBO” (“or best offer”) — or if you aren’t looking to haggle — “$50, price is firm”
  • As for the price itself, I do a quick lookup for what else is already online (check the competition), then set a firm number I’m pretty sure I could sell it for within a few hours. If I am not in a rush to sell, I’ll sometimes increase the price and change it to OBO to see what the demand is.
  • List measurements (so people know if they can fit it into their cars).
  • If I have one available, I’ll include a photo of the item in the room so buyers can visualize both scale and color.
  • If there is damage, I photograph and list it out. This set was already cheap to begin with, and after ten years, several moves, and normal wear and tear, there were some chips and damage I wanted people to know about right away. It can be a deal-breaker, so giving that info upfront helps me eliminate people who would try to show up and then haggle because of condition (no thanks). And because of my DIY background, I sometimes still give advice on what can be done to cover it up (such as using a stain pen).

Other Tips for Selling Items Quickly & Conveniently

  • For whatever reason, taking photos outside and photographing them on my lawn seems to work really well.
  • Give everything a good cleaning before you photograph. I like to do this quickly with a Swiffer duster for dry dust and hair, a Magic Eraser for any gunk, and finish with whatever furniture polish I find under my sink.
  • I like using Venmo for the transaction itself. These days, many people prefer the convenience of digital payment and it motivates sellers (like myself) to hold onto an item if it’s already paid for instead of moving on to the person who is willing to pick it up soonest (but to each their own). I have had these pieces for so long that pretty much anything I made off them would be something I was happy with, so I was really glad when a girl who was moving into her very first apartment contacted me and immediately wanted to buy. She asked me to hold onto them until she could get a vehicle that would allow her to get all three pieces at once, but paid immediately. Win-win.
  • In this situation, the buyer needed to take apart the furniture in order to load it into her car. I helped but decided not to take it apart until she had arrived and was loading it so that I could make sure all of the screws and parts stayed together (taking no chances there!). I also let her load it into her car by herself so that if she bumped it into anything, I would not be responsible for any damage to her car or to her new (used) furniture.

There you have it. Do you have any rules you like to follow for selling? Has anyone tried selling on Facebook Marketplace yet? What was your experience like (and do you have a preference if you’ve tried both?)?

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8 Comments

  1. I sell on FB almost daily. When I’m remodeling houses, things I’ve scrapped out of houses (old doors, etc), I sell specifically on home remodel sale sites. Furniture sells pretty easily as well.

    My hard and fast rule is that I do not hold an item…but since I read your post about Venmo, that’s worth considering. Prior to that, I’ve held something for a few days just for someone to back out…very frustrating!

    Another hard and fast rule, I always try to meet at a public place, with a visible camera and parked near other people. Call me paranoid (thanks, Craigslist Killer). But there have been times that I’ve had people come to my house. I never give my address…just the name of the street. I have them text me when they’re actually on my street and I can see them, then I give my house number. Again, before doing that, I was giving my address to complete strangers and they’re sometimes backing out. It made me feel squeamish, so I avoid that now.
    But I’m with you, I never load things for people in case of damage. I always put that in the post as well- YOU Load entirely by yourself.

    1. I have a LONG vetting process before I give out personal info on that front. I suppose being that my entire life is on the internet, I’m pretty paranoid about stuff like that. But I always sell during the day when my neighbors are home, speak to the person on the phone to make sure they don’t sound like a psycho, and never let someone in the house. Charlie’s loud, intimidating bark makes that pretty easy, TBH!

  2. I’ve had some fun experiences selling furniture on Craig’s list. One time, three people showed up, crammed in a Honda Fit, to buy a big IKEA sectional couch, before determining that it wouldn’t fit. It wasn’t even close. Another time, I donated cardboard and ratcheting tie-downs to the sale of a wooden bed frame. Two gentlemen strapped it to the roof of their sedan. completely oblivious to the fact they were lashing their doors shut, It was funny when they realized it and had to crawl through the windows. I usually price my stuff lower than I could get. The speed of the sale is worth leaving a few bucks on the table. I find there’s a lot less of the no-shows too.

    1. Agreed. I only up the price if I am willing to hold onto it for more $, which is rarely the case. Too funny!

  3. Your post is extremely timely – We’re in the process of purging out all the furniture that doesn’t work right now. We have our 2nd baby on the way, and our wanderlust is kicking in again and we want to be streamlined and ready to move should the right opportunity present itself (yeah, tiny newborn and hellish toddler, it’s the perfect time to pick up and move, aimright?)

    We’ve been using Facebook marketplace as well as craigslist. The marketplace is local to the 2-3 surrounding ‘burbs, and so far it’s worked really well for small stuff, like artwork. I think it’s nice that it keeps the radius small for the easy portable items that people want to typically meet up with you at a Walgreens parking lot to grab. We’ve had better luck selling the big pieces, liked beds, on Craigslist, where people are more willing to travel out of their comfort zone for a deal. Fun fact – our first piece of furniture was sold to someone building an esacape room center – it was going into the “Captain’s Quarters” themed room. Not sure what that says about our taste.

  4. Wow, just in time for me. I am about to shift house next month and wondering how can I get rid of some furniture for some $$. Great piece of info and thank you for sharing :-)

  5. Thanks for the advice, I managae a small thrift store in Lancaster, PA. Honestly I have stopped using CL (too many no shows) and posting on Facebook requires a short relevant story on each piece (its a social network so unless it has social relevancy? ?) I have had pretty good success with Letgo & Offerup but those are also starting to have drawbacks (with the no-shows, excess questions without reading the info first, & nickle & dimers/ low ball offers and getting belligerent when turned down). And forget about Ebay. The best features with letgo are 1st its easy to list items and edit.
    2nd you cand track how popular your item is (if its getting alot of views but no chat requests just lower your price & boom you got 3+ people contacting you)
    3rd its easy (worth mentioning twice)
    4th new feature- you can bump to the top of listing.
    Now Craigslist is still good if you just want to get rid of stuff like for FREE or cheap. I find the “curb alerts” very profitable. I found a nice silid wood dresser on the curb a quick sanding and a couple coats of paint and sold for $125.
    Well, I guess that long enough (I don’t want to upstage the author)