So rule #1: Don't get killed. Ha. Okay. Honestly though, try to talk to the buyer/seller on the phone prior to going. You can always tell a killer by their voice. Obviously, joking again, but really try and be as safe as possible. Meet in a public place, take husbands (err, just one husband will do), fathers, big burly men with you, whatever. Be smart.
Rule #2: PATIENCE. Look, you are going to get a great deal WHEN you do find what you want. The trade-off for that great price is that it may take you a while to find it. If it was easy to find and cheap everybody would be doing it. Some things may take you months of perusing to find, some you may find the first time you type it in that pretty little search box. I have had instances on both ends of the luck spectrum. So if it's something you don't necessarily need right away, try and have patience if a good deal is important to you. If money's no thing and/or you are opposed to second-hand items - well maybe this whole post is pointless and gross to you.
Rule #3: Be quick! Craigslist will tell you how long a post has been posted, and they sort from newest to oldest posts. If it's something that you've really been wanting and it was just posted - snatch it up quickly! Things go fast because you likely are not the only person patiently waiting for that item to be posted.
Rule #4: Listen to the seller. If they say they only want to be called, call them. Don't text or send emails even if you are like me and loathe talking to people on the phone. It may even put you in their good graces by doing as they asked and they may sell something to you even though you weren't the first person to contact them about it. True story - it's happened to me!
And this one isn't a rule but maybe just a fun little way to get sucked even further into the Craigslist wormhole - check out the map feature.
Sometimes when I'm really feeling the itch to find a great deal I'll go to the entire For Sale/Wanted section of Craigslist. This section contains everything for sale from car parts to tanning beds. But if you flip over from the 'list' view to 'map' view...
...you can zoom in to your particular neighborhood and see what's available around you right now. Or you can type in what you are searching for and use the item's location to determine if the drive is worth it or not. I like this method very much!
& because what fun is a post talking about Craigslist if you can't actually see any of my successes, here are some of my favorite Craigslist purchases ever.
Just today I found something using the map method. I have been looking for a nicer chair for our office for a while but not actively looking. I was hoping I'd just come across something that I could refinish at some point or another. We have a chair in there already so not a need but a want. So when I saw this pop up for only $25, it's solid wood, AND it was something I could just pick up in my normal daily driving - sold. (well - I hope it will be sold to me. The lady hasn't actually replied to me yet and it was posted 5 days ago so she may not have it anymore. Bah!)
But the whole reason I was on Craigslist in the first place today was because I was searching for the umpteenth time for a patio set for our deck which has been completely empty of furniture since it was built last year. Most are overpriced or rusted or falling apart wicker or something else not desirable or fixable.
Finally though my patience paid off. Saw this listing about 2 hours after it was posted for a 7 piece set for only $60. SIXTY dollars total. Crazy right?
It of course needs a good cleaning and refinishing but it's solid wood and sturdy and totally doable. The man wasn't going to hold it for us until this evening once we were off of work because so many people had inquired about it and he knows how flaky Craigslist people can be. Luckily though John was able to take a longer lunch and go out (to the middle of nowhere) and get it immediately. I'm so, so happy with it and I haven't even seen it with my own two eyes yet!
I've shared this one before, but it is still one of my favorite finds. It's one of those Sunsetter awnings in the exact size we needed only a few miles from our house for $600, which is 75% off of what they cost new.
Another favorite find that I also shared with you before was the glider armchair in Charley's nursery. I searched daily for that glider and snatched it up so quick once I found it.
Other things I've found: the dresser and bookshelf currently in our master bedroom, a Beco baby carrier, the fireplace surround I used in our living room, and probably my best find of all - the giant shrubs we got for free, which all but a couple are still living and thriving.
Are you a Craigslister? I know a couple of you are skeeved out by the whole website (probably due to the sections of it related to missed connections or personal ads) so maybe it's not as great in smaller towns or cities but it's pretty great here.