Almost every time that I post a new Friday Finds post, I have several people mention to me that they don’t understand how I can find such great things on Craigslist, and that they feel like all they ever find is junk. I have been thinking for a while that I should put together some type of quick tutorial over how I find great things on Craigslist, but I’ve always brushed the idea off because it’s so simple that it didn’t seem worth it.
But then, I started to get requests for a tutorial. Several requests, in fact. And I like nothing more than to make y’all happy so I am, of course, obliging.
So, let’s walk through what a typical session of Craigslist perusing looks like for me.
For starters, you have to (HAVE TO) use Craigseasy. It’s the most amazing invention ever (more on what it actually is in a second) and I kind of hated Craigslist until I discovered this wonderful little tool. Just trust me on this – go to Craigseasy and add the “Easy” bookmarklet to your browser. You won’t regret it.
I always start off in the “Furniture” section of Craigslist. Once you get there, it’s a easy three-step process to get you ready to browse.
Side note: If you don’t want to use Craigseasy, or if you don’t have a handy little bookmarks tab on your browser, you can always just use the “Show Images” feature on Craigslist. I prefer the larger images and functionality of Craigseasy, but this is a great alternative!
Once you’ve got the “Show Images” feature activated, you can mouse over the things you’re interested in, and the photo will get slightly larger. Again, the photos don’t get as large as they do in Craigseasy, but this is also a great way to see the photos without clicking on every link.
And just like that, you’re ready to browse Craigslist!
I have had a ton of people ask me what I search for when I’m looking on Craigslist, but I’ll emphasize once again: The majority of the time, I do NOT search for anything! I just bring up all of the furniture posts and browse through it while I’m watching television. It requires a little bit of patience, but while I was writing this post, for example, I happened to stumble on this beauty in about two minutes of scrolling:
I usually have absolutely no problem finding amazing things in just the “Furniture – By Owner” section of Craigslist, but I usually venture out to two other sections as well.
The “Household” section is a favorite of mine because you can find all sorts of fun non-furniture items. Things like lamps, dishes, light fixtures, and other decorations. Take, for example, these amazing crystal decanters that would be perfect for a project Corey and I are planning right now.
And finally, I like to hit up the “Antique” section.
This section usually has some more expensive items (they are antiques, after all) and some of them get downright ridiculous, but I usually am able to find at least one or two pieces for a good deal. Like this set of dressers for only $225!
And that’s how I do it! Like I said, it’s a really simple process, and really all it requires is a bit of patience and a lot of imagination (some of the best pieces I’ve found have looked awful in the post photos, but I knew that they had potential).
Now, I know I said I don’t usually search, but sometimes if I am looking for something specific or if I’m just not finding anything I like by browsing alone, I’ll use the search feature. So here are a few tips for searching on Craigslist:
1. Always (ALWAYS) try at least 3-4 spelling variations of what you’re searching for. If you’re looking for a dining room table, for example, I would search the following terms:
You have to remember that a lot of people rush through posting these items, and there are always people who mis-spell important words in the post. Aside from misspellings, there are also variations on what people might call the pieces, so I usually try a few different phrases, as well as some misspellings, when I’m searching for something in particular.
2. Use broad searches. If you’re looking for a pretty brass bed or a new leather couch, I would start by just searching “brass” or “leather”. You never know what people will title their posts (a bed could be listed under bed, headboard, footboard, or bedframe, and a couch could also be a sofa or a loveseat) and so just doing a broad search will ensure that you’ll see everything in that material – who knows, you might find something else amazing too!
3. Search for stores! A lot of times if I’m not looking for anything in specific but I don’t see anything I like just by browsing, I’ll start searching names of stores I like just to see what comes up. Again, when you’re doing this make sure that you serach a couple of different varieties on the store names – Crate & Barrel could also be listed as “Crate&Barrel” or “Crate and Barrel” and the mis-spellings possibilities are endless (“Cate & Barrel,” “Crate & Barrell,” etc.)
And that’s about all you need to know to browse & search Craigslist like a pro (or, you know, me). I’ve had amazing success using Craigslist over the past few years, and I’m kind of obsessed with how easy it is to find amazing pieces if you have a little determination.
Do you have any more tips for using Craigslist?
Pssst: If you hop on over to the 101 in 1,001 blog today, you’ll see a little post with an update on an item we’re working to cross off the list!