6 Tips to Mastering CraigsList....

After my recent craigslist finds this pretty lady asked me to share some of my Craigslist searching tips. At first I really didn’t think I had any, but after giving it a little thought I came up with a few lessons learned for searching techniques.

Some of her questions were:

Q. Do you go on every day?
A. Sometimes, sometimes not. Most likely I’ll go on when I have a few down moments at work and my google reader is empty.

Q. Do you search multiple times a day?
A. Sometimes, sometimes not – it really depends how my day is going. I usually run a few searches just after lunch. I figure people have posted items during their lunch break and often times you MUST be the first one to email/call since the good things go FAST.

Q. Do you search for something in particular?
A. Yes and no. If you search for something really particular you may limit your results. Often people don’t know what they have, or don’t know the correct name for it and will call it something else or just describe it. (see Tip #5 below)

So here we go, 6 Tips to Mastering CraigsList

Tip #1 : Always check the ‘HAS IMAGE’ box.
I think this is pretty self-explanatory.  I don’t have time to chase around looking at things, especially since I would never buy 90% of the things on Craigslist. If there is no image it’s a deal killer right off the bat.

Tip #2 : Know that everyone is not as smart as you.
For example – if you are looking for a scretAry desk, you should probably search for secretEry desk as well. Crate and BarELL is another popular one.

Tip #3 : Take into account local vernacular.
People around here (Boston) refer to DRAWERS as DRAW. (We are not talking about a small percentage of the population either – seriously do a Boston search for ‘DRAW’ just for fun). You will see FIVE DRAW, THREE DRAW, CENTER DRAW and the list goes on. (How they think ‘draw’ is even plural I have no idea.)

Tip #4 : Run 2 or 3 searches for the same thing.
I would love to own a letterpress. I’ll often search under “LETTERPRESS” then “LETTER PRESS” and finally “LETTER+PRESS” and usually I’ll throw in a “PRINTING+PRESS” just for fun.

Tip #5 : Understand that not everyone knows what they have.
If I were looking for a mid-century chair I could search under

Mid Century, Mid-Century, MCM, Mid Century Modern and get results. But these people know what they have, and usually they want a lot of $$ for it. 

But if you look for Plastic Chair you can find something like this :

I had to zoom out to capture the first image, but if you can read the top of the it says $135 (thats a $105 difference!).

Tip #6 : Do a ‘LIKE’ search.
Again, people don’t always know what they have – but they may know it looks LIKE something from a Pottery Barn catalog, etc. Chances are these items will be much less than their name-brand counterparts but still have the same look.

Anyways, those are my helpful hints.
Do you have any of your own to share?


  1. Great tips!

    If you really want something, and are willing to travel, use crazedlist.org to search all the area craigslists that you want!

  2. Your helpful hints are very helpful! I'm perennially discouraged by Craigslist, but you've given me new hope. Thanks, lady!

  3. Did you know you can subscribe to an RSS feed for categories, too? I do that for our local one... granted, it's MUCH smaller than a large city would be.

  4. Hey! I stumbled over here from Wedding Bee, and I'm so glad I did! I'm a new follower, and looking forward to reading more! :-)


  5. These are really great tips!!

  6. Thanks, C! I've always been intimidated by Craigslist, but I think I may give it a shot now that I'm armed with your tips!