* I posted this exact post last year, but I felt inspired to repost it.
Whether we are browsing or just happened to stumble across the free section on craigslist, we are literally shopping it. Some of us may be to embarrassed to say the actual words, “I got this for free on Craig”, for fearing what others may think…cheap…not well off…or whatever it may be. Trust me I know the feeling, I was once like that…But you know what, I am of mom of 3, I am the homemaker, I have a design background, and if I want to keep my sanity I have to do something…right? Now, I am proud to say, “I got that for free on Craig”.
Depending on where you live, obtaining great things for free on craigslist may be problematic or it can be joyous. I know when I lived in Utah, I felt like I could not find anything that sparked my interest, but then maybe I was not looking hard enough. When I lived in central Texas, I found that curb alerts suited me better. It all depends on your area. I now live in the furniture capital of the U.S of A and furniture and all sorts of goodness are thrown out like no other. I decided that since I find so much cool things for free on craigslist, I thought I share with you my tricks…enjoy!
1. Shop frequently. Now a days they have craigslist apps that notify people of posts. I am pretty sure I could have scored more HOT deals if I actually used my app. I honestly check craigslist at any given free time I have whether I am at home, in a store, at a restaurant, etc…
2. Don’t go to bed just yet. I found that the times I literally scored big was at night right before I went to bed, literally! So ALWAYS make sure you check Craig before you sleep….you might be surprised at what you may find. I also check Craig in the morning when I wake up.
3. Look at the surroundings in the photo. The one thing I always tell my friends when they are buying something off of craigslist is to always look at the surrounding area. Just because something is for free does not mean you have to jump on it. If the background of the photo looks nasty don’t waste your time contacting the seller. I have seen nice things for sale and for free that have a “suspect” background…the last thing you want to do is bring bugs or other stuff in your house.
4. Stay in your neighborhood for curb alerts. I learned this the hard way. Sometimes you may come across a curb alert that is bells and whistles and the whole shebang then you look at the location and you realize there is no way it will be there by the time you get there. LISTEN to your gut! If there is a curb alert and it is down the road, go for it. If it is on the other side of town or the neighboring city forget about it. Trust me, you may walk away with something from the curb alert, but you will be disappointed that you did not get exactly wat you wanted.
5. Don’t overlook items more than a day old. Timing is everything on craigslist! Normally once a “GOOD” item has been on the free section for over an hour, maybe even a day we can assume it is already gone. What I come to realize is that, that is not always true…especially if they posted free items in the furniture section. Even if it is not posted in the furniture section, you can still email to see if it is still available. I did this on my hutch in my dining room and it was still available after one week worth of sitting on Craig’s free section.
6. Provide your name and number. If you want the seller to take you serious, provide your callback number and a nice email letting them know you want the piece or would like to view it. The one thing I cannot stand is when craigslist buyers email me in slang/Ebonics or ask me the same question over and over and not provide me with a number to reach them back at. I can honestly say, I ignore those emails. Sometimes common courtesy that can land you an item you really want.
7. Make sure you bring the correct type of transportation. Don’t be afraid to ask for dimensions on large items. The last thing you want to do is show up in a car when you actually needed a van. This has actually happen to me. I underestimated the size of a furniture piece and brought my van instead of my truck. Thank goodness the seller was willing to hold on to the piece for a couple of days until my husband could make it down. It would have been a punch in the gut if he had not.
8. Ask if loading help will be given or if you need to bring your own. Thank goodness for my husband! 99% off my free finds my husband picks up for me because there is no way I could have loaded any of it by myself. Most sellers require you to bring your own help but there is a handful who don’t mind assisting in the removal of an item.
9. Rainy weekends = gold mine. I don’t know why this is, but what I discovered is that people give away a lot of good stuff when the weather is horrible, especially on rainy weekends. I was thinking it is probably since yard sales would not be as useful on those days.
10. On small items request a porch pickup. This is more for safety precaution. Do not be afraid to notify the seller that you would prefer to do a porch pickup. Make sure you provide the seller with at most a two hour window of when you would be coming so they can just place the item on the porch for you to pick up. Or you can meet up at a store. I have done both…it depends on the person though.
*Always tell someone where you are going or bring a friend. I will admit I have done craigslist items solo but most of the time my husband runs those errands for me. When I do go solo, I always give my husband the number, name, and address of person whose house I am going to and I call him before and right afterwards.
*NOTE: I am using the word seller loosely- meaning person giving item away for free.