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my top 5 tips for finding craigslist treasure!

I’ve got a friend named Craig…and he’s got this awesome list. 🙂

Here is my latest craigslist find. It’s a 1920’s doctors stool. Love.

I shared it on Facebook and had some people ask me how I find such good things.

So I thought I’d share My TOP 5 TIPS for finding treasures on craigslist.

1.  Craigseasy. If you do not use this free tool, then you are wasting tons of valuable time! Craigseasy makes it possible to search quickly by scrolling through photos rather than clicking on individual posts. Did I mention it’s FREE???

(more about how craigseasy works in number 3…)

2.  Search OFTEN.

If you pop on to craigslist once a month, chances are not that great that you will strike gold. It’s simple probability, people. Search often and your odds of finding treasure increase exponentially.

3. Search SMART.

Let’s say you are looking for vintage industrial stuff. First, go to and navigate to your location. On the left-hand side, enter your search terms in the box.

The reason I don’t go to the antiques, furniture or household categories is because I want to grab all of the vintage industrial stuff out there. I don’t limit my search unless I’m looking for something very specific.

Entering this search criteria, brought up 123 items for me. But I want to narrow it a bit. The best way to do this is to enter your top price. If you know you won’t pay more than a certain amount for a piece, then enter it so you don’t waste time weeding through more expensive pieces.

That cut the list down to 100 items and now it looks like this:

If I want to view these items, I will need to click on the links one at a time. VERY TIME CONSUMING!

But I use craigseasy, so here is how I view the items:

I can scroll through 100 items lickety-split!

4. CALL.

If there is a phone number on the listing and it’s a piece you REALLY want, CALL. Don’t email. That is how I got these pieces…

5. See the potential beyond the seller’s crappy photo.

99.9% of the photos that sellers post on craigslist are crap. Don’t dismiss items with potential because of that. Look beyond. Case in point…the original listing photo of my surveyor’s cabinet was horrible. It was taken inside of a garage and was very small and hard to make out the details. But through my squinting, I saw real potential there.

It paid off, because this is my favorite craigslist find ever.

Well, actually it’s probably a tie with this piece. Another craigslist find.

And here’s a bonus tip for you.  Always negotiate.

Always offer less, but do it as nicely as possible. For example, if I find a table that I like and they are asking $75, I will email and say…”Hi there. I’m very interested in the table that you have for sale on craigslist. Would you be willing to take $60 for it? If so, I can pick it up tomorrow.” Nine times out of ten, they accept. Occasionally, they will counter. Rarely people will say no. Then I decide whether it’s worth the full asking price to me.

So there you have it…my top tips for finding craigslist treasure. I hope it will help you score that wonderful piece you’ve been searching for!

Linking up here:

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28 Comments Post a comment
  1. Great tips to start a new week! I’m heading to Craigslist now…. our area doesn’t usually have anything close to the things you find on yours… but it’s worth a shot! Enjoy your week. Oh – and I love the new stool – too cool!

    February 27, 2012
  2. Sue #

    I have a Mac and haven’t been able to add the Easy button using the instructions on the Craigseasy home page. Can anyone help?? I would LOVE to be able to use this!

    Thanks 🙂

    February 27, 2012
    • Hi Sue, I have a mac too. You just drag and drop the easy button on the craigseasy page onto your bookmarks bar. 🙂 That’s it.

      February 27, 2012
  3. Lisa #

    Love the tips!! Question: what is your process for cleaning up the pieces you bought? The wood looks lighter in your after pics…did u sand them down and restain or is the difference from cleaning alone?

    February 27, 2012
    • Hi Lisa, To clean pieces I use a shop vac and a mixture of murphy’s oil soap and water. The pieces you are referring to have been completely refinished, though. Have a good day! 🙂

      February 27, 2012
  4. Thanks so much for this tip. I am now going to try it out 🙂

    February 27, 2012
  5. WOW
    are you interested in selling the dr stool?

    you’re likle a fine tuned machine!!!

    February 27, 2012
  6. Awesome tips, lots I learned here. Funny enough, I always read about your CL finds(which are MOST impressive) and one day I went on and there were 2 antique tables listed for $75, I called and offered $60!!! Now I am the proud owner of two tables that need refinished, but that I loved on sight, and yes, only paid $60 for! Thank YOU!

    February 27, 2012
  7. We loooove shopping Kijiji (Craig’s list isn’t as popular here). We’ve found some great pieces for great prices =)

    February 27, 2012
  8. Oh my gosh, I’m on Craigslist all the time (And haven’t found any treasusres yet) and did not know about the easy search. Thank you so much for sharing that!!

    February 27, 2012
  9. Teresa #

    Awesome tips! When you call, do you negotiate over the phone as well?

    February 27, 2012
  10. Carrie #

    Thanks for the tips. Never heard of the “easy button”.

    February 27, 2012
  11. Great tips will have to check out the easy button. Searching more often is a good tip I will have to employ. When you go to pick things up do you go alone? Some places can be sketchy….perhaps I’m a bit paranoid.

    February 27, 2012
  12. Yet another great post, Susan. We do a lot of custom refinishing and I plan to share this with our customers… Thank you for the insights!

    February 27, 2012
  13. Juanita #

    Hi Susan, been following you awhile (since you were living in the Great White North) and I LOVE your blog. I am in Edmonton, Alberta and while we do have Craigslist here, it is not nearly as popular as Kijiji, which I am sure you used while living in Canada. Do you have any tips for us Canadian followers for easy searching on Kijiji? Any advice / help would be appreciated! Thanks for all your wonderful posts!!

    February 27, 2012
  14. great share! craigs easy – so cool! thanks for introducing us to this awesome time saver! xo

    February 27, 2012
  15. So glad to learn about Craigseasy! thanks for the tip, will be using that from now on 🙂

    February 27, 2012
  16. We bought a farm house sink on CraigsList and love it…I didn’t know about the Craigseasy so thanksfor tid bit of info. You scored some amazing finds…the card catalog cabinet is beautiful!

    February 27, 2012
  17. Holy Cow! Best tip ever – I kept thinking there had to be a better way to scan for good stuff on craigslist. So happy I popped by today to read this! 🙂

    February 27, 2012
  18. These tips were so helpful. Thanks for sharing!

    February 27, 2012
  19. Susan Halpin #

    I shop on Craigslist Hartford frequently. I’ve noticed that at the very top of the page, across from where yours says “CL>chicago craigslist>All for sale/wanted” are the words “show image”. If I click on this I can get a thumbnail picture of the item if there is a photo accompanying it. When I roll the cursor over the thumbnail it enlarges it. Craigslist Chicago seems to be missing this feature.

    February 27, 2012
  20. Love the Craigseasy tip…

    Hoping this is not an issue, but I shared the information on the Craigslist tool from your post on my blog. I made sure to link directly to your home page and included the link to the actual article, as well as mentioning your name.

    I just thought it was pretty cool and wanted to share. The post will not go “live” until tomorrow, so if there are any problems please let me know and I’ll be sure to cancel the post.

    Love your blog…. have been reading it for quite some time and I’m always amazed at the things that you do.


    February 28, 2012
  21. Thanks for the tips!!!

    February 28, 2012
  22. Thanks for the tip – I gave it a try and it works great. Unfortunately, even crappy pieces of furniture are overly expensive here in the Hudson Valley, where everyone wants the killer deal on something vintage.

    February 28, 2012
  23. That bedroom set for 40 bucks is such a steal!

    February 28, 2012
  24. How is that I never heard of Craigseasy till now! Genius! And thank you very much for that and the other tips. I’ve always wondered how you keep scoring these amazing pieces.

    February 28, 2012
  25. Karen #

    love your info here re Craigslist and the easy button, thank you soooo verrrry much!! the Dr stool is awesome, but I’d love to buy that round wood table w/metal base…could I find on Craigslist still? we are approx 3 1/2 hrs to downtown Chgo..I would even drive to get it!! going to wander Craigslist now….. 🙂

    February 28, 2012
  26. HOLY COW. I think I’ve died and gone to heaven. I had NO idea Craigseasy existed. It is so much better than searching and clicking on each stinkin’ link! You ROCK!! Thanks for sharing!!

    March 2, 2012

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