How to Find Items for Sale on Craigslist

By Melissa Goslin

Craigslist offers a convenient alternative to traditional garage sales. With a wide range of items -- from baby clothes for new parent sto RVs for the recently retired -- it truly offers something for everyone. Sellers post item descriptions along with pictures and a rating of the item's condition to arm buyers with information. Instead of driving from sale to sale and sorting through piles of unwanted items, Craigslist allows you to focus your search without wasting time -- or gas money.

Know What's for Sale

Items for sale on Craigslist range from furniture and appliances to farm equipment and camping gear. Whether you’re looking for beauty supplies or a new car, Craigslist is a great way to find people who are selling what you need. Search features allow you to locate items for sale by individual owners or also include ads placed by dealers and businesses. In addition to items traditionally found at yard sales, tickets to local sporting and entertainment events are regularly available on Craigslist.

Search by Location

Craigslist is designed to connect buyers and sellers in the same geographic location. As a first-time buyer, you will be prompted to select your country and city from the Craigslist homepage so that you search only those items available in your area. You can also search for items in nearby cities, but make sure you only search within the distance you’re willing to drive and pick-up items.

Find the Right Item

Items for sale are organized into categories for almost every need, such as antiques, collectibles, boats and musical instruments. Simply click a category to reveal all the items posted to that section. In the default list view, items display by the date they were posted. If you select the thumb or gallery view option, you can also see photos as you browse. When an item piques your interest, click the link to see more information, including additional photos, a map of the item’s location and any notes from the seller.

Negotiate a Purchase

Once you find an item to purchase, contact the seller using the Reply button or by the specific method they request in their ad. According to Craigslist, the number one rule for avoiding scams is to only deal locally and face-to-face. This means all transactions should be completed using cash and with people you have met in person. Decide on a meeting place that is comfortable for both parties, and never give out any financial information, such as account information or social security numbers.