Outsmart Craigslist: How to Buy and Sell


It never occurred to me that people could really be getting used on Craigslist until a co-worker came to me for my "expert" CL advice since I'm a CL frequenter. Whether it be buying goods for more than they should be, or selling goods for way less than they could get, a person can really get "taken" on Craigslist if you aren't careful.

Note: I don't consider myself an expert, but these are the things that have worked for me in the past. Many of these things I've learned from experience with buying and selling on CL.

-If you're willing to wait it out, you can make more money --- I posted a stereo multiple times and people offered pennies compared to what I was asking. I just kept re-posting it and one day a guy offers full price if I would meet him within 15 minutes. SOLD!

-If your goal is to just declutter and get rid of the item, low ball the price --- This has worked for numerous items for me.  It will get rid of the goods quick. SOLD!

-Post the price higher than what you'd like to get --- With all bargain shoppers, they're exactly that, bargain shoppers. Everyone is looking for a good deal. I've posted things $50 or more above the price I'd like to get (for a big/expensive item) just to give myself some wiggle room with negotiations. SOLD!

-Do your homework -- Make sure you aren't posting at ridiculously high prices. Check out the value on eBay or other sites to see what it's typically sold for today. Most things aren't worth what you originally paid. Hardly ever actually. SOLD!

-Don't be afraid of negotiations --- Most people will try to talk you down even once you've agreed on a price. Stand firm on what you've agreed on, if you're adamant about getting that price.  SOLD!

-Negotiate, Negotiate, Negotiate --- Don't hesitate to negotiate with others. Many people post things higher because they're expecting you to counter offer back. CHEAP!

-Set Your Standards --- I recently purchased a dresser with a very long, picky list of wants, one of those to spend less than $50. It may have taken longer, but I got exactly what I wanted. CHEAP!

-Again, do your homework --- Don't be afraid to look up prices online before buying. Many people don't research the actual value before posting and will ask what they want to get out of it. It's much harder for them to argue with you if you can show them a printout from eBay with the current value.  CHEAP!

-Be willing to walk away --- If you can't get it for the price you want, the product isn't what you expected, or are uncomfortable with the transaction walk away.  CHEAP!

Additional Buying/Selling Smarts
-Last but not least, when buying or selling play it smart --- When possible, meet in a well populated area during the day if you can. Also never go alone.

-When having people come to your house, always have another person home --- Many times my husband will also walk people around to the garage or basement so they don't walk through our house looking for items to steal (hey, you never know!)


Dresser Turned TV Stand - Day 5 - FINAL!!!!


Check it out!!

What do you think??  Have you tried to re-create any old or secondhand products as something new?

Price Breakdown --
Dresser from Craigslist - $50
Uhaul to transport dresser - $22
Primer $7
Paint $5
Spray Polyurethane $8
Spade to drill holes $10
Total ONLY $101!!!

Price for a store bought similar dresser.... $800 or on sale for $400 on Amazon.

That means, I saved $700!!!!!!!  WHOOHOO!!!!

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Dresser Turned TV Stand - Day 4

So, we did one thing a little backwards with the dresser....

We hadn't purchased anything to cut out the holes for the back of the dresser, in order to be able to pull the cords through.

Long story short..... we were done with all the sanding, priming, painting and top poly coat, and realized we still had to drill the holes.  Ooops!!

We went out to our local Home Depot and purchased a 1 1/2 inch spade bit to drill the holes in the backside.

First, we measured halfway between each section, to be sure it was centered, then measured up one inch, so it was close to the bottom and would have a less chance of being seen.

Next, we taped the wood around where we planned on drilling, so we would have a less chance of splitting the wood.

Then we drilled holes from the inside out.  That way, if the wood happened to split or tear, we wouldn't harm the inside "pretty" pieces that we worked so hard to paint.

Once we were done drilling, we just vaccuumed out the dust and wa-lah, DONEZO.

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Dresser Turned TV Stand - Day 3

Last Post, I mentioned that we screwed up with the paint, which resulted in streaky paint.  So we went to the paint store and got some more paint.  Thankfully they register the product to our name, so they were able to pull up the exactly paint color we previously purchased.  

Once we had the new paint, we decided to go over nearly everything REALLY well to make sure we didn't have any streaks left from "the mistake."  

Once the 3rd coat finally dried, we decided to go ahead and poly the top. 

In the past, we've always purchased paint on poly, but for some reason, this time when we went to the store, they had a spray poly.  We mutually decided it was better to use the spray so we don't have to try to clean the poly after all the trouble we had with it last time.  Note: do NOT get polyurethane on your hands... it's a pain in butt to clean off!  We tried EVERYTHING in our house to get it off.... body scrub, alcohol, dish soap... nothing worked!!

Color Sneak Peek......

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New Project - Dresser Turned TV Stand
Dresser Turned TV Stand - Day 1
Dresser Turned TV Stand - Day 2


Dresser Turned TV Stand - Day 2

After the primer dried, the next day we decided to start painting.  Of course, painting seems to take forever, especially since we did 2.5 coats and had to wait for it to dry in between.  We wanted to be sure it dried completely before putting another coat on top, so we only painted one coat per day.

Now, I say we did 2.5 coats because we did 2 coats over the entire dresser, but the last coat was meant to go over sections we felt needed additional coverage.  HOWEVER..... we were scrimping by on the last little bit of the paint and apparently it had a bit of white in the bottom of the can, so of course this means the last couple of sections turned out blue streaky.

Once we realized what happened, we decided to go get another small can of paint, but since the paint store was already closed for the night, and we wanted the paint to dry completely, we decided it would have to wait until the next day....

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Dresser Turned TV Stand - Day 1

So as I mentioned in my last dresser post, we bought a dresser and have been rushing this week to get it done since we have ZERO extra storage space in our apartment.

When we first started, we were going to completely sand it down to the bare wood and prime/paint from there. Once we got started and realized our time crunch, we thought we'd try just lightly sanding and priming/painting over that since we read somewhere online that its possible.

The first night, we decided to lightly sand and prime. We also purchased 3 pieces of wood to add to the top row of the dresser. Without the wood, the consoles we are putting in there would have nothing supporting it. Now, you may be wondering why we used 3 pieces of wood, but that was the only way to fit them inside since there are wood support bars in front.

Below is the dresser once it's been lightly sanded and with the piece of wood.

Stay tuned for additional updates...

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Save Some Money, Make Your Own... Chalkboard.

Lately I've been oogling over all the fancy chalkboards on Pinterest.  Now a days, there are so many options for what to use chalkboards for -- decorations in home or office, labeling food at a party, framed on the wall and many many more.... below are a few of my favorites.

Labels on goods at a party

Dipped wine glasses

Basement Bar

Home Office To Do Wall

When thinking about what I wanted to make, the best thing I could come up with was a framed chalkboard, since we live in an apartment and cannot do any painting.  I purchased a piece of $4 plywood and some $1 acrylic chalkboard paint and went to town on my project.....

I sprayed the board and framing with primer.  A couple of hours later when the primer was dry, I painted the first layer on the chalkboard.  The paint I bought said to do 2 layers.  One layer horizontally, one layer vertically, and it needed to dry 12 hours in between to cure.  While I was waiting on the first layer of chalkboard paint to dry, I painted the frame with a couple of coats of paint.  

Once everything had dried, I decided to glue the frame on the board.  Now, of course in order to keep it attached, most people would typically use clamps.  Me on the other hand... I just dig through my closet to find whatever heavy objects I can...  :)

I hung the board in the kitchen and drew this weeks menu on it.  I attached it with nails directly through the chalkboard.  One nail in each corner to be sure it wouldn't come off when bumped by the trashcan that's typically in front of it.  Since the nails are dark and my frame was white, I didn't want to hammer thorough the frame since it would drastically show.  I like the way it turned out and how the nails are nearly invisible.

Cost of Supplies
  • 24x48 inch board $4 from Home Depot
  • Black chalkboard acrylic paint $0.59 from Michaels with 40% off coupon
  • Frame $0.69 from Home Depot (and we cut in the store before buying since we don't have the supplies at home)
Total cost $5.28

Cost of a 24x48 inch chalkboard at TJ Maxx? $50.  Regular price? $100!!!  I saved nearly 95% off the original price for about an HOUR's worth of work (and that's being pretty generous.. might be more like 30 minutes plus drying time).