“One Man’s Trash” My 5 year experiment with Craigslist

And 10 Tips on selling stuff from an adman.

Starting with $60 for a grill I couldn’t give away.

frug's old grill

My first experience with Craigslist was about 5 years ago.  We had an old Weber Genesis 1100 grill. This thing was about 15 years old and we had it for about 10 of those years.  A neighbor had given it to me in fair condition. We put it to good use, and it showed. The bottom was rusted out and various other parts had started to give way.  Ours was actually in worse shape than the photo above.

Curb Alerts

I’d heard about other people listing old couches and other various items on craigslist as a curb alert. Curb alerts are for things generally not suitable for sale or donation to charity. Our grease covered rotted out grill was definitely in this category.

To my surprise, in searching craigslist, it turned out that this grill was a “classic” and there was an active market of people who purchase these, paying from $40-$80 then use the parts or completely restore them.  Here is an “after” photo I found of one of these restored grills on craigslist.
restored weber genesis grill

Restored grill for sale as seen on Craigslist.

As they say, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure” and this sure beats a trip to the dump. Also, call me a Frug, but I feel bad just chucking something that may have a few more years of useful service in it.  So I took the leap and created my first post on craigslist, included two photos, grill info, and listed it for $60, a price well beyond its scrap value.  My thinking was maybe someone would want to restore it like the one above.

Craigslist a powerful tool in my war on stuff.

I was a bit concerned about getting mocked, spammed, or receiving offers for escort services in response to my ridiculous first attempt at a craigslist ad for a rusty grill. But, based on the immediate responses, my inner ad-man had come through and created a successful post. By that afternoon, not only did someone reply, but actually arrived at my home to pick up the grill with no negotiation. Just three crisp 20s and a thank you!

Craigslist has become a powerful tool in my war on stuff.  Here are a few tips to make getting rid of stuff on craigslist easy:

  1. Always use multiple photos. Just like any other customer, craigslist shoppers want to see what they’re getting, even if you are giving it away for free.

  2. Try to get a good photo by placing the item outdoors, or in a well lit area, without distractions or “other junk” in the background.

  3. For quick posts. use a craigslist app. Once your account is set up it’s easy to just snap a photo with the app then add a headline and a good description.

  4. Good headlines work, something like “Vintage Peugeot French Road Racing Bike.”  I used this description to sell my 12 speed bike from 10th grade that was still in my garage until about a year ago!  Another “classic vintage” item that had retained all of its value 30+ years later.

  5. For more expensive products, it’s always good to paste in a quick description from the manufacturer. Just do a quick search including the model number and you’ll get a bunch of options.  These more detailed descriptions will also make your item easier to find for searching shoppers.

  6. Avoid using photos from the manufacturer’s website unless what you’re selling is brand-new. People will be disappointed if your sale item differs from the photograph.

  7. There is no need to include your email, phone or home address in the post. Just use your craigslist mail ID which forwards to your email box.  This helps you avoid spammers.

  8. If someone asks you to deliver the item, just say no, unless you know them.  The time involved in this negates any benefit you get from using craigslist. Think of this more as a garage sale. People should just take things home and leave you with the cash.

  9. When you come up with your price give yourself about 10% to 15% negotiation room.  People who purchase on craigslist generally like to ask for some small discount from your list price.

  10. If you are getting rid of stuff that is in really bad shape just do a quick curb alert, Craigslist has some good mapping tools so you can just drop a pin on the curb location and it will be gone in no time.

Zach Galifianakis presents Craigslist Joe

craigslist joe movie

Once you start playing around with craigslist, you’ll find there’s a whole hidden economy involved. It goes way beyond stuff, and includes fantastic vacation rentals, computer repair services, handyman services, on and on.  Check out the film Craigslist Joe about the guy who travels the country relying solely on the support of the craigslist community.

 Unloaded anything crazy on Craigslist.  I’d love to hear about it.


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