Adventures on craigslist

Although I get on board with some of the latest tech crazes just before the mass population, since having kids, many things have slipped by. I was slow to jump on the blogging bandwagon… as most of you know, I’ve only been rocking this blog for about a year & a half. But I do love it and wish I would’ve started sooner! Sure, I got on facebook & purchased an iPhone 3G 3 years ago, long before everyone’s Mother seemed to… but I have yet to upgrade to an iPad or iPhone 4G (waiting for the 5G at this point). I used an iMac at a job in 2000-2001… but I wasn’t crazy about it… and continued to use a PC just because… until recent years. I got a netbook a couple years ago and stopped using Windows altogether (I highly recommend ubuntu!). Today, I sit here typing on my [used] MacBook I inherited a couple months back and I love it.

I suppose I’m slow-to-warm to certain techie things. I don’t need to be the first on the block with the latest gadget… I’m more like the 3rd or 4th… or, ok, occasionally 10th. I’m ok with that. In the case of craigslist, though, I may be one of the last on the block to try it. Ya got me, ok? 

In case you’re just joining this station, I’ve been trying to raise funds for my trip to BlogHer in a few weeks. After only selling a few loose ends at a garage sale last month, my neighbor encouraged me to post some of my big items, like the crib, toddler bed, bouncy-seats, etc on craigslist. I had used eBay in the past, but wasn’t crazy about the effort it took (and how you were locked into the “winning” buyer’s price) I hadn’t used craigslist before, and I had heard negative headlines about people being killed or robbed blind since the buyer comes to the seller’s house to purchase the item. Although these cases are not the norm, it scared the bejezzus out of me. The hubs assured me my anxiety shouldn’t prevent me from posting on craigslist. We would take each sale as it came.

When I finally had an afternoon to spend on craigslist, I posted a few items, complete with iPhone photos I snapped at the garage sale. This process was so easy, I wondered why I hadn’t used this service before. Within a half-hour of posting, I received my first offer. Lesson #1 was a quick one: don’t jump on the first offer. Because my first offer was $15 less than just about every other full-price offer I received a few hours later. But the sucker that I was just got excited about the offer itself, and didn’t realize that I probably low-balled the initial selling price. DOH! This was one of the first differences I noticed between eBay & craigslist: the freedom to accept & deny certain offers in the order you wish. Maybe I could’ve made a few more bucks if I was more patient, however, I helped someone in need — that’s good karma, yes? When it came to the buyer picking up the toddler bed, I made sure the hubs was home with me — for safety purposes, and to ease my anxiety about the 1% chance of a negative occurrence. The lady came in, gave us the money and took the bed… which was a pleasant surprise. I suppose she already bargained with me via email, but still. I didn’t think the transaction would happen so fast & flawlessly. As soon as that sale ended, I was geeked… and wondered when my next sale would hit.

A couple days later, when the craigslist emails became non-existant, I utilized the renew option for the items that hadn’t sold yet. You can use this handy-dandy option after your sale has been live for 48hrs. Brings your item to the top of the page where it’s filed. Very nice when your items aren’t selling. You can also edit the price, description, pictures, etc on your item at any time, but it won’t place your item at the top of the page. I’m sure many of you know this, unless you’re me, who’s jumping on this bandwagon super late in the game.

As I renewed a few items, I also knocked the price down on others, as well as linking to related items. Like my crib, crib mattress & changing table. They were basically a set, but I knew that some people may not want a full changing table, or maybe they needed a mattress, but not the crib, etc. So I kept each individual item, but knocked the price down when people would buy things as a set. It worked like a charm. Several emails came in for the whole set as soon as I renewed & edited. I took my time and let the emails stack up before I started responding. And, yes, I did respond to every email that inquired. Unlike many other craigslisters… which brings me to my next lesson: people are rude & don’t always follow through. The first person I offered the crib-set to was a no-show, and never responded to my email questioning where they went. The next person came in the next day, purchased the whole set just like the toddler bed — in & out, cash in my hand, 5 minutes after they showed up. A positive lesson: people that do actually follow through are generally good!

This biggest-sale-yet got me hooked… I was now motivated to put the next big item up: our pop-up camper. Although I was a little on the fence about selling it, we just weren’t using it. The effort & maintenance necessary for a pop-up wasn’t our bag, plus, our family was growing out of it. The pros of selling far outweighed the cons. Posting our pop-up required a little more effort, like cleaning that sucker out! That took a full hot weekend, but it was worth it. I wouldn’t say the offers flew in, but we did get several over the course of 24hrs. Again, many of the initial offers fell along the wayside after I responded and never heard back. But we did set up 2 showings at the same time last week, and only one showed up… a very nice family too. They offered us nearly full-price in cash, and drove away with our pop-up 15 min later, as I jumped up and down with excitement! Why was I so happy? I’m pleased to report that the sale of the camper has put quite a dent into the financial aspect of BlogHer and has eased my guilt about the child-free west-coast vacation we’re about to take!!

It’s been a bit of work, but thanks to craigslist, I have pretty much sponsored myself for BlogHer, and it feels incredible. I’ll still accept donations if businesses or individuals would like to contribute. But it really is truly satisfying to go after something, and actually make it happen — all on your own. My high school choir teacher once told me that I was the type of person that encompassed the passion to excel at anything I set my mind to. She was an honest person, so I believed her… but I didn’t… I was 16, ya know? Over the years, when I recall that statement, I wondered if that’s what she told all of her competition-bound students. This past year has taught me that maybe, just maybe, she was right about me after-all. Mrs Hughes never said it would be easy, but it’s definitely fulfilling to go after something important to me and not give up. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a BlogHer’11 or BURST sign to create.

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3 Comments

  1. Posted July 18, 2011 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

    Oh, that’s awesome that it worked for you! Craigslist can sometimes drive me insane. Especially when I say the price and write FIRM beside it… and still get people offering less. Or if I say “pick up only” and they ask for delivery. OMG. It drives me batty!

  2. Posted July 19, 2011 at 2:44 am | Permalink

    We’ve only tried Craigslist once and didn’t get any bites. Maybe we should try it again. I’ve heard the same comments that sometimes people bail, but mostly the people that show are good for it. So glad that you’ve been able to sponsor yourself. WooHoo!

  3. Posted July 20, 2011 at 6:56 am | Permalink

    LOVED YOUR POST!!! I used to sell on.eBay years ago,then stopped because the work and fees were just getting to be too much. I always was afraid though to use Craigslist, for the reasons you stated. Here in San Diego we had a teenager robbed and killed from a bad sale from Craigslist, but like u said; with caution and husbands its all safer 😉

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