How to Find Furniture on Craigslist

By Karl

Visit and you may just find you have a new favorite website. Virtually every mid-sized or larger city in world has classifieds on this site, and it’s free to use. Browse the furniture section or try a keyword search for specific items. You can narrow your search to include only listings with pictures, or within a specific neighborhood. There are even FREE and BARTER sections; wouldn’t it be great to get that perfect piece without spending any money?

Using Craigslist to find furniture to refinish is easy. The site is pretty easy to navigate; just choose your city from the list on the homepage, and start browsing. You’ll find the furniture section in the middle of the page, under the “FOR SALE” header. If you prefer to search by keyword, there’s a search bar on the left-hand side of the page.

Another option is to post a “wanted” ad on the site. This is a good idea if you’re looking for a specific item, especially if it’s rare. It costs nothing, but you’ll need to provide your email address (don’t worry, they don’t sell names or send you marketing materials).

Pictures Can Help You Narrow Your Search

Many listings have pictures; look at those first, because they’ll save you a lot of time. Who wants to drive way out of their way to look at a dining room set, only to find it’s in terrible shape or doesn’t mesh with their sense of style? Not you! If the seller didn’t post pictures, but the piece sounds like something you’d be interested in, don’t be shy about asking for some. Most people are willing to send a photo or two by email or SMS.

Arrive on Time for Your Meeting

The sad truth is that both buyers and sellers on Craigslist can be kind of flaky. It’s easy to stand up someone you’ve never met! If you’re running late, call and let the seller know when you expect to get there. If you miss the appointment and don’t call, you’re probably out of luck- few sellers are willing to hold items, especially if you don’t show up when you say you will.

Don’t Give In to a Hard Sell

Craigslist furniture, like any secondhand item, can be worn or just plain icky. If you get there and the item isn’t what you expected, don’t feel obligated to purchase it. If the seller tries to convince you, be polite but firm. Not every trip will be a success; keep looking, though!

Expect to Load it Yourself

Lots of sellers will help when they can, but few are willing to do all the work for you. Unless the seller specifies “will load” or “can help load,” make sure you’re capable of moving the item yourself (or bring someone to help you).

Using Craigslist Safely

Craigslist has gotten bad rap lately because scammers use this site to target their victims, but the reality is that most of the postings are legitimate. Follow these steps to protect yourself, and you’ll have a safe and productive Craigslist experience:

  • Never send money to someone who says they’ll “ship” the item. They rarely will, and getting your money back will be difficult or impossible.
  • Bring only enough money to pay for the item; many sellers won’t have change, so you’ll end up having to run to the nearest store the break a big bill, or worse: paying more than you intended to for the piece. Bringing small bills makes it easier to negotiate, too. Offer two twenty dollar bills for a fifty dollar item, and more often than not, the seller will agree. If not, you can always pull out another ten, and you haven’t lost anything.
  • Bring another ADULT with you when you go to look at the item. This is a good idea when using print classifieds as well. Plus, if you find furniture on Craigslist, you’ll probably need help loading the item.
  • Don’t follow through with any transaction that seems “off.”

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