Six Tips for Selling Clutter on Craigslist

Krista Diamond |

Sometimes you open up your storage unit and think I don’t even know what most of this stuff is. The message is clear: it’s time to clean out the clutter and maybe even make some money by selling it on Craigslist. Doing so will free up more space for the items you actually want to keep in storage. It might even save you money by allowing you to move to a smaller, more affordable storage unit.

If you’d like to make some cash while decluttering your storage unit, selling those items on Craigslist is an obvious start. It’s also a website that inspires lots of what-ifs. What if you get scammed? What if buyers haggle with you? What if your item never sells?

Move past the what-ifs and successfully sell the clutter from your storage unit on Craigslist with these tips:

Take Quality Photos of the Item

Items with photos attached sell much better than listings that don’t include photos. Take several quality photos (your smartphone will do a fine job) in good lighting that show multiple angles of the item. Be sure to clean the item first and display it in a location that makes it look appealing. In other words, no photos of a dirty mattress with a pile of clothes in the background.

Sell Items in Groups

Got a lot of clutter that you’d like to sell? Unload more items by selling them in groups. For example, if you have a lot of kitchenware and utensils (pots, pans, spatulas, ladles etc.) try selling them as a set for one flat price rather than one at a time. Trust us, no one is going to buy a single can-opener off of Craigslist, but if you pair it with another item or items—even something unrelated like a chair—you’re more likely to get rid of it.

Meet in a Public Place

Craigslist has been around forever, but its somewhat sketchy reputation hasn’t exactly faded into the past. Protect yourself and the items your selling by meeting potential buyers in a public location. If you get the okay from the manager, you can even meet at the storage facility where you rent a unit. Other options include library, grocery store and mall parking lots—anywhere where there are cameras and other people around.

If you have to have the potential buyer meet you at your home, meet them outside with the item if possible. Avoid letting a stranger into your home, no matter how cool they seem over the phone. If you have to let them into your home, have someone else with you and keep the door open at all times.

Write a Thorough Description

SEO—or search engine optimization—plays a role in helping you sell your clutter on Craigslist. Make sure the title of your listing is full of keywords. For example, if you’re selling a bicycle, list it as “Trek 820 Women’s Mountain Bike in Teal” rather than “Blue Bike.”

The description itself should be concise and should have good grammar and specific details, such as the make and model of the item, the condition it’s in and how much you paid for it originally.

Be Wary of Scammers

Fortunately, scammers are pretty easy to spot on Craigslist, but if you’ve never had someone attempt to scam you over the site—or you’re just a very trusting person—here are some signs you’re being conned:
  • The buyer doesn’t want to pay cash. Anyone who wants to give you a check or pay you with some weird money wire is probably scamming you.

  • The buyer is from out of town. This is especially suspicious if they’re really far away. Never ship someone an item.

  • The offer seems too good to be true. If someone wants to buy everything you’re selling and they want to give you more money than you’re asking for, be skeptical.

Know How Low You’ll Go

No matter what price you’re trying to charge, you can expect to be haggled. Decide how low you’re willing to go before meeting up with potential buyers. If your item is in perfect, never-used condition, you can price it at market value, but understand that you may not get what you’re asking for. Avoid putting the phrase “or best offer” in your listing, as this will encourage buyers to nickel and dime you.

Timing is Everything

People who work in social media understand the importance of posting at key times to ensure that as many individuals as possible get the message, and so should you. Don’t post super late at night or very early in the morning. The best time to post a listing on Craigslist is mid-morning on a Thursday. People will be online to see it, and the approaching weekend will give them the opportunity to make plans to see the item in person.

Happy selling! And if you need to find a smaller storage unit after unloading all that clutter, you can always book online.