Tips for using Craigslist to find home furnishings

In a perfect world, most of us would always buy new and never bother with used items. Yet furniture is notably different from many other items that lose value with use: oftentimes, furnishings are sold when the owner is looking to do some interior decorating and old pieces aren’t fitting into the new picture.

This means that used furniture is often able to retain its mint condition while still being subject to the ‘instant half price’ rule of used goods. While these traits make used furniture sales a godsend when looking to redecorate without having to refinance, don’t think you can get off easy: buying anything used is never a walk in the park, and it pays to know how to navigate the field and play ball so you get the desired results.

If you’re looking for used home furnishings online, you’re no doubt checking out Craigslist and wondering how to use it to your advantage. Here are some tips to help you with this.

 Find home furnishings on Craigslist

  • Curb your enthusiasm! We know, we know: you found what you were looking for. A homeless guy once lived off of Craigslist donations alone for an entire month – this should speak enough about Craigslist’s ability to give you what you need. But do you really need that new cupboard or armchair just because it looks good (read: because someone is selling it?) Stuff you want will always be sold on Craigslist: learn how to separate the needed from the wanted.
  • Remember that appearances can deceive. That bed might look like an oasis of comfort and elegance, but do its fibers or the mattress hide a dark story? The sofa looks to be in good condition on a 640×480 picture, but what kinds of people were using it and how? Getting your stuff to look good on Craigslist isn’t hard – after all, it’s what the site is all about. As a buyer, your job is to become a pro at noticing shady business. If there are signs of photo alteration, angle shots or cherry-picked lighting, you’ll probably want to keep looking (keep in mind, though, that faults can be hidden even in high-quality photos).
  • Check the listings for your surrounding areas. It might seem like a waste of time – especially if you’re not willing or able to travel there to pick the furniture up – but there’s a multitude of reasons why surrounding listings could prove just as useful. Maybe someone nearby makes a regular commute to your city and would have no trouble delivering the furnishings to you, or maybe they simply chose the wrong area by mistake – taking the extra few seconds to browse could lead you to your dream furniture.
  • Check the seller’s profile whenever possible. Checking for past ads by the seller is a great way to find more about your potential furniture provider: if they have many different furniture listings, chances are that they’re redecorating and everything being sold is solid. If they only have one furniture listing, there could be an issue with the piece that’s prompting the sale, although there’s no way of knowing for sure – for the furnishings you really want, you’ll have no choice but to make the trip and examine the goods yourself.
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