Introduction: Craigslist: a Guide... for the Rest of Us!

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It's Summer! Which means it's the greatest time to get rid of all that junk in your home. But is Amazon and Ebay to complicated for you? Do you not like to ship items, pay a percentage to the company, or not be able to meet locally, then Craigslist is for you!

What is Craigslist? Well, for those who do not know, Craigslist is a centralized network of online communities, featuring free online classified advertisements with sections devoted to jobs, housing, personals, for sale, services, community, gigs, resumes, and discussion forums. Basically, it's like the classifieds in your newspaper.

Before we get started, here is the link for general questions for creating an account and such. It will help tremendously. If I have not covered something, it'll be here:

craigslist | about > help

Here is the home page of Craigstlist. Click on your city to get started.

Note: All of these steps are quite short. Read through the pictures for more details!

Step 1: Getting Started

After selecting your homepage, you'll be left with a lot of confusing and specific options. But I'll lay it out for you in the picture below.

Be sure to read the avoid scams & fraud link as well as the personal safety tips page.

Then, click on themy account link to get started.

Step 2: Creating Your Account

In case you missed it, click on the my account link to get started.

Following the pictures, click on Don't have an account? Click here to sign up.

Then fill out the information and click "create account."

See? That wasn't too hard!

Step 3: Activiating Your Account

Now it's time to activate your account. Go to your email and open up your junk folder, it's probably in there. You'll see an email similar to the one below.

Once you reach the site, fill out the information and your done!

Follow the pictures, then move on to adjusting your settings.

Step 4: Adjust Settings

Craigslist lets you customize your account:

Change your email address
Change your password
Set your default site
Set how long you are logged in
Set how many postings can be displayed at one time

Again, just follow the pictures.

Step 5: Creating a Posting

Now we'll make a posting on Craigslist.

Click the Go button in the top right-hand corner of your account screen.

You will generally go to For Sale if posting an item for sale. If this is not the case, choose another category.

Then, choose your category that your item falls into and continue on through it.

Once you hit the page with a lot of blank fields, fill it out.

Browse, choose the photo you put on the computer. (always make the images smaller with paint, just decrease size under the drop down menu.)

Hit continue.

Fill out security code and hit continue

It will be automatically posted and you will see it in the account menu and also receive an email.

Congratulations, you now know how to post something on Craigslist!

Step 6: Decipher the Color Code

active - green
pending - gray
removed by me - blue
expired - purple
flagged/deleted - red

Step 7: Edit/Delete a Posting

To edit a posting:

Go to your account page.
Click on one of your postings.
Click to edit it.
Make Changes.

And your done!

Step 8: BONUS: Become a Successful Buyer on Craiglist

I)Craigslist is a great site for buying products, and saving a lot of money along the way. But in order to do it efficiently, and avoid scams, you have to know what your doing. Read on for more info about:

Step 9: Becoming a Successful Buyer Continued.....


1)When you think of Craigslist, you should think of it as the virtual yard sale. There's a pretty good chance that if you need something, you'll be able to find it on Craigslist. Simply search within the appropriate categories and browse through the posted ads. The easiest way to keep things straight when using CL is with common sense. If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. A 42-inch Samsung Plasma HDTV for $200 is either fake or has a catch the size of Jaws attached. Stay away.


1)Compare prices, items, quality before you make an offer on something. Searching for items within your budget really helps narrow down the choices and shows you were your best bargain is. You should do your homework. For example, if you’re buying a cellphone, you should use Google to check the phone’s stats and make sure it works with your carrier. Once you’ve figured out the basics, make sure it’s a good price. You can search eBay for the same item to get a feel for what the current average used price is for the item, from iPods to cars. This is a great way to see if you’re getting a deal or getting hosed.


1)At the top of every ad, you'll find a blue link with a special CL email address. You can copy and paste that into your email account OR the seller might have included a phone number.
For emails, also copy the posting title (i.e., Used Water Bed--$50) into the subject line. Keep your response short. Ask if the item is still available and any other questions you have (include your phone number if you want them to call you).


1)If something is unclear, or if you have questions, don't be afraid to ask the seller. A good, reliable seller should get back to you in 24 hours. Don't wait around for a response for too long, though. When you’ve found your item, ask detailed questions about its condition and any accessories it might have or need. For example, asking “Does it come with everything?” isn’t as precise as “What accessories are included?” The first question is fairly objective, the second is subjective, which is in your favor. Also, feel free to be skeptical. Everything on Craigslist is something someone else doesn’t want. Why not? Make sure to ask why the seller’s selling it. Have they ever had any problems with it? And so forth.

Step 10: Becoming a Successful Buyer Continued.....


1)CL is just… well… a yard sale. Most sellers are willing to haggle. Plus, it's less intimidating if you do it through email. So if you think they might lower their price, just ask (but be reasonable).


1)When you’ve found what you’re looking for, meet someplace in public. This means shopping locally. While certain areas have better deals on certain items, it’s much safer to have a face-to-face deal. Besides insuring you’re not ripped off by a mail scam, it gives you a chance to inspect the merchandise before giving up any cash. Some sellers are willing to deliver for free or an extra fee. Just ask. If you plan to pick the item up, arrange it with the seller. Take someone along with you and ONLY pay in cash (unless we're talking about huge sums of money).
Be sure to inspect the item BEFORE you pay for it. It's a virtual yard sale, afterall--99% of sellers will probably be unwilling to offer refunds. That’s brings about another point worth mentioning: you don’t have to say yes. If you plan to meet someone to buy something, be clear that you’d like to inspect the item or items, and that if they’re in bad shape, or not as advertised, you’ll be walking away. This is your right, and if a seller has a problem with it, you probably don’t want to be dealing with them, anyway. If the person’s good and the item’s as described, then by all means make the purchase. But use cash. It’s the best way to keep things honest, easy, and equitable. If you’re selling, don’t accept any checks, even cashier’s checks or money orders, as these are easy to fake. Your bank will hold you accountable if you deposit a false check. Also, stay away from wire services, as there are a number of scams that utilize these services to rob you blind. Also, don’t ship your product to someone in Europe, ok? You’ll be surprised by how many emails that you can get with requests like that.


1)Now that we know what to do, let’s talk about what not to do. Don’t show up late without calling. Don’t stand your buyer or seller up, that’s just awful. Don’t give your seller grief if they make a mistake, they’re not pros. It happens. Don’t worry about getting down on someone who’s ripping you off, though. There’s nothing wrong with that.

Step 11: The End

You now should know everything you need to get yourself started on using Craigslist.

If you have any suggestions for new topics, feel free to leave a comment and I'll research it!
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