Using the Web to Get Stuff Done: How to Sell Something on Craigslist

Lesson 5: How to Sell Something on Craigslist


How to sell something on Craigslist

Need to sell something quickly? Craigslist is a website you can use to view and post local advertisements. It works just like the Classifieds section of a newspaper, and it's completely free to use. We'll show you how to post something for sale on Craigslist, along with some tips for creating the best type of listing and how to stay safe when making a transaction. Watch this video to get started:

Posting an item to Craigslist

To get started, go to in your web browser, then locate and select post to classifieds.

Clicking Post to Classifieds

Select the type of posting you want to make. In this example, we're selling a bicycle, so we'll choose for sale by owner.

choosing the posting type

Next, choose a category for your item. We'll choose bicycles.

choosing a category

The main posting page will appear.

This is where you'll add information about the item. Pay special attention to the contact info section near the top. We recommend using the Craigslist mail relay option.

entering a contact email address

You'll only want to provide your email address here. This creates a temporary email address, and any messages you receive about the item will be forwarded to your inbox. We don't recommend adding your phone number here, just for the sake of privacy.

Now you can enter the title, your desired price, and some information about the item in the posting body.

We recommend providing as much detail as possible here. The more questions you can answer at this stage, the easier it will be to sell your item. As with your phone number, we don't recommend adding your physical address for this initial posting, so you'll want to uncheck the box next to Show on Maps.

continuing to the next step

When you're ready, click continue.

The Image Uploader page should appear. This is where you can include a photo of the item, which is highly recommended. To get started, click Add Images.

adding images to the post

A dialog box will appear. Locate and select some photos from your computer.

uploading photos to Craigslist

The images will appear so you can preview them. If you want to change the main (featured) image that's associated with your post, just click and drag any image to the far or top left.

When you're finished, click Done with Images.

Going to the next step after upload

Confirm the posting from your inbox.

At this point, you'll need to check the email address you provided and look for a message from Craigslist. Once you open the message, locate and select the very first link you see.

clicking the confirmation link in the email

This will take you to the posting confirmation page. You'll need to accept the Terms of Use for Craigslist, and your item will be posted.

accepting the terms of use for Craigslist

Wait for buyers to contact you.

Ok, so now what? At this point, you'll have to wait until someone contacts you about your posting. If you used the CL Mail Relay option as we suggested, you should see messages about your posting in your inbox. Depending on the item you're selling, people may have follow-up questions about the item, or they may just want to come see it in person.

email about a craigslist posting

This is probably the most important step in the selling process, and it really doesn't even involve Craigslist at this point.

Basically, you'll need to choose a time and place to meet with interested buyers to let them see the item and decide if they'll purchase it.

sending a reply

Meet up and exchange the item.

Here comes the part where you'll need to take your transaction into the real world. And while the majority of transactions on Craigslist are completely safe, you'll want to take some basic precautions whenever you use the site:

  • Meet in a public place, like a coffee shop or a busy shopping center.
  • Never invite someone directly to your home.
  • Meet during daylight hours.
  • If at all possible, use cash. Never accept a personal check or wire transfer.
meeting in a public place
paying with cash

If you're selling something you can't take to a public place, such as furniture, we recommend having at least an extra person with you for safety.

As with any service like this, use your best judgment. If an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is. And if you don't feel comfortable during a transaction, you can always ask the buyer to leave. Check out Craigslist's personal safety tips page for even more advice.

Delete the posting.

After you've sold your item, you'll want to go back to your original email from Craigslist, use the link to open the manage posting page, then delete the posting. This will prevent other people from contacting you about the item.

deleting the posting from Craigslist

That's it! Happy Craigslisting!

We hope this article has given you a good overview of the selling process for Craigslist! We'd also recommend Craigslist's Help and FAQ page for even more advice about using the site.