I have always been a scavenger, searching for deals in every place possible. I spent a lot of my childhood at flea markets, auctions, yard sales, and thrift stores with my mom, which definitely influenced me to continue the habit of scavenging through thrift stores and finding cool things in every place possible ever since then. This summer I have started scavenging Craigslist’s free postings more than anything else.
I had always heard about Craigslist but had never actually used it too much because it always seemed like a sketchy place. In recent years I admit that I have been entertained by reading Missed Connections on Craigslist (I even had one written for me…), and started browsing the free postings for furniture and other cool miscellaneous items.
Since the beginning of this summer, I have acquired 2 vintage trunks, 20+ articles of Victorian-era clothing, clothing patterns from the 1800s, a tv stand for my apartment, a box full of free books (with lots of books on philosophy), among other items, all for free on Craigslist.
I think I’m going to start sharing more of my experiences with Craigslist and some of my various finds from thrift stores, yard sales, flea markets, and Craigslist on this blog because I really am obsessed with finding great deals.
But to start off, here are some tips for finding things on Craigslist.
1. Don’t always expect to find the perfect item on Craigslist.
When you’re looking for used items in general, you really need to keep an open mind because one man’s trash can really be another man’s treasure… but that trash can sometimes use some work, whether it be a time-consuming DIY project, or just a little bit of a cleanup. Even though the antique trunks I found are fantastic, they still need work with cleaning and restoration. Also, the tv stand I acquired through a craigslist ad needs a little bit of touch up from broken sections and areas of the paint chipping.
2. Respond to the posting as quickly as possible
When it comes to free items, a lot of people are eager to pick up just about anything. There have been multiple occasions where I have responded to an ad and driven a distance for the sake of getting an item, but upon my arrival the item has already been taken. Some people respond to postings within minutes of the time that they were posted. I know when I responded to the posting for the free antique trunks, I emailed the ad as soon as possible and assured them that I would be there within 30 minutes, so they were polite and reserved the trunks for me. It doesn’t necessarily always happen that nicely though.
3. Be aware of your surroundings.
Since I’m living outside of Philly for the summer in a more rural area, I feel a lot safer responding to these postings. If I was living in Philly and responding to these free postings, I might be a bit more skeptical of what neighborhood or part of town I might be entering. In the more rural area I live in, I feel safer with responding to the postings, but still sometimes like to take someone with me in case it turns into a sketchy situation. The antique trunks and Victorian Clothing are my favorite finds to date, and in order to get those items I responded to the posting and picked up the trunks after 11pm on a Friday night. Nighttime pickups can definitely be scary, so I brought someone with me in case the situation turned bad.
This Ken doll was kind of creepy to see when first arriving to a posting for free books.
4. Have fun!
I have had so much fun since I started responding to these postings. It’s honestly more about the thrill of the hunt than anything else. When responding to a few of the postings I got to talk to some awesome people. I responded to a posting about vintage miscellaneous items and the owner of the items and I were sharing stories of some of our best finds. I didn’t find much at that stop, but I got to hear some great stories from a fellow scavenger.
I will start to share some more tips on thrift shopping, yard sales, and some of my finds soon! I’m also working on opening an etsy shop to sell some cool, vintage items.