Megan Grant | 

Craigslist Free Stuff Category: The Best Tool for a Tight Budget

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You might already know that Craigslist is a great place to go for cheap stuff. But did you know that you can also find things for free? Free! That’s everyone’s favorite number. This is the perfect way to shop on a very strict budget. And here’s the even cooler part: if you know what to look for, you can get things under the Craigslist free stuff category and then turn around and sell them for a nice profit.

In this article, you’ll learn exactly how to find free stuff on Craigslist, what to look for if you’re interested in selling it, and how to go about doing that.

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Let’s dive in!


How to Use the Craigslist Free Stuff Category

First, go to It should automatically redirect you to your city page as mine does with Las Vegas (where I live). This is what it looks like:

A screenshot of the craigslist home page

If it doesn’t, you should be able to specify your location off to the right side of the screen. Or simply do a Google search that says, “[your city] Craiglist,” and you should see the correct page in the search results.

Once you’re there, navigate to the free stuff. You’ll find it under for sale.

The Craigslist home page with a red box around the For Sale category, and a closer view of that category with the "free" link circled in red

On the next page is where you’ll see all the free stuff being given away on Craigslist in your area.

If you’re just here to shop, this is where you can peruse the offerings. Since you probably care about the quality of the items at least a little bit, I like to check the box “has image” and then switch to a gallery view, like this:

A screenshot of the Craigslist free stuff page showing the filter "has image" checked and the view in gallery mode

This way, you can quickly get an idea of if the free item is up to your standards without having to click into each Craigslist listing. But for items that you’re seriously interested in, read the description on the listing page carefully. Some sellers have specific directions for picking up the item or might give more detail about what kind of condition it’s in.

Now, what if you ultimately want to sell what you find?

Related: Check out how you can make money selling books online.



How to Sell Things That You Find for Free on Craigslist

Not everything you find for free on Craigslist will be worth trying to sell. First, there are a few things you want to consider:

  • How much will it cost you to obtain the free item? Depending on how far you have to drive to pick it up, factor in gas/mileage. This is an expense that’s going to eat into your profits.
  • Is the item fully functioning? You’re going to have a hard time selling something that doesn’t work. For instance, in my search I came across an oven that doesn’t turn on and has a crack in the front glass. This isn’t something that’s likely to sell, and it’d probably cost more to fix than what you could sell it for.
  • Is it very broad or super niche? Moving boxes are something you might be able to sell because someone is always moving and needs boxes. However, motorcycle boots in a size 9 are much more specific. That doesn’t mean that the latter isn’t worth trying to sell, but do bear in mind that it could take longer.
  • Are other people selling it? Visit a few marketplaces (more on that in a minute) to see if other people are selling the same item. If they are, it might be a good sign because you’re not trying to sell something too obscure.

Once you’re ready to start selling, here are a few ways to do it!



1. Craigslist

That’s right, you can find something for free on Craiglist and then turn around and sell it right on the same platform. This means that it’s going to go under one of the other categories within “for sale.”

Since you’re trying to profit off of something that you got for free, you want to spend a little more time creating an eye-catching listing. Include:

  • Plenty of pictures from different angles
  • What condition the item is in
  • A detailed description
  • The payment type(s) you’ll accept

2. Other Online Marketplaces

Craigslist isn’t the only marketplace you can utilize to sell the free stuff you found. Your next stop should be eBay. Facebook Marketplace is another good platform, and you can sell locally or out of state. (Just factor in the cost of shipping if you go with the latter option.)

OfferUp is also a great option. Note that this is local!

If it takes you longer than planned to sell anything on these platforms, go into your listing and update it. That’ll push it to the top of people’s feeds/search results.

Related: Here’s how you can earn extra cash on the side.


3. Niche Buyers and Marketplaces

Here’s what I mean by this: let’s say you get a bunch of books for free on Craigslist. You could then try to sell those to a used bookstore. If you find electronics, you could sell them on BuyBackWorld. Apparel can go on Poshmark or ThredUp. If you get an old car for free (yes, this actually happens), you could see if CarMax will give you any more for it.

There are industry-specific buyers and marketplaces out there that just might be interested in what you’ve got — even though you acquired it for free.

Related: Here’s how much Plato’s Closet will pay you for your used clothing.


4. Garage Sales

If you live in a busy neighborhood that gets plenty of traffic, this might be a good option for you. Yes, it’s a bit more time-intensive. But if you hold it on a weekend when people are more likely to be home and advertise it in advance, you might see a decent turnout.

Put up signs around your neighborhood the week prior. Post on your social media channels and apps like Nextdoor. Tell your friends and family to spread the word.

Be prepared to haggle! People who attend garage sales love to negotiate, so you maybe have to be flexible on the prices you set.

Free stuff is just a few clicks away thanks to Craigslist. And with the right strategy and a little bit of elbow grease, you can turn that free stuff into a nice profit. Browse with a sharp eye and you’ll be able to turn someone else’s trash into your own treasure.

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