I’m no Craigslist expert or anything but I have found some amazing pieces on it – my dream sofa practicaly brand new and most recently 4 amazing vintage leather backed chairs I’m using at my dining table. I visit the site frequently, even when I’m not necessarily looking for anything specific, and have developed a bit of a strategy for finding stuff. Good stuff. Stuff you actually want in your home. Most times I actually enjoy the hunt (I know, I’m weird?) But I totally understand that for some people, like my sister, Craigslist is like a thrift shop…you know there’s good stuff there but it’s all just so overwhelming. Where do you start? There’s so. much. stuff. There’s so. much. junk. How do you find anything worth while?  I thought I’d share some tips, that I personally use, on how find good stuff on the site. (I’m actually gonna break this post up into two parts – the first, how to find stuff and the second, what to do once you’ve actually found something you’re interested in.)

Do with this info what you will.

01. Be specific. Type in exactly what you’re looking for: in my case I was looking for an english roll arm sofa with turned legs so that’s what I searched for. Then try breaking it into smaller chunks incase someone didn’t bother to type out a full description. Example: english sofa or turned legs sofa.

02. Keep it simple. Exactly the opposite of the above, keep it simple. Chances are if you’re reading this blog, or any blog that posts about interiors, you’re a bit design savvy. Most people aren’t. People who don’t follow design and design blogs and don’t watch HGTV like it’s going out of style won’t know that it’s called an english roll armed sofa and has turned legs. They’ll call it a sofa with wood legs. Try showing a picture of what you’re looking for to a friend who’s not into design – whatever they call it is probably what the majority of the population calls it so search that term.

03. Remember synonyms. That is, a different word that means the same thing. I call it a sofa. You might call it a couch. Someone else? A chesterfield (though I ask, who in 2014 really calls it a chesterfield?!?!). Along the same line, if you’re looking for a piece from the 60s also do a search for: vintage, mid-centry modern, retro….you get the point.

04. Include specific brand/store names. Doing a search for sofa will likely bring up thousands of results (I just tested it out and got 1211 results). A search for sofa + wood will probably return hundreds (I got 154). A search for: crate and barrel sofa or west elm sofa? Just a handful. Most of the time if the seller knows the brand they’ll include it in the listing.

05. Search outside of your city. If you’re willing to travel a little bit, to the neighbouring city or suburb perhaps, you open up that much more possibilities. Plus, things are usually priced a bit cheaper outside of major cities. Sweet.

06. Check often. Like, at least daily. Sometimes, when I’m really hunting for something I search twice a day (in the morning and in the early evening). Things pop up quickly and disappear just as fast. You’ve got to be persistent. (I think you can set up an email alert to notify you when something is posted that matches the keywords you’ve specified but I’ve never used that feature.)

07. Be patient. Sometimes it takes a while to find exactly what you’re looking for (see number #5). Sometimes it seems as if what you’re looking for is never going to be posted but have faith…they don’t say patience is a virtue for nothing. And when it finally does pop up be ready to act – fast.

Got any tried-and-true tips to add? Whats the best thing you’ve found on craigslist (or kijiji)? Let me know in the comments!

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