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How to Start Using Craigslist

Updated on June 19, 2013

When I first started using Craigslist about 7 years ago, I had no guide, just information passed along to me by a neighbor. How to start using Craigslist is something I would have found helpful at the time, especially if someone had advised me on some of the pitfalls. Most of us that use the Internet have heard of Craigslist, but statistics show that actually only 50 million people have used Craigslist out of an estimated 243,542,822 Internet users in the U.S. These figures mean that there are still alot of people out there that have not utilized the Craigslist website, but will be potential users in the coming years.


How to start using Craigslist - spend some time browsing the website to get an idea of what Craigslist is all about.
How to start using Craigslist - spend some time browsing the website to get an idea of what Craigslist is all about. | Source

Tips on starting to use Craigslist

Craigslist is a very easy interface to work with and the layout is very simple. Basically Craigslist is a means of connecting users to find jobs, sell things, buy things and to use forums to connect like minded people on topics they share (like pets,music,travel,etc) I mainly use Craigslist to job hunt (I have found my last 4 jobs there) and I also use it to buy and sell things. As an expert Craigslister, I have bought and sold over $20,000 in items over the last few years, easily. When you first start using Craigslist here are some pointers on getting started:

  • Start by just getting familiar with the site. Browse some of the ads (they are in categories) and check out of some of the forums on getting started with Craigslist. Although I am not a big forum user, there are people there that use Craigslist everyday, and have lots of great thoughts and ideas on using Craigslist.
  • Use your Craigslist search bar to get exact results. If you are looking for a border collie pup for example, search under "pets", "community" and "for sale". Although sales of pets are prohibited on Craigslist, you are allowed to charge a small re-homing fee, so you may find or "re-home" pets under these categories. If looking for a job, say as a photographer, type in photographer under all jobs, and you can narrow your search down to a city by searching "photographer Hayward". Also make sure that when you are on Craigslist that you are in the right geographical area. For me I search the San Francisco Bay Area ads. Craigslist has listing areas for most major cities.
  • If looking for a car, be specific. If you don't care what type of car you are buying but want to check out all cars under $2,000, then put $2,000 in the maximum box and your search results will show you all cars listed under that amount. You can also use the minimum box to do the same. Let's say you don't want to look at cars under $1,000, then type in minimum $1,000. I bought my last car on Craigslist, a 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee, and I searched under trucks and suv's because I wanted a suv. All suv's came up, and I found my jeep.

Craigslist headquarters in San Francisco

The headquarters of Craigslist located in San Francisco.
The headquarters of Craigslist located in San Francisco. | Source

Posting an ad on Craigslist

If you want to post an ad on Craigslist, I have several ideas on how to do that best, including how to ad photos to your ad. To read in more detail about how I buy and sell on Craigslist, read my hub here: How to take good photos for posting on Craigslist.

It is not necessary to have an account with Craigslist to buy or sell, but I find it easier to have one since I buy and sell alot. To get an account, just sign up under the account button and it is free. All you need is a valid email address. Having an account is a good way to track what you sell, and you can also repost from your account once the listing expires and you have not sold the item (sometimes it takes a while to sell an item - I have sold things as fast as a half hour after posting the ad - some things I have re-posted for several weeks) Most postings expire within a week.

If you have any questions on how to start using Craigslist feel free to ask here, I will do my best to answer your questions. And as with anything, there are risks involved, including people that try to run scams on Craigslist. To learn more about how not to be a victim of a Craigslist scam, read more here: How to avoid Craigslist scams.


Submit a Comment

  • Dorsi profile imageAUTHOR

    Dorsi Diaz 

    6 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area

    thost) Thanks for reading. I think you will like Craigslist - it's a great place to buy and sell.

  • thost profile image


    6 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

    Good information here. I am not familiar with Craigslist, but after reading your Hub. I am going to check it out. Vote up.

  • Dorsi profile imageAUTHOR

    Dorsi Diaz 

    6 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area

    @moonlake) I'm so glad to hear that about your dog. Thanks for coming by and sharing!

  • moonlake profile image


    6 years ago from America

    I found our dog on Craigslist. I put an ad on stating what kind of dog I wanted and the guy called and told us the dog would be going to rescue if no one took him. We drove over in a snow storm and got him. He's such a nice dog. Voted up on your hub.

  • Dorsi profile imageAUTHOR

    Dorsi Diaz 

    6 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area

    @akirchner) lol 5 seconds or less that sounds like me! It's our creative minds I tell you!

    @Helena) Thanks!

    @toknowinfo) Thank you. It's pretty user friendly.

  • toknowinfo profile image


    6 years ago

    Hi Dorsi, I appreciated reading this article. I have been hesitant to sell anything on Craigslist, but you educated me enough to start to think about it. Thanks for putting this hub together. It is filled with useful and practical tips. Voted up interesting, and useful

  • Helena Ricketts profile image

    Helena Ricketts 

    6 years ago from Indiana

    I sell on Craigslist too and really enjoy it because the site really is extremely user friendly. Great hub! :)

  • akirchner profile image

    Audrey Kirchner 

    6 years ago from Washington

    Great points, Dorsi - I need to come check this out the next time I decide to post something. I've tried it a couple of times and not had THE best success though I did sell something in 1 day when it really counted. I just don't think I know how to use it properly - or that our market perhaps is too slim here in Central Oregon - it could be that, too~ Of course it is always a time factor for me - I'm always trying to learn something in 5 seconds or less and probably IF I read things like this and learned to do it properly.....ah - there's a thought!

  • Dorsi profile imageAUTHOR

    Dorsi Diaz 

    6 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area

    lrd) Thanks. Craigslist is great when used wisely!

  • lrdl3535 profile image

    Richard Lindsay 

    6 years ago from California

    Good article, I use Craigslist a lot myself.

  • Dorsi profile imageAUTHOR

    Dorsi Diaz 

    6 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area

    @seeker7) You are so welcome! Let me know if you any questions.

    @Virginia) Thanks and that would make a great hub to add to my Craigslist collection. I could list the things that have been easy to sell vs. things that are not worthwhile, although I have to say I have sold some pretty strange things on Craigslist lol...

  • VirginiaLynne profile image

    Virginia Kearney 

    6 years ago from United States

    Very clear instructions and I'm going to have to look out on your scams Hub too. I have been on craigslist and we've sold a few items but I've been worried about not having any sort of guarantee for larger items or money exchanged. We sell mostly on Amazon because we have smaller items. I'd love to see a Hub on what is good/bad to list on Craigslist. Maybe tell about some tips on how to make money best? Voted up!

  • Seeker7 profile image

    Helen Murphy Howell 

    6 years ago from Fife, Scotland

    Great hub Dorsi! Craigslist is a site I've wanted to have a look at for a while but it does look a bit daunting. Your hub will help a lot when I have another look round - many thanks for shiaring!

  • Dorsi profile imageAUTHOR

    Dorsi Diaz 

    6 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area

    @Prairie) Thank you. I have not heard of Kijiji. I'll have to take a look at that - interesting name!

  • prairieprincess profile image

    Sharilee Swaity 

    6 years ago from Canada

    Dorsi, interesting article! I am not familiar with Craigslist, although I do use Kijiji quite a bit, which is very similar.

    Great hub with very clear instructions on how to use Craigslist. This is especially good for someone who has never used this type of service before. Voted up and more!


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