How to get free stuff on Craigslist

by on Jun 16 2014 - 39 Comments

How to Get Free Stuff on CraigslistI was talking to a friend recently and found out that they got a high quality washer and dryer on Craigslist – for free.

I found out there was a lot of free stuff on Craigslist. A LOT of free stuff.

If you are trying to furnish a house, find some new appliances, or just trying to find free stuff, Craigslist is where you’ll want to look.

The friend I mentioned got the washer/dryer from a wealthier suburb of Minneapolis-St. Paul. Wealthy suburb or not, there will always be people trying to get rid of things and won’t charge you as long as you are willing to come pick it up.

The dresser in the picture above is something I got rid of – for free – on Craigslist. It was heavy and we didn’t really need it. I put it out on the curb and posted a Craigslist ad. It was gone within a half hour.

To see free stuff that people listed on Craigslist, simply go to Craigslist and click on ‘Free’ under the ‘For Sale’ section:

Craigslist - Free Stuff Section

The best way to view stuff on Craigslist, at least free stuff, is through gallery view. There will be a decent amount of “junk” in the free stuff section, so it’s best to disregard anything without a photo.

Craigslist - Free Stuff Gallery View

Remember the washer and dryer I mentioned earlier? They were given away by a couple living in one of the wealthier Minneapolis-St. Paul suburbs. There’s a lot of people who aren’t too worried about getting cash for old appliances, furniture, etc., but are happy to just get rid of it and get it in the hands of someone who can make use of it.

From quickly scrolling through the free stuff available in my area, I saw a wide variety of things.

  • Hot Tubs
  • Swing Sets
  • Firewood
  • Couches & Recliners
  • Entertainment Centers
  • Landscape Rock
  • Dirt
  • Bookshelves
  • Desks & other Office Furniture
  • Grills
  • Basketball Hoops
  • Bikes
  • Baby Supplies
  • Sinks

That was just a few things I saw, and oftentimes there were many listings for each of the things in the above list.

Besides quickly learning that there is a TON of stuff being given away for free on Craigslist, I had a few additional takeaways from my experience roaming the free section of Craigslist:

  • Lots of free stuff is heavy – You’ll notice that there is a lot of free stuff available that is really heavy. Hot tubs, pianos, furniture, the list goes on. This stuff would be expensive to have removed, so having someone take it away for free is ideal. If you have access to a bigger vehicle or a trailer you can take advantage of this.
  • There’s a lot of random free stuff – You never know what you’ll find listed in the free section of Craigslist. Rollerblades, a Vince Carter poster, and a free rate cage are just some of the random things I saw.
  • Use Craigslist to get rid of your junk – In an ideal world you would get paid for things you are getting rid of by listing them on eBay, selling it at a garage sale, or listing it on Craigslist for money. If you have something that you don’t think will sell, try listing it on Craigslist for free before trashing it. You never know who might find a use for it.

Have you ever gotten something for free on Craigslist? Have you ever listed anything for free on Craigslist?
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Photo by David Carlson

39 comments
ihickey
ihickey

Hi all,
I just published an android app that will let you see all the Craigslist curb alerts around you and notify when new stuff arrives on a sidewalk near you. If interested it is called Craigslist Curb Alerts.

Cheers and happy hunting!

No Nonsense Landlord
No Nonsense Landlord

I have gotten rid of stuff that I was dreading to haul away and put in my dumpster.  All sorts of stuff that tenants leave behind.

TheWriteBudget
TheWriteBudget

I tried to convince my Mom to offer her old couch on Craigslist, but she's too worried about scams and creepers. I've never had luck finding things on there, but it seems to be a great resource for many. Freecycle is similar in that everything is offered by people looking to get rid of stuff at no charge.

DonebyForty
DonebyForty

I've found the really good stuff is often gone right quick, so it helps to be surfing Craigslist like a hawk if you're wanting to really score. Sometimes the sellers looking for $ are willing to work a trade, too, if you have decent stuff you're trying to get rid of...

Aldo @ MDN
Aldo @ MDN

I've been on Craigslist many times and I have never paid attention to the free section.  Thanks for pointing it out.


I'll take a look at it to see what I can find.

Jason @ The Butler Journal
Jason @ The Butler Journal

I haven't had any success getting anything free from Craigslist. People post a lot of useless items here in Atlanta.

blonde_finance
blonde_finance

Wow! I had no idea that you could get that much free stuff from Craigslist, but it makes sense that it would be an easy, free and convenient way to remove large items that you no longer need. There are some items that might freak me out about getting for free (like a hot tub, not sure there is enough chlorine in the world to make me feel comfortable using it), but it's awesome to know they are out there. 

ShannonRyan
ShannonRyan

Great point, DC - people want to get rid of heavy stuff that will cost them money to move or dispose, so they will give away for free. There is probably a fair amount of "junk" in the free section but also some great gems too. And things that Goodwill or the Salvation Army won't take … like a piano or hot tub! :) I always think it's better to try and give it away, rather than throw it away as somebody could use it.

JourneytoSaving
JourneytoSaving

That's great your friends scored a free washer and dryer! I have looked at the free section before, but neither of us has a truck, so we have no way of transporting it easily. I suppose if it were a big ticket item, like washer and dryer, it might pay to rent a truck for $20, as you're still saving a ton! At our old house, we lived on a main road, and it was always amusing to see how long it took for an item at the curb to disappear.

Joshua Rodriguez
Joshua Rodriguez

Hey DC. I've got a friend that pretty much made a business out of free stuff. He generally starts in the free section and finds something or a few things that are decent. Then, he trades those things to people that really want them for something more valuable. In the end, he posts his more valuable, yet still free item on craigslist and attaches a price. People buy the item and he just made money as a broker of sorts. I think it's absolutely awesome!

Andrew LivingRichCheaply
Andrew LivingRichCheaply

I may have to check out the free section more often.  But like you mentioned, the problems is that I have no way of transporting heavy items which make up a lot of the free items.  The salvation army and some other organizations will usually take donations away for free and you get a tax deduction.  Though I'm not sure they want a hot tub...

SenseofCents
SenseofCents

I've never really searched their free section. I may have to do that next time I need something! I have heard of someone searching the free section before and coming across someone who wanted to get rid of their beautiful garden. This person dug everything out and made some great curb appeal for their home, all for free.

DebtChronicles
DebtChronicles

Another thing to keep in mind is the flip side.....Craigslist is also a great way to get rid of stuff for free.  If you're looking to get rid of a TV, washer dryer, and old grill, etc, you typically have to pay to dump it.  You can put it at the end of your driveway with a "free" sign on it, or you could expand your reach via craigslist.  If someone will take it for free, you don't have to pay to get rid of it!

Eyesonthedollar
Eyesonthedollar

I'm convinced people will take anything for free. You wouldn't believe some of the crap we've put by the work dumpster that is always gone the next morning. I have no idea what someone would do with a broken used contact lens display, but they seem to be popular!

Beachbudget
Beachbudget

I'm hoping to score some kind of decent patio furniture when my neighbor leaves with her stuff on either Freecycle or Craigslist. You're right people just often don't want to deal with the hassle of selling stuff. 

theFinancegirl
theFinancegirl

I am a huge Craigslister! I haven't had a lot of success in the free category, but I always get things from the household sections. Once, someone offered to exchange tables with me (I had one up for sale) and it worked out perfectly. I've also had plenty of couches from Craigslist. I think there's something to be said about really searching and haggling on Craigslist - it's a great money-saving took that's for sure!

Laurie TheFrugalFarmer
Laurie TheFrugalFarmer

Wow, DC!!!  I've never noticed this section before!!!  We are in need of a new washer/dryer, so I'll definitely be checking this out: thank you!!!

FrugalRules
FrugalRules

Very cool on your friend getting the free washer & dryer! I knew that you could find things like this on CL, I've just never done much of it as the majority of what I've seen is just random stuff. That said, it's amazing what many give away for nothing and if you can find something decent then it can be well worth it.

DC @ Young Adult Money
DC @ Young Adult Money moderator

@TheWriteBudget Hey, she could always put it out on the curb and she wouldn't have to worry about it.  We put the chest of drawers on the curb and they were gone within a half hour.

DC @ Young Adult Money
DC @ Young Adult Money moderator

@Aldo @ MDN Best of luck!  I think you'll have to look more often than once, though, as stuff gets taken quick on the free section.

DC @ Young Adult Money
DC @ Young Adult Money moderator

@ShannonRyan I definitaley considered just throwing away the heavy chest of drawers in the pic, but then I realized it wasn't too much of a hassle to put it on the curb and let someone else take it.  In fact, it was a lot easier than throwing it away PLUS someone gets to use it!

DC @ Young Adult Money
DC @ Young Adult Money moderator

@JourneytoSaving We have an SUV now but no trailer or anything to fit the really large items.  I think you could make a lot of money if you were willing to transport these things (for a price).  On a side note, that chest of drawers in the picture lasted about 20-30 minutes on our curb before someone grabbed it.

DC @ Young Adult Money
DC @ Young Adult Money moderator

@Joshua Rodriguez I actually was considering giving that a try!  I thought it might make for some good blog content.  One of my parent's neighbors "flips" furniture for a living.  Her garage always has a ton of furniture in it and you can see her refinishing furniture almost every day of the Summer.

DC @ Young Adult Money
DC @ Young Adult Money moderator

@Andrew LivingRichCheaply Haha who knows, maybe they will take a hot tub if it's in working condition?  But yeah, a lot of stuff is heavy and people are just happy to have it taken away (like that heavy chest of drawers in the photo that I got rid of!)

DC @ Young Adult Money
DC @ Young Adult Money moderator

@DebtChronicles Definitely!  The picture for this post is actually something I posted on Craigslist in the free section.  I kid you not it was gone within 20 or so minutes and as soon as it was gone I got an email asking if it was still there.  This stuff goes QUICK.

DC @ Young Adult Money
DC @ Young Adult Money moderator

@Eyesonthedollar I agree!  Free stuff is like an addiction.  There's a lot of decent free stuff on Craigslist and I'm actually glad some people are putting things like dirt or their landscaping rocks on there.  I've been slowly throwing out our landscape rock as we are going to go with mulch, but I can only imagine how many have thrown out some high-quality landscaping rock (ours is definitely NOT high quality).

DC @ Young Adult Money
DC @ Young Adult Money moderator

@Beachbudget I was definitely sad to hear about you losing your backyard oasis.  I think you'll be able to score some decent pieces for free.  The nice thing about patio furniture is that oftentimes it's relatively easy to transfer.

DC @ Young Adult Money
DC @ Young Adult Money moderator

@theFinancegirl Craigslist is great for both the buyer and the seller.  I've sold many things on there, mainly things we've won on giveaways.  I definitely have been willing to lower the price and I now expect counter-offers whenever I post things for sale.

DC @ Young Adult Money
DC @ Young Adult Money moderator

@FrugalRules Yeah they were a VERY nice washer/dryer too, nicer than the ones I have right now!  There seems to be a lot of random stuff but if you're good at browsing through things (which I think defines about every millennial or heavy internet user out there) you can filter out the random stuff and find things that are useful.

Joshua Rodriguez
Joshua Rodriguez

@DC @ Young Adult Money I wouldn't do it personally. The reality is that he makes very little when you work out the hourly wage. Sure, he makes more than his day job, but that's not saying much as a $9 an hour employee. Personally, for a guy like you, I think your time would be better spent elsewhere. Opportunity cost is important!