Craigslist "Free"

I tried listing a grill and a bunch of old patio furniture on the Craiglist "free" section the other day.  I had no experience with the site, but the amount of hassle to try to sell these items, which are incredibly bulky, was really high compared to their value.  Anyway, I simply listed them as sitting beside my driveway and that anyone who wanted was welcome to take anything they wanted.  I chose a good weather period with the anticipation that they might sit outside for several days.

My son and I left for lunch and 45 minutes later it was all gone -- every one of 20 or so pieces.  Piranhas probably take longer to fully strip a cow carcas.


  1. Douglas2:

    In the Craigslist region where I live, people have placed rants on Craigslist about going to check out a free "curbside" listing, picking it up, and then being stopped by the police for theft. Apparently the law-enforcement theory is that if it's on the curb it becomes property of the waste management service.

    I spotted these last fall when metals prices were still high.

    Silly, I know.

    I seem to recall that some of the Freecylce lists I've been on discouraged "it's outside, pick it up" because they thought that might facilitate anonymous harassment -- "Gee I hate looking at my neighbor's old camper, maybe I'll just post a FREE ad just after they leave for work..."

  2. Kyle Bennett:

    I do this every so often as well. The value of a large and/or heavy item that I have no use for is actually negative, so by letting someone take it away for free, I am still coming out ahead on the deal. We had a yard sale recently and tried to "give" away a lot of bulky stuff and get a few bucks in the process. One woman paid $5.00 for a large shelving unit, took the shelves home and promised to come back for the frame. She never did, now we have a shelving frame that we can't even give away, and will have to pay the garbage men extra to haul off some day.

  3. paul:

    I can do this in my neighborhood, and don't even need to list the stuff on craigslist.

  4. Esox Lucius:

    Craigs list is about the worst piece of software that I have ever seen but it works pretty well. I think that there could be a small hobby business in the arbitrage trade between Craigs list and Ebay. It has been my observation that things sell for more on ebay and that you can be reasonably sure what something will sell for based on what like items sold for in the past.

  5. Xmas:


    There are plenty of people that can make money on the difference between yard sale prices and Ebay prices. I have a couple of friends that re-assemble classic board games by making a single excellent condition set out of several well-worn sets found at yard sales.

  6. Rick C:

    I've never lived anywhere where if you put something on the curb, it didn't disappear quickly. A coworker told me he put a dresser out a while back. He'd brought the carcass out, then made several trips to get the drawers out too. While he was inside getting the last one, someone took the rest of it.

  7. Martin R.:

    When we bought our house 5 years ago it had a new white picket fence in the front yard that we disliked, but didn't do anything about. I planned to rip it out the first time I had to paint it, but the paint didn't fade. Last Saturday my wife declared she was sick of it and listed it on craigslist for free. All the person had to do was take it down. I scoffed, but two people called within 20 minutes, and the first caller was over the next day. They took the sections between the posts out first, and then cleanly sawed all the posts off at ground level and took those away too. Our only regret is we didn't do it 5 years earlier!

  8. Hammer:

    Yea, Craigslist is great for getting rid of stuff. My wife sold of nearly all of our old used furniture from when we got married for quite a profit, all within about a month of posting. Being able to liquidate your old stuff so fast is great.
    Of course, before we discovered it we had an old oven, cook top and water softener, all defunct, taken off our porch after a few weeks (with permission) so perhaps we are just in a good area.

  9. SecondGuesser:

    I did the same with a BBQ grill once. It was gone within an hour of posting it. I even got an email back saying that it was cooking up a steak nicely.