The Creative Mama » inspiring art, encouraging women

Craigslist the Easy Way

We have just made a move from Virginia to Florida. In fact, I unpacked our final box last night (whew!). Before we left, I began a significant purge. I sold much of the (nice and grown-up) furniture we bought pre-kids: our dining room set, our bedroom suite, living room coffee and end tables and tons more. I used Faceboook and Craigslist and most of the items were scooped up quickly.

In this home, I am working on creating a more personal, functional and family-friendly environment. So, I’ve been replacing the things I sold with more thoughtful choices that reflect our philosophies and hopes. Well, it’s not cheap to do that! We’ve bought some staple pieces new, but I am using Craigslist to scout for items that appeal to my vintage and modern styles and budget.

Along the way, I have picked up a few gems that have made my searching easier. I can’t believe I haven’t known about this all of these years! So here you are Mamas. A few tidbits that you may find helpful if you are looking for something that fits your home and your wallet on my favorite classifieds site:

Craigslist search parameter tips:

Craigslist does offer Boolean search parameters — just differently than other sites. When you add a search term, it automatically includes “AND” for example, if you search for mid-century desk only ads that have both mid-century AND desk will show up.

Want to eliminate something? I wanted to search for kids chairs but not sort through a million high chairs. Use the minus sign in front of the word you want to filter. Your search would look like this kids chair -high.

For exact phrasing, use quotation marks “high chair” if you only wanted high chairs.

My newest discovery — the OR search parameter. I didn’t realize this was an option on Craigslist, but it has made searching MUCH easier. Just add a vertical line/pipe like | (shift +backslash) to signify OR and don’t add a space between terms. Instead of individually searching for vintage armoire, antique armoire and primitive armoire etc. You can do one search for all. It looks like this: vintage|antique|primitive armoire. Your search returns results with any of the descriptors all at once.

Finally you can make complex searches. I have searched for something like:
vintage|antique|primitive|mid-century cabinet|armoire|hutch|credenza -espresso
That gives me any of the furniture items with the any of the vintage descriptors but eliminates ones that are espresso colored.

Craigslist Picture Search

There are a handful of services that offer a visual Craigslist search, but I have finally found one that beats them all! CraigsEasy.com. You install a bookmarklet similar to a Pinterest “pin it” button on your toolbar. After you run your Craigslist search, simply click the bookmarklet and your list of results is magically transformed into a scrollable list of full-size images with Ad titles via a script. It’s Craigslist nirvana. (and nope, there’s no affiliation with them).

Just for fun, here are a few of my recent Craiglist purchases on the top (and a few prospective ones on the bottom!):

If this has been helpful, let us know. And if you have any additional tips or tricks, please share with our readers in the comments. Happy thrifting!

About Stephanie


Stephanie Beaty is a blessed, homeschooling mama of four and military spouse. After a 10-year career as a professional writer/PR pro she began Lifeography, a modern child + family portrait studio where she focuses on capturing relationships and connections. Although her growing family currently resides in Tampa, Fla., home is wherever the Navy sends them.

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  • http://Craigslist Jennifer

    Luv Craigslist

  • Pingback: How to Find a Needle in a Haystack | The House That Craigslist Built

  • Pingback: Craigslist Easy Button | The House That Pinterest Built

  • ingymami

    Thanks for posting. We just purchased a home that needs to be filled and I wish my husband would agree with CraigsList finds. He is afraid of bed bugs. Any advice?

  • http://www.mylemonayde.blogspot.com/ Hayley Penny

    You sound so much like me! I am currently selling impractical furniture and purchasing loved furniture ready to make over. We are moving in 6 months so a smaller, more comfortable home rather than ‘a house’ and cannot wait. We don’t have CraigsList here in Australia so I am using Ebay. It’s nice to read a blog that I can relate to. Thankyou for sharing.

  • Sarah Leone Williams

    I can’t even tell you how happy you have just made me. I have just started a furniture re-furbishing business and Craigslist is my main source. This search info and the easy link is exactly what I have been wishing for but thought couldn’t possibly exist. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  • Andrea Merrigan

    Welcome to Florida. We are in LA (lower Alabama). What part of FL are you in? I’ve tried to find blog meetups in this part of the country but havent had much luck!

  • Kellyl

    Wonderful! I love it, thanks for sharing! I Hope you update us on some of your tips for a family centric house! I love the idea and can’t wait to see what you come up with!

  • Cynthia

    Thank you for the tips. I’ve wondered how I could eliminate the excess posts that are not what what I’m looking for.

  • Melanie

    This is so helpful! Thank you!

  • http://twitter.com/ellingsenphoto Trude Ellingsen

    Super helpful, thank you!

  • http://hannahmayophotography.com/blog Hannah

    This is awesome! Thanks for posting!

  • Ainsley A

    You’re brilliant, my friend! Thanks for sharing:)