He emailed me for Craigslist Tips, probably because I'm obsessed with it. Here's what I told him. . .
I love Craigslist and have found so much of our furniture on it! I've got a headboard, foot board, chandelier, bench, dresser, chest, mirrors . . . You name is and I've probably bought/tried to buy if off CL. Tristan says I have to stop bringing home other peoples' furniture.
Like you don't look at other city's listings just for fun!
I pretty much follow the tips on this blog post: http://loveandrenovations.com/2012/02/craigslist-tutorial/
It basically tells you some general stuff, especially to use the website CraigsEasy which lets you search Craigslist by photos (which is SO helpful).
When I go to CL, I just make sure I'm using the Chicago site (http://chicago.craigslist.org/) and then I typically search the South Chicagoland (just because I'm lazy and never willing to drive too far to pick something up), and to do that, I just click 'sox' up at the top middle of the page. You guys might want to click 'ncn' for North Chicagoland. It all just depends how far you're willing to go. My sister just searches all of Chicagoland, and then decides if she's willing to travel based on how much she likes the piece.
Once you narrowed down your area, then you want to pick your category (under the 'For Sale' heading). For wardrobes, you guys are going to want to choose 'furniture.' One of the most helpful tips I got, is once you click furniture, choose 'by owner' on the following page. This weeds out all the millions of 'dealers' who are trying to sell you their overpriced stuff and trying to get you to go to their stores. Searching stuff from dealers is fine, but it's going to cost more and usually the posts are bombarded with a bunch of photos of their inventory. Lame.
Once you find something you like, email the seller right away! Even if you're not sure yet! That way, at least they know you're interested and it might keep you above somebody else that emails later. You can always change your mind, but at least you give yourself a chance (the good stuff goes fast).
Also, never, never, never, pay full price! You really don't have to, so might as well just save a couple of extra dollars. Whenever I see something I like, I email the seller, and my email usually just says, "I saw your xxx post on Craigslist. I would like to know if xxx is still available. Also, I would like to know if the price is negotiable. If so, would you accept $XX as the price). Usually, I only offer $10 less then they have listed, but I haven't had anyone turn me down yet. Every little bit helps!
Totally could have got this for at least $5 less if I would have asked!
I got a chest off CL that I paid full price for ($30), and I know I could have at least got it for $25, but I was so excited I just emailed the lady and was like "I want it, I can get it tonight!" I should've told her I'd pay $25. Oh well.
That's another thing. Sometimes sellers will sell to you, over other people, if you're willing to pick it up sooner than other people. I try to go pick my stuff up the day of or no longer than about 3-4 days after I told the seller I want it. Usually it works out, because there's like 1-2 days of email correspondence (although, some sellers email super quick), so it's end up giving you enough days to get to a weekend or a day you have free.
If you see something you're really interested in, but not sure, feel free to ask the seller if you can stop by and see it. This is totally normal and happens all the time. Make sure to bring cash with you though, because if you look at it and like it, chances are you can buy it on the spot.
And, depending on the area or if I'm going after work/if it's late at night, I sometimes try to make sure I have somebody to go with me. It helps if I know I'm picking up heavy furniture, and sometimes it makes me feel better about going to a stranger's house.
Here's another blog post about using CL (although not nearly as helpful as the first one) :http://www.younghouselove.com/2012/07/ok-ok-im-on-the-train/
One more good one: http://www.simpleorganizedliving.com/2011/06/22/craigslist-101-how-to-buy-successfully/
Well, those are all the tips I have! Hopefully, it'll help you find something good! And if you don't find anything in your area, then totally check the south Chicagoland because it has all kinds of stuff.