This is how I save time with advanced search options on craigslist.org.
I am always busy and little time to waste. When searching craigslist say for music gear, I save a lot of time by filtering the search.

craigslist how to filter search results

Most things are best explained with an example. Let’s assume that I am searching for studio monitors. There are two ways to approach the search.
The first way is to not go to the musical instrument category and instead search the “all category” which lists, well, everything.
Why would I want to do that?
Based on my experience, some people place their items in the wrong category. Again, if I am searching for studio monitors then it could be possible that they were posted in electronics. If true, then I will find them but few others will because musicians look only in the musical instruments category.

How to narrow the search

The second way is to go to the expected category but narrow the search. Craigslist has a search filed and using it saves me a lot of time. As my needs change, I look for different things and right now, I am searching for a pair of studio monitors in excellent condition. To find them faster, I type this into the search field.

studio monitors

Then I go to “options” and select the price range. I know that an average pair of studio monitors costs around $300 – $1000 per monitor in the music store. Because of that, I enter 300 – 600 into the options > minimum maximum price fields. This way, I get a good starting point and find what I need in just minutes.

craigslist.org search tips and tricks

Let’s say that I just want to see what’s out there but I don’t want any brass or wind instruments. I also don’t want any acoustic pianos and string instruments. Again, here is how I would search:

-clar* -flut* -sax* -trump* -grand* -upright -antique -viol* -wtb

The above line means that no clarinets, flutes, saxophones and so on will be listed. Furthermore, if you look at the “-viol*” entry, you see that I didn’t specify -violin as a full word. The asterisk * covers both, violin and viola.

Bookmark your search for next time

In time, you will find some very good search terms of items that you don’t want. Once you have that perfect mix, simply bookmark it. This saves a lot of time. On the next visit, simply open the bookmark instead of starting from scratch. Don’t forget to refresh the search!

Saving time with advanced search on craigslist works for everything they list. If you need a computer desk, then search furniture and specify what you don’t want to find. Set a price range to further eliminate the items which you wouldn’t buy because of the cost and you are set.

Know your prices

Here in vancouver, craigslist items can be more expensive than amazon.ca
The other day I was looking for a second audio interface and noticed that some where priced unusually high. A quick search on amazon.ca revealed that the exact same item is actually cheaper then listed on craigslist.

Visit your local music store website to find the retail price of the equipment you need and the go on the hunt. Depending on where you live, you could save about half the cost when buying second hand. Even if a craigslist ad asks for a high price, you can offer what you think is fair. After all, it’s not like there are many buyers out there. Eventually, the seller will adjust their asking price and sell.

Good luck hunting.

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