It’s finally spring, and you know what that means—spring cleaning!

We’ve all been there, right? You have some old junk lying around (the bicycle you never ride anymore, the wobbly old end table taking up space in your garage, your super old iPhone), and you want to turn it into some cash!

A yard sale is a great idea, right up until you think about plastering the street in flyers and hauling boxes of DVDs or college textbooks out onto the lawn just so that your neighbors can paw through your stuff.

Why bother with all that hassle, when you can sell your spare stuff online and get it picked up right from your place?

Time to list your stuff for sale on Craigslist! (Or Kijiji, or Gumtree, or whatever the local equivalent is in your area). Craigslist is kind of the original in the US and Canada for local online selling, but there are plenty of variations worldwide for this sort of thing!

These sites are all different, but they have the same goal: helping you list your stuff to sell online, so you can clear out space and make some extra money.

Luckily we’re here to help you learn how to sell your old stuff locally online, and protect your privacy at the same time. Just follow our four simple steps!

Step 1: Disposable phone number

This part is simple: get a disposable phone number for Craigslist.

We love Hushed numbers, obviously, but in the interest of full disclosure: any phone number could be used for online selling. If you really wanted to, you could even use your normal cell phone number… but why would you do that?

Do you really want to share your real phone number with random strangers on the internet?

We didn’t think so!

To get set up with a Hushed disposable number, you’ll want to make an account in the app. Then you can use the “Get New Number” menu to choose a number. Hushed numbers include all the benefits and features of a conventional phone number, such as calling, texting, and voicemail. You can even set up auto-replying SMS text messages! This is great because it means you won’t have to manually reply to every incoming text.

We recommend getting a number in the same area code you are trying to sell your items in. If you’re selling a bicycle in Dallas, it’s a little weird to have a New York area code.

Hushed numbers, like many virtual numbers, are VoIP (Voice over IP) which means that calls and texts are made through the internet using WiFi instead of your cell phone line. This is great for privacy because it means that there’s no connection between your cell phone number and your disposable phone number! Reverse phone lookup won’t work with your temporary number either, so if people search for your Hushed number they won’t be able to find out any personal information about you.

And remember to get a number that will last you a few days, since it may take time for your listings to pick up steam. A ten-minute number is not ideal here.

We would recommend a Hushed number on a 7 Day Plan (it’s only $1.99) to start with, and you can always extend your number to last longer if your sales are going slowly.

Step 2: Post your stuff!

Blank craigslist posting template

Most of these websites have optimized the posting process to be as simple as possible. With Craigslist, all you need to do is make an account and start listing your items.

Items with images are much more likely to sell. Concise, accurate descriptions will get your listings more responses overall. Keep it short if you can: people hate to read long, wordy ads. The buyers who are really interested would rather talk to you directly so they can ask specific questions.

Make sure to explain what the item you’re selling is, how long you’ve had it, and the reason for the sale. Definitely mention any damage or defects. That’s usually not a dealbreaker for used items, but you want to make sure buyers know exactly what it is they’re buying, so nobody feels cheated.

Don’t forget to use a catchy title on every listing!

Step 3: Stay safe online and keep your privacy secure

Huffington Post wrote an excellent article about this very subject, called How to Sell Things on Craigslist and Not Get Murdered, which is a quick read and full of great tips. That said, the basics are pretty simple:

  • Never list your full name or your address on the ad. You may choose to disclose some information (like your first name) once you’re in contact with a potential buyer, but until then, keep it private.
  • Avoid specifics. Saying you are located “on the west side” or “near downtown” is enough information for most buyers.
  • If someone is making you uncomfortable, stop talking to them. You don’t need that kind of stress in your life.
  • Don’t give out personal information if you can help it.
Conversation between two phone numbers arranging the sale of a bicycle while using Hushed temporary disposable phone numbers

You can’t play around with your personal safety and privacy, which is why that disposable number is so key.

If someone contacts you about a potential sale and you pick up a weird vibe from them—or if they’re being aggressive or rude —you can easily block them and prevent future contact.

Step 4: Close the sale

Once you’ve got your ad up online, just wait for that disposable number to ring—and if you’ve set up a good listing, you shouldn’t have to wait too long.

Arrange pickup so that you’re not alone when the buyer comes by (have a friend with you if at all possible or make sure your friends/roommates are at home). Or better yet, meet the buyer in a neutral location, like a mall or coffee shop, if your items are small and easy to transport.

Use cash for all purchases; accepting credit cards or debit may seem convenient, but it’s also potentially an avenue for being scammed, and we strongly advise against it. And that goes double for anyone who promises to send a check in the mail!

But what about that disposable number?

Once your sale is complete, you can burn your Craigslist phone number any time. This ensures that you’ll stop getting incoming calls and texts from potential buyers. If you’re using a Hushed number, then just delete it from your account and it will disappear immediately.

Or, if you want to keep selling and make this quick Craigslist adventure into a permanent side-hustle, you could hang onto your second number even longer. Just use the “Extend Number” menu to retain your number for future use.

Whether you’re doing it just for spring cleaning, or if you want to keep selling all year round, you can’t go wrong with a disposable phone number for Craigslist or any other online venture.