Making the Most of Facebook Marketplace

Only been a year since my last blog post, not bad! Yikes. I’ve made a goal of committing more to this space this year, and I’m starting by talking about one of the things I get asked about most – how I find so many great things on Facebook Marketplace.

When I first started to refinish furniture, Craigslist was the name of the game. I got almost everything there. But in the 5 or so years I’ve been doing this, things have completely switched over to Marketplace. It’s definitely safer and more convenient. I can’t math, but I would have to guess that well over 70% of the furniture and antiques in my house are Marketplace finds. From my very favorite antique coffee table (an INCREDIBLE $20 find), my mantel headboard ($20), my giant antique white armoire ($75), to even my antique bathroom sink ($25), there is not a room in the house that hasn’t been touched by Facebook Marketplace.

This cabinet and basket are both from the Marketplace. At $100, the cabinet was definitely at the high end of my normal Marketplace buys, but I’d been looking for over a year for a piece to hide our giant TV, and this does the trick! There is a nearly identical basket to this one at our local antique store, and it’s priced at $110. This one was $5!
My favorite find ever! This antique European table was only $20.

So you might be thinking “great for you, but there’s NOTHING on my Marketplace,” because I hear that from people all the time. To be fair, I do live in a great area for antiques and vintage finds. That doesn’t mean there aren’t great things in your area, but you may just have to work a little harder to find them. So without further ado, here are some of the tips that have worked for me.

1. Consistency

Ok, so I’m not saying you need to be a Marketplace stalker…buuuttt….well, yeah, actually I am. I check the Marketplace several times a day. Now, does that mean that I’m spending several minutes scrolling each time and searching through every category? No, absolutely not. But I do at least open Marketplace a few times a day to see what the most recent and top finds for me are. The good stuff often goes FAST, so if you’re only checking every few days there’s likely a lot you’ve missed. If you’re opening your Marketplace a few times a day and what you’re seeing isn’t any good or doesn’t seem relevant, you may need to focus on this next part.

2. Train Your Marketplace

Just like all social media these days, the Facebook Marketplace operates by an algorithm. That means it shows you what it THINKS you want to see. So there are a few things you can do to help Marketplace help you and to “train” it to show you what you want to see. First of all, search for things you want to see and CLICK on them…if you’re looking for an antique armoire, search for one and open anything good that comes up, even if it’s way out of your search area or is a million dollars. I often search for things outside of my preferred travel radius just so I can show Marketplace what I want. The flipside to this is that you need to be a little careful about what you click on. For instance, if you click on something just because it looks funny or weird, or WHATEVER, be prepared to see your algorithm change. For instance, I once opened a post for some eggs (I have NO idea why, I think I just thought they were pretty, ha!) and this is what my Marketplace looked like.

I had clicked on the bottom left picture, and the next time I went to Marketplace, this is what popped up.

3. Broaden Your Search Terms

This is probably a no-brainer to most people, and I know other bloggers have talked about it, but make sure that if you’re looking for something you search for all its possible names. To run with the antique armoire idea, make sure you search for “antique cabinet,” “vintage cupboard,” “old closet,” etc. People call the same item all sorts of things, even if they’re wrong, ha! So cover your bases.

The cabinet, doll house and table were all from Marketplace. The cabinet was only $75!

4. Think Outside the Box

If you’re looking for antiques, obviously your best bet is to look in the “antiques” category, and then probably furniture. However, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and a lot of people don’t consider their “old junk” to be antiques. Do you know where some of the best stuff is hiding? In the “Tools” and “Garden” categories! In the tools category you’ll find everything from beautiful old workbenches to antique cubbies to cool old chippy tool boxes. In the garden category you’ll find terra cotta planters with awesome patina, chippy lawn décor, concrete benches, and of course, beautiful plants! You probably won’t strike gold every time, but it’s always worth the look.

I quickly looked at the Tools category and Garden category and found all these.

5. Act Now, Think Later

Ok, so maybe not the best advice, but hear me out. Like I said earlier, the good stuff on Marketplace often goes really fast. So if you’ve been looking for something and think you’ve found “the one,” you can’t think on it for very long, if at all. But beyond that, there’s a few things you can do to try to seal the deal. First of all, if possible, don’t ask questions. Now obviously, if you have a very specific space to fill and there are no dimensions listed, you can ask for dimensions. BUT don’t write someone and just ask “Is this available?” because there’s a good chance that 10 other people are writing them the same thing. If you really, really want something you’ve got to go in for the kill. My messages often go something like this: “Hi! I will take this if it’s still available. I can pick up today or at your convenience tomorrow. I can Paypal you right now or bring cash at pickup.” VERY occasionally, if it seems like they have someone else who is interested but hasn’t committed, I”ll offer a little bit more money. I don’t make a habit of this because I’ve been on the other end of this where I thought something was “mine” and someone else has swooped in and offered more money, and it sucks. But if this is “THE ONE,” sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do!

Jumped on this cabinet for $60.
The dresser and sign are both from the Marketplace. The dresser was only $20!

So there they are! My “secrets” for finding the best Marketplace has to offer. Happy hunting! And if you’ve found something really great on Marketplace, I’d love to hear about it below!

  • Natalie Dayton
    Posted at 19:29h, 03 February

    These are such good tips! You find so many good things on Facebook marketplace’ Thanks for sharing!!

    • Lauren
      Posted at 19:32h, 03 February

      Thanks for reading, Natalie!

  • Kathleen Harris
    Posted at 19:32h, 03 February

    Great tips for Market place searches! Thank you! You have found gold!!

    • Lauren
      Posted at 19:33h, 03 February

      I’ve been pretty darn lucky, that’s for sure!

  • Kalyn Denno
    Posted at 20:52h, 03 February

    Such wonderful tips! Especially like the algorithm one! So smart!

    • Lauren
      Posted at 21:41h, 03 February

      Thanks so much for reading, friend! I’m always trying to perfect that dang algorithm!

  • Rhonda Spence
    Posted at 22:14h, 03 February

    Great post. I was able to get a dresser this weekend over 50 other people. Now I need to paint it myself or hire you to do that. It was a bargain for $30. I’ll PM you.

    • Lauren
      Posted at 23:21h, 03 February

      Wow! Over 50, that’s impressive!

  • Jill Mason
    Posted at 00:20h, 04 February

    Yes to #5!!! That’s how I got a stack of flat file drawers. Everyone else wanted dimensions, more pictures, etc. I knew they would fit in my truck so that was an automatic “I’ll take them”! Thanks for sharing your tips!

    • Lauren
      Posted at 15:27h, 05 February

      Yes!! That’s the way to do it! Awesome!!

  • Emily Cleverly
    Posted at 03:13h, 04 February

    Your finds are amazing! No time to type, must go to marketplace. Bye ?

    • Lauren
      Posted at 15:28h, 05 February

      Hahahaha, good luck friend! Thanks for reading!

  • Amanda La Count-Sawinski
    Posted at 15:23h, 05 February

    LAUREN! Thank you for this post. I have a laundry list of items I am always on the look out for. I followed your advice and found a old ladder to put in our baby girls nursery for $10 the day after searching and clicking like you advised. Can’t wait to get it finished and in it’s new home. Thanks again!

    • Lauren
      Posted at 15:29h, 05 February

      Omg!!! This just made my whole day!! So awesome. You should send me a pic when it’s up!!