My awesome door and the wonders of craigslist trawling

A month ago I made my first actual purchase towards my tiny house, a door. And not just any door, a Therma-Tru Classic-Craft Oak Accugrain Fiberglass Full-Lite Double Glazed door. Okay, that’s not particularly exciting… But I got it for $50 off craigslist (would be >$1000 new) and it’s perfect for my house so I’m excited!

Not quite this grand but certainly better insulated... (2002)
Not quite this grand but certainly better insulated… (2002)

One of the plusses of having quite a while until my build start date (June 5th) is that I get to sift through months of craigslist posts for the good stuff hidden between post after post of free cardboard boxes and suspiciously stained sofas. I’ve been trawling for a couple of months now and, while the door is the first thing I’ve actually purchased, this was more for lack of funds than lack of promising materials… In fact, now that I have some money set aside, I’m already negotiating on some standing seam roofing and cedar fence pickets (for exterior siding), both likely for about 10% of what they would have cost new!

The big question that keeps coming up with craigslist options is how much labor I’m willing to put in to make up for the reduced cost. The door was a steal, but I will have to build a frame for it which would have come standard with a new door. Likewise, I plan to do the floor of my tiny house in free pallets off of craigslist but will need to do quite a bit of labor to make them nice.

To help others out with this, here’s a few links to interesting uses for free/low-cost materials in a tiny house build. I’ll keep the list updated as I find things.

Pallets –
Brown paper bags –
Painted plywood –
Stained plywood –

Cedar fence pickets –
Pallets –

Air-to-air heat exchanger (important if you want to build an airtight house which you will have to vent so you can breath! – more on this in a later post):
Soda cans –

Solar air heater:
Soda cans –

Solar water heater:
Scrap lumber and insulation (if you can find used copper pipe, good on you!) –

DIY solar panel:
Chipped solar cells (lots on Ebay) –


Got any other interesting ideas for using craigslist finds? Please share in the comments!

3 thoughts on “My awesome door and the wonders of craigslist trawling

  1. You made a great point- how much work you are willing to put into a find on Craiglist (or garage sales/thrift stores). I find many deals at the stores well under what I could buy it used sometime too. Thanks for sharing your experience!

    PS thank you for sharing my rustic picket garden shed too

    1. trtn

      Good point about stores sometimes having even better deals than craigslist. I particularly love the Habitat for Humanity Restores. In addition to the money savings, there’s a good feeling that comes with putting something to use that would otherwise go to waste!

      Also, I love your picket garden shed! In fact, I’m planning to side my tiny house in pickets, though horizontal instead of vertical. Thanks for the idea!

      1. I am glad I inspired! Thank you for stopping by. Here the Habitat store is almost an hour away and it really does not have good deals so I browse the clearance aisles of my home stores.

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