I LOVE to decorate and I love the challenge of a small budget just as much! It’s also so rewarding to give new life to something that’s headed for the trash. So for my latest project, I’ve taken my second hand shopping to the next level – and learned a lot.
My favourite online second-hand store is Kijiji.
Here are my top 3 tips for finding amazing Kijiji deals;
A few Kijiji finds in the McKay’s living room
HAVE A VISION
It’s hard to find used pieces for a good price that already have the look you want. A few searches on Pinterest will turn up tons of easy DIY projects and before and afters. Here’s an example of a $150 Kijiji find (delivery included!) that I transformed.
So when you’re searching Kijiji, be sure to search for the “before” picture and be prepared to take on a DIY project!
But not everything will need a DIY. Sometimes a bad photo or a dated space will take away from a great find! Just try to imagine your potential finds in a different context. For example, I recently found an accent chair, here’s how it looked in the ad.
Here’s how it looks in my space!
LOOK FOR QUALITY
Not everything is worth the time and effort it takes to shop second hand, this is especially true if you are planning to take on a DIY project. Don’t be afraid to ask the seller tons of questions or go to see an item before you commit to buying.
I’m leery of anything upholstered and triple check that it comes from a clean/smoke free home. Furniture can also look solid in photos but isn’t actually quality. Ask the seller how old the piece is, where they got it and if it’s solid wood. (Tip: veneer finishes don’t always mean lesser quality – I’ve found a few veneered items that were solid construction and painted up beautifully – like the bookcase above and these nightstands – see my Night Stand Upcycle post here)
Most sellers on Kijiji know that everything is negotiable and for the most part the list price is just a guessing game. Some sellers will want an item carried out more than they care to make a dollar – so feel the buyer out.
I think this cabinet was a steal for $50 – I could tell the seller wanted it gone quickly so we moved fast and only offered $10 less than their asking price.
The process also requires some serious patience. If I’m looking for a dresser I’ll search through and immediately rule out any that seem over-priced, then I will ask questions and make a low ball offer to about 2 – 3 sellers. If I’m lucky, a seller will accept, but often nothing will pan out and I will wait a few days for more sellers to post and start over.
There’s a couple times when I don’t negotiate;
- I know the price is already low and the seller is looking to offload immediately (in that case it’s first come first served and its super important to act fast!)
- The item is really rare and I know it could be months before I see something similar again – but it’s still important that the price is reasonable or what’s the point of buying second hand.
The more you buy on Kijiji the more you’ll know when/how to negotiate, but always remind yourself the point is to pay less and don’t be afraid to walk away at any point!
I’ve found that every market is different. Kijiji is broken up regionally and you can widen or narrow your search. I’ve had better luck in more residential, established areas.
GOOD LUCK and happy shopping!!