How to Find the Best Kijiji Deals

 

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;

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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.

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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.

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Here’s how it looks in my space!

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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)

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NEGOTIATE

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.

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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;

  1. 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!)
  2. 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!

Bonus Tip

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!!

 

Faux Barn Beam DIY Mantel

My sister and her husband moved into a beautiful new house, with the perfect amount of projects! I’ve been busy the last couple months with some amazing DIYs. I’m so excited to share what I’ve been up to!

Their family room has a beautiful brick fireplace, already painted out by the previous owners, but the mantel was pretty underwhelming. The proportion was also off and the mantel seemed to sit a little high.

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I wanted to accomplish two things, bring the height of the mantel down visually (without moving the existing brackets) and bring the wow factor!

What would do the job better than an oversized rustic floating beam!?

I decided to create a faux beam that would fit over the existing brackets and be held in place with just a couple of screws – much easier than a real beam!

First, I took my measurements. I needed the hollow space of the faux beam to fit over the existing brackets. The brackets were 6 ½” in depth and 5 ½” in height. I cut the length of my beam boards to the same length as the existing mantel.

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Each beam board was 7” x 62” x ¾”

I brought a very rough sketch to my local hardware store and they doubled checked my measurement before making the cuts for me. Home Depot is also great at helping with projects like this!

I also cut two pieces for the ends. The depth at 7” and the height at 5 ½” (7” minus the thickness of two boards – 1 ½”)

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Assembly time!

I used wood glue and nails and had lots of assistance holding everything in place when the nails went in. A few sets of hands makes it easier to line all the edges up.

While the glue was drying I watched a couple of Youtube videos on distressing wood and gathered my tools!

Then I went for it!

(The tools and techniques recommended in the YouTube video worked really well!)

I gave the entire beam a good sanding with 220 grit then removed all the dust with a damp rag.

I used Minwax Golden Oak for the stain and applied two coats. Be very liberal with the stain so it’s able to get into the distressing marks and wipe excess off after 5-10 minutes.

To keep the wood looking natural, I sealed it with Minwax Paste Finishing Wax.

The faux beam fit perfectly over the brackets and I secured it in place with a couple of screws.

Although the top of the mantel is technically the same height as before, it’s visually lowered and definitely brings the wow factor the room needed!

Faux Barn Beam

3 Key DIY Art Secrets

1.       Don’t be Original

I consider myself a fairly creative person but I struggle to paint on a whim. I save tons of ideas to Pinterest and always start a painting with an image in front of me. The key however, is not trying to replicate it; you will drive yourself crazy! At a certain point let your own instincts kick in and see where it takes you.

2.       Be Cheap!

Spending a lot on supplies can add pressure. When you feel like you only have one shot to get it right, you probably won’t.  I buy my supplies from the dollar store as much as possible. This also allows me to change it up as much as I want without feeling guilty.

3.       Stage Your Work

If you’re worried about your DIY art looking…well, like DIY art, the trick is to stage it properly. Spend a little more on a nice, timeless frame. Huge white matting makes everything look like it belongs in a gallery. But it’s also okay to embrace the DIY look and take full credit for your work! I think it always makes a space fun and stylish.

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And of course, have fun!!!

Bathroom Vanity Upcycle

Finally! A chance to upgrade dated cabinets! I’ve been waiting for a good bathroom DIY upcycle for awhile!

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The product I used can be applied directly over existing stain to darken it, but because I was trying to take a bleached oak to a grey – it wasn’t that straight forward.

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First, I removed the cabinet doors and hardware to give them a light sanding with a fine 200 grit paper.

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I worked on the inside of the doors before the front to allow for some trial and error (turns out this was a good call!)

After a couple coats (I followed the dry time on the can) I wasn’t getting the exact colour I wanted but I loved the distressed look the bleached oak was creating when it peaked through the stain.

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To deepen the grey, I bought a dark brown stain called Coffee, and topped off my can of grey stain. After two more coats on the back, the colour was right and I was ready to work on the front.

I lightly sanded between coats and fully embraced the distressed look. I applied four coats in total (on each side) and sanded one last time until I was happy with the distressing and gloss.

I spray painted the hardware a blend of copper and bronze (I may replace in the future but I’m happy for now).

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Next, I worked on the vanity frame. It appeared to be a vinyl veneer so I decided not to use the stain but instead match the stain colour with a solid paint. I cleaned it well and gave it a light sanding to help the paint stick.

TIP: Leave as much drying time as possible between the first and second coat, this allows the paint to cure and reduces the chance of chipping. I left three days between coats.

Not much of the frame is visible and once I rehung the finished doors it blended seamlessly!

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A few more projects complete the look (see my how to post on the DIY industrial light fixture and a how to post for the bathroom mirror frame is coming soon)

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Easy Refinishing Cheat – Dresser Makeover

In need of a more functional night table with tons of storage, I decided to give new life to an old and overlooked dresser buried in the garage.

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This dresser was already primed (a forgotten project from the past) so all it needed was a fresh coat of paint and a hardware update, but I wanted to add some additional visual interest.

My plan was to strip the dresser’s top and stain the raw wood but I quickly discovered that the dresser was veneered and there was too much damage to salvage it.

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Really set on a stained wood top, I bought a piece of 1′ craft pine at Home Depot and had them cut it to the correct measurements to fit over the existing top.

I gave it a good sanding and finished with two coats of stain and two coats of sealer.

I used wood glue to adhere it onto the dresser and the result was the paint/stain contrast I envisioned.

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Please leave questions or comments below!

 

3 Easy Steps to Organize Anything!

Blog Photo Organization Post

Interior decorating doesn’t have to be about big spending. I love to look around a space and be reminded of people I love and places I’ve been. But to allow the things you love to shine, organization is key. Keeping clutter to a minimum and out of view can be easier than you think.

I recently helped redecorate a small condo. In such a small space, organization and storage is crucial!

Here is how I created this…

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From this…
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My tried and true 3 step method!

Step One: GROUPING 

I started tackling the bookcase by creating groups or categories; travel, sports, work documents, office supplies…etc. The categories became obvious as I went and almost everything could be placed with at least three other items that were “similar”.

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One category in this case was sports equipment 

Step Two: PURGING 

Once you’ve grouped it’s easy to see duplicates and excess. There was a lot of dated paperwork that needed to be tossed and duplicated office supplies. Who really needs three staplers?

This is also the time to think start thinking about what should be easily accessible and what can be put away in storage (like travel gear you use once a year).

Step Three: FIND A HOME

Baskets, bins and file folders are my best friend! Grouped items were placed in baskets for storage and paperwork was filed away.  It was also time to upgrade some of the furniture for more functional pieces. I found a new coffee table with storage, replaced the bookcase with a hutch I found on Kijiji for $100 and bought a lift bed from IKEA with storage for larger items such as golf clubs and luggage.

 

The hutch was a $100 Kijiji find I painted – a much more attractive and functional storage option

  A new coffee table added some rustic charm and much needed storage for sports equipment 

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The wall shelf created a little extra storage and big design impact (the brackets are plumbing pieces bought at Lowes and the wood was pulled from a dumpster, sanded and stained)