Welcome to Week 3 of the One Room Challenge, where we are currently making over our daughters room into a gorgeous Peruvian themed girls bedroom! In case you missed the last two weeks, you can catch up here: Week 1 – The Before Photos and Week 2 – The Inspiration for the Room.
This week I wanted to share with you how we’ve gone about acquiring some of the items we are using for my daughters bedroom makeover. Normally during a typical One Room Challenge, we only have six weeks to share everything and we often end up running out of time to really go into details about various products that we got and from where, etc, etc. I find myself focusing normally more on the bigger details in the challenge like construction work or paint colours and things like that.
But because we’ve been gifted two extra weeks because of the current state of the world, I thought I would take some time today to talk about thrifting, and more specifically, online thrifting.
I’ve been a huge thrifter for years now – I’d like to say it started way back when I was a kid and would go yard sale-ing with my mom! Buying second hand was never taboo in our home – in fact, it’s how my parents saved a lot of money for our family, allowing us to spend more money on things like travel.
Early on in our marriage, we weren’t making a lot of money and so I really didn’t have a ton of options when setting up our home – it was either shop sales and clearance or shop second hand. I will say, 15 years ago, thrift shopping wasn’t as trendy or socially acceptable as it is now, so I didn’t necessarily talk about it that often. But trust me when I say, I’ve been doing it for years!
Fast forward to the last few months when Covid-19 became a world wide pandemic, everything started shutting down everywhere, including here in Ontario, Canada. I remember thinking ahead and wondering what would happen with this One Room Challenge – so I tried to grab a couple of things that I knew I would need, mainly paint, because I feared that it would all shut completely down and leave us with little to no options.
I didn’t have time though to get to the decor and furniture stores to really source what I wanted. Also, because so many places were shutting down, not many brands wanted to partner up. And because I figured money would likely be getting a little tight, I didn’t want to spend it all online on high end products. So I knew it was time to get creative and take my thrifting online.
In the years past, I’ve talked about shopping on Kijiji – an online Canadian second hand sellers site where the seller posts their items and you can direct message them, making them offers and then setting up the transaction. I created a whole hot chocolate bar for the kids using solely thrifted items from Kijiji Canada and I absolutely LOVE the way it turned out!
This time around, I decided to try out Facebook Marketplace. I had success listing a few items on there last year and was reminded of it by an ad I saw for it on Facebook, of all places. I started scouring the site every day, sometimes, multiple times a day, to see what I could find.
I’m excited to share with you three big pieces that I got from Facebook Marketplace but before, I do, I want to share four tips I have when thrifting online. Online thrifting is a little bit more like going to a yard sale, except you don’t get to see the item in person. But how it’s similar is that you get to look at all the items the people are offering and then YOU get to make an offer to the seller. As thrifting has grown in popularity over the last number of years, so have thrifted prices. I’m always SHOCKED to see what a thrift store gets away with charging for goods. The craziest to me is when the ORIGINAL price of the good when it was a new product is still on it (this happens mostly with dollar store items) and then the thrift store puts a HIGHER second hand price tag on it. Like what the heck?!
So here are my four best practice tips when thrifting online:
Four Best Practice Tips for Thrifting Online
1. Check Often
Items are constantly being listed online – whether it’s Facebook, Kijiji, Craigslist, etc. Because people have the luxury of posting any time during the day or night, the items listed up for sale are always changing. So when you are looking for something specific, make sure to keep checking OFTEN. I’m talking at least once a day, if not more.
2. Change Your Search Words
Because not everyone is always well versed in the proper names for Items, often times, sellers will list their items incorrectly. Take for instance when I made over this credenza on my Instagram page. Truthfully, I’m not even sure if it’s officially called a credenza or not. Some have called it a bookshelf, some call it a sideboard, some call it a buffet, some even card it a cabinet. If I only searched for credenza, I may never have found it. Same with my current search for night stands for my daughters room. I keep changing up the words in my search from night stands, to side tables, to small table to nesting tables. And every single time I search with a new word, new items come up!
Unlike when you shop in an actual thrift store, you can often negotiate directly with the seller when buying second hand online. From my experience, I’ve found that most sellers are willing to negotiate, within reason. If they aren’t willing, the item will often have the word “FIRM” written on it and in that case, don’t even bother asking for a lesser price as that will likely upset the seller.
I know that negotiating isn’t always comfortable for people, but my thoughts are why not just ask and see. Usually I will try to figure out what I think a comparable product is worth brand new to determine if I think I want to spend that amount of money on the item or not. Once I have, then I’ll approach them with a reasonable offer. 9 time out of 10, they will say yes or counter offer with another price, usually somewhere between what you offered and what their original price was. And then there are times where they will just come back and say no – the price is as it is – and that’s when you have to decide how badly you want the item and if it’s worth it for you.
4. Look Past the Item and See the Potential
As someone who doesn’t shy away from my own DIY’s, this one comes naturally to me, but I recognize that it doesn’t for everyone. When buying items second hand online, you don’t always get a choice in the exact colours or construction of an item. But if it’s similar enough to what you had in mind, make an offer and DIY it! Especially because you aren’t paying full price, it’s worth putting a little elbow grease into the item to make it more like what you had in mind!
The perfect example I have of this is actually the first item I purchased on Facebook Marketplace for my daughter’s room makeover – her bed!
I had seen this gorgeous white and cream bed with canning online but when I looked at the price, it was going to be over $2,000 with tax and shipping. There was just no way I could justify that kind of money right now on just a bed frame (we still need to get a new mattress and all new linens as she’s going from a queen bed down to a twin).
So I decided to scour the internet for a similar shaped bed that I could buy second hand and makeover myself. It was really hard – I couldn’t find much with canning, so I expanded my search into rattan – which I still feel has a very Peruvian flare to it. And this is what I found on Facebook for $170! It’s solid wood with rattan and I love the shape of it. There’s also enough room underneath the bed to build a trundle bed, which we were always planning to build because our daughter is downsizing from a queen to a twin bed, to allow for more space in her room.
It’s not pretty – YET – but once I get my hands on it, it WILL BE! And what’s even more exciting is that I saved myself $1800+ by buying this second hand AND I helped another family by lining their pockets, especially during such an uncertain season.
The next item that I found was this wood bookshelf (the smaller one) for $30. I like the shape of it and the legs on it and it will be perfect for my daughter to display some of her items as well as keep her books in. We will obviously have to give it a good coat of paint but I think once we do, it will look brand, spanking new!
The third item that I picked up for my daughter Peruvian bedroom was this desk for $40. It does have drawers, they just aren’t pictured in this first picture, btw. I knew this one was a little rough on the wear but I figured again with a bit of elbow grease, it would be good. I sent my hubby to pick this one up and I will say, of the three pieces, I was a little underwhelmed with this one when I saw it. It’s smaller than I imagined, even with the measurements, and it’s actually in REALLY rough shape. So I’m not 100% sure if it will work in the space, but even if it doesn’t, I didn’t break the bank to get it and I’m sure I can reuse it elsewhere, worst case scenario.
And that my friends is our update for Week 3 of the One Room Challenge, along with my four best practice tips for thrifting online. Our world is going through such a weird pandemic right now and while some stores are slowly reopening, things are not as they used to be. On top of that, many families are struggling to provide for their own, and so I really like the idea of helping others by buying their second hand goods, knowing that it’s helping another family who is potentially in need.
Make sure to come back next week to see Week 4 update – I promise I will have some work done in the room to share!
Love & Blessings,