Decor & DIY

#SecondHandSeptember its a thing!

Ever thought how many items you have bought in your life that you have only used once or twice, simply discarding them afterwards? I love the idea of being more conscious about what I buy, but at the other end rather selling items that you do not use online rather than simply discarding them.

Even though I have shopped plenty of secondhand furniture before, the idea of shopping for pre-loved clothing was quite new for me. Bestie, Match Set Love introduced me to the concept of thrifting clothes when I visited her in The Netherlands. There are so many beautiful stores there that sell secondhand clothing items there, some that even have tags on still! I bought name label items for a fraction of what they normally retail for in perfect condition and even some clothes for the kids.

I came back after my visit and started looking for thrift stores in South Africa. One of the first that I stumbled across (and have bought from a few times) is a shop filled with pre-loved clothes for kids and maternity wear for expecting moms. Then I also discovered a number of locally-based Instagram pre-loved clothing stores that I now follow.

Tips for secondhand shopping

  1. Make a list of what you need so that you don’t get distracted and can focus on what you came to look for.
  2. Establish a budget – make sure you know what you are willing to spend and know what the new version of the item retails for before you start shopping.
  3. Get comfy, shopping secondhand often takes a little longer than shopping for new items, do not try to do it in a hurry, take your time. If you decided to thrift at physical stores, invite a friend for a thrift date!
  4. Know where to shop. I share a small list below, but if you are unsure ask people or look for stores that people have bought from or that you know are reputable.
  5. Only buy items that you really love. A lot of the time the items purchased are not refundable especially on clothing. Make sure that you read and understand the store’s policies before you shop to decide whether you are comfortable with the T&Cs of your purchase.
  6. If you find a decor piece that has a few chips or scratches do not just overlook it. You might be able to with some simply DIY skills update it and make it beautiful again! (Like the princess’ beautiful headboard I purchased and re-painted via Facebook Marketplace. Image by Melanie Wessels Photography)
  7. Stay safe – I either visit a physical store or have items couriered or alternatively have my husband with me and meet up with someone in a public place when something is bought or delivered. Couriering items has become really convenient and is also not that expensive.

Vintage headboard bought via Facebook Marketplace

Beautiful thrift clothing and decor shops that I follow in SA

  • afraidofmicect – a vintage shop in Long Street Cape Town filled with precious gems.
  • Alive.Well.SA Liandi sells floral and vintage decor and clothing items and has an eye for beautiful design.
  • huntressjozi – Designer clothes, shoes, bags – gently worn. They also have a physical store in Craighall, Johannesburg.
  • Plantation Revival sells greenery as well as cane and rattan furniture as well as mid century pieces, there is also a physical store in Linden, Johannesburg.
  • Retrend These lovilees sells mid century modern furniture. They are a gem of a store and also have a physical store at the Rand Steam Shopping Centre in Johannesburg.
  • secondhandnews.thrift Curated secondhand and vintage clothing.
  • Thrift Happens A lovilee collection of pre-loved clothing and accessories.
  • Unfold Preloved Quality, lightly used, pre-loved clothing & gear for children and ladies.
  • Yaga is an online secondhand marketplace for clothing only where you can buy and sell pre-loved items on.

This cupboard is also a secondhand find of a friend of a friend who immigrated and it Sparks Big Joy in my home!

Decluttering 101

A book that has helped me is ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up’ by Marie Kondo. It has step by step instructions on how you can decide which items to keep and which ones to let go of. Read more about my journey and Tips to declutter and organizing your life in this post.

Selling your pre-loved items online – Declutterthon 2020

Gumtree is one of the biggest and most loved secondhand platforms in South Africa and is encouraging locals to take part in their Declutterthon. I didn’t know this about Gumtree, but the company was founded in 2000 by a due who wanted to connect Australians, New Zealanders and South Africans who were planning to move or who had just arrived in a new city with items to get their homes furnished and new lives started. They launched the platform in 2005 here in SA and were acquired by the eBay classifieds group later in the year. They are now the 6th largest website in South Africa, reaching 18% of the population every month making it the perfect platform to buy or sell used goods.

We’ve spent more time at home this year than ever, so there is no better time than the present to List it, or Lose it. If you list your pre-loved items on between 17 September and 12 November 2020 you automatically get entered to #win your share of R100k in prizes. Prizes range from SweepSouth, UberEats and Checkers vouchers to cash prizes. 1 Gumtree Ad = 1 Entry. And the person who lists the most items during this period will be rewarded with a R50 000 grand prize at the end of the Campaign!

Traditionally the challenge for #SecondHandSeptember is to only buy secondhand for a one month period. I’m a bit late to the party, but why not try making a conscious decision to purchase at least one pre-loved decor or clothing item this month instead of a new one? An alternative is to give new life to an item that you already love, by selling it or by upcycling it to give it a second life!

PS: Someone to follow locally that does a lot of thrifting herself is @misseschloe.

Thumbnail: Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

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Karen Kelly is the founder and editor of She is a creative at heart and passionate about all things DIY. Learn more about her here and connect with her on social media on the links below.

1 Comment

  1. What a lovely article KaRi! Yes, I love finding second hand items, I honestly have more luck in second hand stores than on the mainstreet… maybe because someone already picked it all out 🙂 Some of my favourite items in my wardrobe is all second hand. Here in the Netherlands (also France, Belgium & Spain) we have an app called Vinted and it is fabulous for buying and selling second hand clothes. It’s just amazing….

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