Second-hand shopping: how to buy and sell online

Hello, welcome back to my blog!

Today I am going to share with you my best tips and tricks on how to buy great second-hand bargains.

Here I will show you my best second-hand shopping hacks and how to buy and sell online like a pro.

I first started buying second hand when I was in Italy and I wanted a nice retro looking wardrobe for my bedroom. I couldn't find anything I liked in the local stores selling brand new furniture so I decided to hunt the perfect piece in some vintage shops. I actually found a lovely one in a second-hand store outside my town and it was very cheap but in pristine conditions.

Since then, my passion for antiques kept growing and shopping in second-hand shops near me became a habit.

The vintage wardrobe I bought for my house in Italy

It is not only about the fact that second-hand shops prices being considerably lower.

Sometimes beautiful vintage pieces can be very expensive, especially for rare antiques or designer items. It is more about the thrill of the hunt, the satisfaction of owning something special that has history and personality.

People assume that buying something "old" means paying for the poor quality but it couldn't be farther from the truth.

If you want to know more perks of buying second hand, check this article:

The advantages of buying preloved items

Nowadays it is difficult to find products that are meant to last, in fashion as well as home decor and furniture, while decades ago fabrics and materials were carefully selected to last a lifetime.

I still have some amazing pieces of clothing and jewellery for the 80s that my mum used to wear and they look incredibly new even after many years of wear.

My mum's 100% wool vintage jumper

Now if you buy a new jumper you can be grateful if it will survive a couple of years, however, it usually bobbles and loses its shape after a few washes (including designer pieces in some cases).

The same applies to furniture. If you are not willing to invest in good quality second-hand pieces and you can't afford to spend an actual fortune for a new, well-made piece of furniture the only alternative is to buy from Ikea. Absurd!

In my opinion, it is a much better investment in purchasing vintage in good conditions. You have the price of the high street with outstanding quality as well as the perk of being more environmentally friendly.

Fashion is one of the most polluting industries on the planet, so if I can find high quality, pre-owned item, I would always prefer it to a new one.

Of course, there is a limit to what I would buy second hand.

Underwear or very personal items such as cosmetics are not a safe choice for hygiene reasons, all the rest is more than welcome.

Second-hand websites

I recently bought a couple of pre-loved blazers from eBay, my favourite website for second-hand shopping.

Gumtree is another alternative if you prefer to buy locally.

Depop and Vestiare collective are great websites for pre-owned design fashion and accessories, while Vinted is more for high street items.

eBay is still my favourite because you can literally find everything you want and I also enjoy the auction thrill when the item you have been watching for days is about to end...I usually bid at the very last minute (around 15 seconds before) and I think it is a good strategy because I win almost every time.

I usually bid the amount that I honestly think is fair for the item in question.

I am very careful about all the specifics of the item: I only shop from 100% positive feedback, smoke-free and pet-free sellers (so it is less likely that the item will smell weird) and I ask for more pictures or measurements if the description is not clear.

Returns are not accepted, so it is wise to check all the information correctly before buying.

If something goes wrong you can still report the issue to eBay or the seller itself and in the worst scenario you can always sell it back if it's not what you were looking for.

When I am the seller, I make sure to list all the details of my item and I include plenty of good quality pictures to make it more attractive.

If buying online is not your cup of tea, I got you covered: London is full of lovely vintage markets and charity stores, especially in the East end.

My favourite ones are in the Shoreditch area, such as the Brick lane (Beyond Retro' is my favourite). The prices are higher than purchasing online but you can see the quality and try the clothes on, which is always a bonus, especially with shoes.

Charity stores are also great if you enjoy reading: they have a huge variety of books and novels at a fraction of the price. They are usually very well kept and I love finding postcards or notes from the previous owner while reading!

Almost all the books I have read last year came from charity shops

Here, some pictures of my latest eBay find:

100% wool M&S navy blazer paid only £8.99 and a basket bag found in a charity shop for just 5 quids

Teddy coat bought on Ebay for only £8
M&S black long blazer bought on Ebay for £11

Do you shop second hand?

What are your favourite shops?

Let me know in the comments below!

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Want more content about my shopping habits?

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My shopping Vademecum