How to find treasures in pre-loved

by | Aug 21, 2018 | Income & Living with Less | 2 comments

Ever wonder how to find treasures in pre-loved items? I have a habit of looking often through Buy, Sell and Swap on Facebook, Gumtree, Second-hand shops and Pre-loved places and markets. Sometimes pre-loved is hard to find because it may not have been “loved” so well. Often you can find poor quality which is certainly not a “treasure” to collect for yourself or others.

How to find treasures in pre-loved

My husband is a re-purposer so I gain inspiration from his point of view plus I love the search for ideas of my own. My post on Minimalism and Re-purposing co-existing means we work together with not too much friction in coming up with ideas from our “finds” and our different “styles”.

Preloved treasures

Pre-loved treasures can be found anywhere. Photo credit Pexels

Here are some pointers to consider when searching:

  • Sit on the item if it’s a sofa or chair or press down on it to check if it’s inner workings are good or it’s level.
  • Look for signs of wear with seams and any rub marks
  • Look for missing items on the product – ie grommets, lids, cords, fringe
  • Don’t over-look good china – even with chips – you can use some items for craft projects or have a collection mismatched but of same color hues ie coffee mugs,cups, glasses, dinner plates
  • Make sure if it’s a working item – that it actually does work – and works well.
  • Even if a timber piece has some signs of wear – if the quality is good and it is solid timber consider it a good buy
  • Don’t over-look worn or older items if you find quality pieces that are even a bit worse for wear. You can re-touch, work with, revamp and upcycle
  • See possible items you find with possibility if you can add a splash of paint of a trending color.
  • Sometimes framed pictures and photos are water-damaged but you can use the frames for a new project.
  • You find someone wanting plants dug up for free? Re-pot into smaller plants and sell or give them away
  • There is an over-supply of clothing currently in the Western World. A very high percentage goes to landfill. There are just too many clothes. If you look for fabric consider natural fabric – whether silk, linen, cotton, flax etc bring out your sewing creative bent and put those sewing skills to good use with upcycled items. Check out Pinterest for ideas under DIY, Upcycling and Recycling for example.
  • Consider looking for vintage books when looking- they have a myriad of “craft” opportunities.
  • Pallets are free and you can come up with an amazing array of ideas of what to make. Get looking!
  • Look for old and vintage knobs to give a retro look on otherwise plain drawers or cabinets.
  • Don’t over-look old bricks and pavers – they can be used for a host of different ground projects in your home
  • Found some old doors? No matter (mostly) what condition – they can be used as desks – in your home’s activity/family room or used in your husband’s garage to spread out for home projects. Just add two carpenters stools underneath.
    old door flaking

    Don’t over-look items of “age” – they can be real finds. Photo credit Pixabay

  • Don’t over-look old paint finds. We have picked up quite a bit at garage sales for a fraction of new cost and have used the paint on many different projects.

When pre-loved is not a treasure

Sadly many people do off-load items that are rubbish or cheap and it is difficult to come up with ideas of how to re-use if they come into your arena. I do however have a husband – who will even work with these type of pieces and use boards or cupboards for example as storage or resting tables. Who will also pull apart a product not salvageable for screws, cords, flat pieces etc to use in other projects. This is a little like having two containers. One – “Potentially useful” and the other “Round file” (when all else fails – Bin it) – but hopefully not until all other possibilities have been tried.

Those searching for Pre-loved

Apparently, according to The Junk Map, there has been a change of clientele of those searching for salvage items. Once they note it was predominantly tradesmen. Now, however, it is over half women – with children, including teens who are looking for that something different and “cool”. People are highly interested in sustainability and want to do their bit by becoming “green” focused.

Well, I hope you are inspired to keep searching plus do your bit with what you find. Even if you upcycle and sell to someone eager to take your improvement off your hands – feel good about your “earth” contribution.

Until later!




Deborah Hunter Kells

I have a wide range of interests and the top of my list is people and relationships. I appreciate our big wide world and nature which tries so hard to deal with what we do to it. As noted you will find a variety of topics covered (see Home page) My appreciation goes to my team and others whom I collaborate with to make this blog successful and resourceful. Thanks especially to my team: Sarah, Tina, and Billah (See footer for more of their details)

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