Furnish your flat for under R5 000

2016-02-18 06:00
PHOTO: sourced It is possible to furnish your flat for under R5 000.

PHOTO: sourced It is possible to furnish your flat for under R5 000.

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IF you’re prepared to do an internet hunt for excellent second-hand bargains, this is for you.

Give your bed that home-made five-star luxurious feeling

If you’re starting out on your own, chances are you have just left home to study or start a job.

Unless your parents are extremely generous and indulgent, you’re not going to have a fortune to furnish your new place.

On the contrary you have visions of sleeping on a mattress on the floor and sitting on a plastic chair.

That doesn’t have to be the case if you’re prepared to do an internet hunt for second-hand bargains. Whatever you do, don’t buy anything new, because if you do, you could blow your entire budget on one item.

Tips on your Gumtree or OLX internet search

The most amazing bargains can be found when people who are moving, emigrating, or emptying a house. They advertise a list of things and basically just want to get rid of everything as soon as possible.

If you have time, type in words such as “emigrating”, “moving”, “house clearance”, “unwanted gift”, “never been used” and see what comes up - remember to define your area.

Keep searching because you are never going to find everything at once. You need to be patient.

Real bargains are often the ones most recently posted, so check every day if you can. Go down two or three pages – sometimes people post the same unsold items multiple times. That is not a good sign.

There is a space where you can specify a maximum price. There’s no need to trawl through hundreds of ads for stuff above your price range. Start low and work your way up. Tailor your search to make the prices go from low to high.

Choose your search words carefully. If you just type in “bed” you are going to get everything from sleeper couches to singles to bunk beds and double beds. Search for “double bed”, if that is what you want.

Avoid dealers - anything new, or anything being resold by a shop is going to be more expensive than buying something second-hand from the existing owner.

It doesn’t have to be perfect. If it were perfect, it would have been three times the price.

If something just needs a good clean, you can either have it steam-cleaned or clean it yourself.

Ninety percent of marks or stains can be removed completely. Also remember that a nice piece of cloth can cover a hideous pattern on a couch or a chair. You just need it to be comfortable.

Mattress blues - this is the one thing you might not want to buy second hand. Check for ads where people say something is an unwanted gift, or still in its plastic and has never been used. Otherwise you can buy a decent new foam mattress, and put it on a second- hand bed base.

Inspect stuff before buying. Photos can be misleading. Check it out before committing yourself.

Also, the general state of the house of the seller should give you an idea of how they look after their stuff. If it smells like a tip, or it’s dirty, or there is a pack of dogs or heaps of kids around, steer clear.

Rent and/or borrow a bakkie. Offer to pay petrol and collect stuff yourself. This might take some organisation, but it will be worth it. If you buy stuff new, delivery fees for one item could be as much as R250 to R300.

Only e-mail contacts - some sellers require only email contact, but just be careful – you may be signing up inadvertently for junk mail. Set up a new free email address just for these searches, just in case.

Don’t buy trouble - don’t buy anything that needs more than cleaning. Reupholstering or fixing furniture can be expensive and fixing broken electronic goods can end up costing you a fortune.

Cover it - it doesn’t matter what a table top or a lounge chair or a TV stand looks like – it can be covered with a piece of cloth. If you can get a few metres of the same cloth, you could easily colour code your whole flat.

What R5 000 can buy

If you are moving into a new bachelor flat and you have nothing except your clothes, and your duvet, here’s what you can buy for R5 000.

Below are examples of items that has been advertised on Gumtree and OLX in the past few days from all over SA - obviously you would search in the area where you live. Everything has been used, but still seems to be in good shape. Nothing is going to be the latest, the greatest, or the grandest, but you will be fully equipped with all the basics.

It might be an idea to budget about R400 for a steam-cleaning session for second-hand goods such as beds, couches and curtains. You just don’t really know where they’ve been.

These particular items might already be gone, but if you keep looking patiently you might very well find similar bargains:

Table and chairs - R400

Couch - R400

Bar fridge - R600

Curtains - R200 – two drops at R100 each

Mini-stove - R250

Crockery - R100

Pots - R100

Cutlery - R100

TV - R200

Double bed - R1500

Coffee table-TV stand - R150

Lounge chair - R100

Kelim rug - R800 or washing machine - R550. These are both nice-to-haves, but not essential)

Total: R4 650 - R4 900

- Women24.

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