Preloved (my top tips for buying & selling second-hand)


Editor's note: this blog post was originally written in August 2013 and has since been updated for clarity and with the latest information. Enjoy!

It's easy to get swept up into the idea that everything we buy must be brand new.

Whether it's a new car, furniture or clothes, there's no need to splash the cash buying new when second-hand items are just as good.

If you're looking to get something a bit cheaper (or make some cash on your unwanted things) then you're in the right place.

It can be nerve-wracking stepping into the world of second-hand, so we've made this handy guide filled with our top tips and recommended places to start.

Let's get going!

Why buy second-hand?

First things first, let's address why people buy and sell second hand.

Do you like scoring bargains? Want to do your bit for the environment?

Then second-hand buying is right up your street!

By buying second-hand you are reducing landfill waste and manufacturing materials, as you give a new home to items that might've otherwise gone to the dump.

Plus, most people selling second-hand don't expect to make a profit on their items (they are used after all), so you're guaranteed to score some great bargains buying second-hand.

Two hands holding a pink Piggy Bank with coins out of focus below 

Sounds good, where should I start?

First things first, pay a visit to Preloved.

Preloved is a wonderful alternative to the expense and long-winded nature of auction sites and is more fun than anonymous classifieds.

Need more convincing? 

  • Super quick - you don't have to wait for an auction to finish, plus they provide ad alert services to potential buyers which means they'll be notified if you're selling an item they want.
  • Free to sell - there are no listing fees, no selling fees and no catches!
  • Make a friend - Preloved People is all about meeting like-minded folk who share your hobbies - it's the UK's number one second-hand social network.

Grab anything from clothing and jewellery, vehicles, properties for sale and rent - even pets!

But that's not all...

Grab preloved bargains in your local charity shop

Charity shops are full of hidden gems just waiting to be discovered.

One man's trash is another man's treasure, as clearly demonstrated in the humble charity shop.

Pick up new clothes, shoes, home bits - even a second-hand wedding dress!

Want the tricks of the trade?

Discover how to perfect the art of charity shop shopping with our handy guide: how to get designer clothes for less.

Plus, with every purchase you make, you're safe in the knowledge your money is going to a greater cause.

Bring on the shopping!

Red haired woman looking through rail of clothes in a charity shop

Log on to get great second-hand deals

While the rise of social media certainly has its downsides...'s been great for local second-hand buying & selling.

Say hello to Facebook Marketplace!

The social media giant is no longer just for uploading photos of your last holiday, catching up with old friends or sharing news about yourself.

With Facebook Marketplace you can search for items that are for sale near you, or post items that you want to sell. You don't even have to download another app or set up a new account, and people can only see the information you publicly share.

Discover thousands of second-hand items being sold in the area near you. Find items like clothes, baby stuff, furniture and even cars.

But that's not all...

Lots of areas have dedicated local 'Buy & Sell' Facebook groups, which some people may find easier to navigate and use.

Why not take a look for your local one now?

Hit up eBay for the best deals

The joys of eBay won't be news to the savvy amongst you.

eBay was one of the very first online auctions and has led the way in second-hand buying and selling.

Discover new offers every week (80% of items on eBay are brand new), in fashion, homeware, toys and more. In fact, anything you'd want to buy you can be pretty sure eBay will be selling.


It's important to learn how to stay safe as a buyer on eBay. If you aren't an online second-hand buying pro, make sure you check out this handy article: 3 Things Buyers Need to Know to be Safe on eBay.

eBay is also great for second-hand selling.

If you have things you'd rather make a bit of cash from than donate to the charity shop, why not give it a go?

Get started with this ultimate helpful guide to selling on eBay

Close up of woman in white shirt clicking on mousepad of silver laptop

Looking for second-hand cars?

GumTree is your place to go!

Search and sell vehicles in your chosen location, making the search as wide or narrow as you'd be willing to collect.

And it doesn't stop there...

You can find all sorts of items of GumTree:

  • Everyday items like clothes, homeware, electricals and baby stuff
  • Properties to rent or sell (both here and internationally)
  • Community activities like bands and clubs to join

You can even use GumTree to discover your next dream role!

So, the next time you're looking to purchase, pay GumTree a visit first. You never know what bargains you could get.

Psst, don't forget to check out the GumTree Freebies section for all sorts of free bits & bobs near you! 

Scour car boot sales for hidden gems

Car boot sales are another great place to pick up second-hand goods at very reasonable prices.

Make sure you arrive early so you don't miss the good stuff and don't be afraid to haggle!

Not sure where to start?

Find out where your nearest car boot sale is and any useful information (such as entry fees), by visiting Car Boot Junction.

Boot of a blue car parked on green grass

Electronics that are as good as new?

Looking for new DVDs, CDs, mobile phones and other tech stuff?

Sites like musicMagpie,, CeX are great places to score deals on second-hand electronics.

Every item is quality assured, so you can buy safe in the knowledge that you're receiving items that are good as new.

Plus, if you're looking to clear your home of unwanted electricals then you can list them here and earn yourself some cash.


Host a swap party

We've all got bits and bobs lying around that would do much better in a new home. So why not donate them to your loved ones, while getting new things in return?

Gather up your unwanted clobber (don't forget to give them a wash first!), get your friends and family to do the same and host a swap party.

Exchange items that you no longer want for things that you actually need - and have fun at the same time.

My final tips:

  • Look out for brands. Whether you're in the charity shop, scouring eBay or hitting up your local car boot, keep an eye out for well-known labels/brands. You're guaranteed better quality than an unknown company (and it always feels good to compare just how much of a bargain you've scored!)
  • Set a budget. It's easy when second-hand buying to get caught up in the moment and spend more money on bargains than you'd actually like. Set an overall budget (or budgets for individual items) and try to not get too carried away...
  • Treat second-hand shopping exactly as you would regular shopping. If buying furniture, make sure you do your measurements first. If clothes shopping, make sure you try the items on to check they fit (and only buy if they do!)

So there we have it! All my top places to buy/sell second-hand goods. As always, if I've missed off your favourite please get in touch!

Colleen x