So, this post is a bit of a life update. I have moved into a new place. And this time there is actually room to swing a small cat. That’s a horrible expression. Enough room to do some jumping jacks. I even have more than two work surfaces people. I have an oven that doesn’t look like it is typically used for camping. I have toilet without a weird ledge, and doors that don’t come off their hinges when you open them. Everything’s coming up Milhouse.
Since living in Amsterdam I have always lived in furnished apartments. Our new place is a blank canvas (without furniture) and I am so excited to finally fill it with my own stuff. The only problem is a slight lack of budget and a determination to not buy everything brand new. I have been scoping out secondhand markets and “dumping” points to try to reuse, and rescue as much stuff as possible. Sure, there are definitely some pieces I want/ need to buy new. A new mattress, for example was a must for me, but it does feel like in 2019 there have been enough people, enough “first” homes, enough last homes that we now have enough stuff for us all to at least get one secondhand piece of furniture. If you know where to look, there’s so much stuff out there that can be picked up secondhand for cheap or free. I have included a few tips that have really helped me to get some goodies.
Firstly, have a little patience. Figure out exactly what you need; don’t panic and buy everything you see in the showroom at Ikea. Think about what you can definitely find secondhand, or at least scope out what preloved items are out there.
Check out Facebook. I have been using Facebook Marketplace for almost everything, and learning a bit of Dutch vocabulary as I go. There are always people looking to sell something in a rush, and you can find some bargains on there. I also use a Facebook group called Amsterdam deelt/geeft (literally Amsterdam sharing and giving) . It is such a great community of people who hate waste, and so you can usually find anything on there from cat food to a King sized bed. I picked up a 4 man tent on there! It can get a bit addictive and you’ve got to be fast. If you don’t have one of these in your area, why don’t you create one? Check out Marktplaats (Netherlands) or Ebay and change the location settings to see what is available locally. I was big fan of Freecycle when I lived in London.
Do not be ashamed to take something off the street that someone has put out. Most of us are lazy. It’s much easier to put something outside our house in the hope that someone will take it, than it is to take it to a charity shop or sell it. I have actually had a lot of luck already with rehoming some street treasures. I found our sofa on the street (in perfect condition!) and a couple of chairs that were left near the bins. I gave a good clean and they have become our new dinning chairs. I’ve also found house plants, casserole dishes and frying pans looking for a new home.
There are actually bulky waste collection days in Amsterdam, so you can check out the dates for your area and take a long walk or cycle before the night before to see if there is anything that takes your fancy. You can check out the designated dates here. I am not sure if leaving stuff is a thing yet outside of London, but you can always take a snoop around your local skip.
The biggest flea market in Europe, hell yes. Pre-warn the flea market does cost €5 to enter but most things are pretty cheap.Make sure you check out the Oedipus brewery round the corner afterwards.
De Lokatie has various locations, I went to the beanch on Distelweg 85. So far this has been my favourite place to find secondhand pieces, I am talking 40 cent for a wine glass, 3 euros for a saucepan kind of cheap! And the stuff is in great condition. We found some mismatched ugly plates we love (think 70’s flowers) some baking dishes and some other crockery. They also have furniture and clothes, lamps etc. This is a real thrift shop, a place that employs and supports people with a difficult past, and whose aim is to contribute to a more circular economy.
This place is really close to our apartment and is a warehouse full of vintage pieces. Personally, I found it a bit pricey but the place you want to go want some furniture with a vintage edge.
Since you are in the area, cross over the road to have a look around Neef Louis. Very similar to Van Dijk en co, a huge shed of old furniture for a treasure hunt. Don’t forget to have a veggie sausage roll and a slice of apple pie at the lovely cafe in the courtyard.
I am a total newbie to buying secondhand furniture, so I am sure I have only scratched the surface. I’d love to hear where you get yours? Do you have any tips to share?