We had our first big challenge recently- one I was dreading... our very old, very tired washer-dryer machine broke down last weekend. I felt really nervous about buying second hand electricals. I think its partly because they are pretty reasonably priced first hand and I worried we would find ourselves saving just £50 on a second hand washer and then it being a pile of cr@p.
However- there are options for buying decent second-hand white goods. British Heart Foundation have lots of lovely furniture and white goods warehouse type shops (we have one locally, in Ealing) where they guarantee their white goods for a year. I have had a look at their washing machines before and whilst they are a little over priced for my liking (£200 for second hand is a bit steep I think) they will deliver and you do have the guarantee.
H was very clear with me, however, that we are going to need a washer-dryer when the little one comes. The dryer in our Candy combo broke about 2 years ago so we have got away without one for a while but I think she is probably right. I imagine there will be times when we just need to dry the baby's bedsheets or whatever, quickly.
So- we started hunting. I like Gumtree for second hand electrical goods. I can't be bothered with bidding on e-bay, I find it a bit too impersonal- no number to call and just have a chat about the item and searching locally is just a bit of a faff. With Gumtree- you just search for what you want where you want it and lo and behold we found a Hotpoint washer-dryer, 2 years old, in Kew (down the road) for £150! We went to see it and it was the cleanest white good we have ever seen and after getting a good feeling from the seller (soooo important) we arranged collection.
Now.... how do you collect a washing machine?? We had a few options- our local taxi service said they would send a 6 seater and pick it up for £20 but we would need to do some of the lifting. Possibly an option (the seller said he would help load it for us as obv I can't lift anything). We could have also tried to put it in our car with the seats down.... but its not a good idea to lie a washer on its back as the concrete block in the top could have warped the whole thing.
What H said was, if we could get a trolley of some kind, she would wheel it the 1.5 miles home from the seller's house. But where do you get a trolley from, Dear Reader? Well, I went to Homebase and considered borrowing one but realised it was too heavy for me to get in the car and probably was considered steeling....and then I had an idea. I wondered if our local (i.e. next door) recycling centre could help us. I drove in, went to the scary portacabin (why are those places so intimidating?), and explained that we needed to get rid of our washer and collect a new one and asked if they could lend us a trolley. Now it may have been because I was bending over slightly when I asked (to look through the little hole in the screen) and my new pregnant frontage did the trick or maybe they were just really nice guy- but they took me round the back (hold on) and gave me a Homebase trolley to borrow that they pulled out of the tip!
So- after a bit of furniture removal, we dumped our old washer at the tip, and wheeled ourselves the 1.5 miles to the seller's house, strapped the 'new' washer-dryer to the trolley and wheeled it home. We did get some looks but we felt SUPER SMUG so we didn't care.
And it all ends well, Dear Reader- the washer is fantastic- it actually cleans clothes which is a bit of a novelty for us (why did we wait so long?!). It has a zillion programmes and is very quiet. The dryer part is a bit temperamental but we aren't going to use it hardly so all in all, we are dead chuffed.
H is currently working through a list of baby items that we need- I will report back on how we do, very soon.
In the meantime- tell me, Dear Reader- have you scored some good second hand electrical goods?