Congratulations on getting your new apartment! So now you need to find some stuff to put in it. But you don’t have to break the bank to get the apartment furniture you want. Thankfully, furniture is one area of recycling that has been around for ages, and you can create a look you’ll love with low-priced or free items found using the various methods below.
Free is good
The best low-cost furniture is no-cost furniture. And the best place to start is with the family. Your parents may be so happy you finally have your own place, they’ll help you carry the old family room couch to the truck!
Another good place to look is at work or school. Check with the office manager to see if there’s an old desk or chairs you can take off their hands. Many office buildings even cycle out their lounge or waiting room furniture every so often, so you may find items for your living room, as well as a home office.
If you’re willing to do some driving and possibly clean up whatever goodies you find, you can do some “shopping” on trash day. Some communities have specified days of the month in which residents are encouraged to put out their hard-to-dispose of items, so check with your local government. Otherwise, go cruising any evening or early morning before trash pick up to see if your neighbors may have put out just what you’ve been looking for.
There’s no closer feeling to discovering buried treasure than finding just the right thing for a tiny sum in someone’s garage or yard sale. Many neighborhoods designate sale weekends for their residents to clutter their driveways, yards and garages with their saleable wares, but yard sales happen every weekend of the year all around your town. Estate sales are usually listed a week ahead of time and also offer endless furnishing possibilities for your new home. Most local papers have websites that let you easily check listings by neighborhood. Arrive early and you’ll have first crack at the loot!
The digital age has brought the yard sale to the Internet. Sites such as Craigslist allow users to list furniture they want to get rid of, and you can often find good deals by scanning the online listings. Freecycle is a listing site for those who want to give away items they no longer want or need. If you see something you like, you can contact the owner and schedule a pickup. As always, use caution when contacting a stranger online. Make sure any money transactions are handled through a secure site, such as PayPal, or done in person. Schedule pickups during the day and take a buddy with you for safety.
Often garage sale items that can’t be sold end up at a thrift store. If your style leans toward the eclectic or kitschy, this is the place for you. It’s also an excellent place to find cheap furniture that’s merely a slipcover or coat of paint away from looking like… well, like something you didn’t just get from a thrift store.
Furniture outlets and discount stores
There are outlet stores for just about everything, and furniture is no exception. Most of the major national furniture retailers have outlets where discontinued styles or pieces with minor cosmetic damage can be had for very good prices.
Unfortunately, furniture stores also seem to be businesses that go out of business with some regularity. Be sure to check the paper for any liquidation sales in your area.
You can sometimes find good deals at a standard retail stores. Some companies, such as Ikea, made their name by offering low competitive prices. It is worth scanning retailers’ websites to see what they offer for how much. Even if you do not find a deal, you will have done your research and know what items regularly cost. This will help you know how good a deal really is when it comes along.
Another option that costs less than buying full-price pieces is rent-to-own establishments where you can procure your entire furniture collection for a monthly fee that goes towards purchasing the pieces. Though this may not be the thriftiest investment, depending on the rental terms, it is a great option for those whose tastes change quickly and offers far more flexibility than purchasing furniture every couple of years.
Don’t skimp on your mattress
One caution when looking for secondhand furniture is to absolutely avoid mattresses. It is actually illegal in the United States to sell a secondhand mattress set because of the potential health hazards of inheriting someone’s mold, mites, bacteria, etc.
In fact, be sure that any bed you purchase has “all-new materials” on the label and is not a floor sample. If you have any doubts, have the salesperson write “new” on the receipt so that you will have a something to show management should you discover otherwise when you get it home.
Filling up your new apartment or redecorating doesn’t have to be an expensive process unless you want it to be. With a little effort and some resourcefulness, you can have a great looking home that only looks like you spent a lot on it.