How to Find Cheap or FREE Furniture
Moving to a new home can be an exciting time in someone's life, however it can become a stressful headache when for whatever reason you don't have any (or enough) furniture. Most people will go through this at some point in time: first couple of years of college, first apartment, moving across country, or a disaster.
The good news is that with a small amount of creativity and a little bit of sweat and hard work a person can furnish their house quickly, and with a little more hard work creativity, and patience they can furnish their house with high quality, trendy items.
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The first thing that needs to be done anytime that someone has a multi-part large challenge is to prioritize what is needed first. So if someone has an entire (or partial) house to furnish, they need to sit down and prioritize what items they need first. Is it a bed, sofa, electronics, tables and shelves, or kitchenware? Then focus on those top few items.
Don't prioritize how you other people tell you to prioritize. Just because your mother insists you need a dining room table, doesn't mean that you actually do. If it's not something that you will actually use, then skip it for now.
You know your lifestyle, and what you value most. So if you know that you will use a good television everyday for hours, or you need a good computer to do your hobbies or job, don't prioritize a dining table that you will use a few times a year. No matter how "adult" that seems, it doesn't make sense.
We recently moved across country and decided that it wasn't financially responsible to move all of our furniture, so instead we packed our small car with as much as we could and decided that we'd just deal with furniture once we where at our new home. This put us on a blow up mattress, with no furniture. We slowly began collecting furniture pieces, but we used things like the Rubbermaid containers and empty boxes that we had moved with as furniture. For weeks our living room table and makeshift entertainment center was an upside down container. It wasn't cute, but it worked.
Don't be afraid to use a piece of furniture as something different than it is normally used for, especially if you're in a smaller space. Instead of a standard entertainment center, use a dresser. They can look stylish with a new coat of paint, and generally offer more storage space. Offbeat Home recently had a post in which they showed a reader's nifty converted armoire. Instead of a beauty table/desk, she converted an armoire by placing a mirror in the back. She then used this as storage and her beauty area. It's also easy to keep this area fairly organized, and if it's not neat and tidy, close the doors, and it suddenly is.
Here's an awesome article from Offbeat Home on curbside shopping.
Buy Second Hand Furniture
People snub their nose at this option sometimes, but it's really a wonderful option. It's better for the environment and is considered a green option. Plus it's possible to pick up high quality slightly used items that you otherwise would not be able to afford.
If it's the thought of other people's germs that bother you, then remember that any hardwood, metal, non cloth surface can be sterilized quite easily and cheaply with a sponge and warm water and Lysol wipes. Cloth covered item can be sterilized with slightly more effort and a steamer.
Use Some Elbow Grease
With a little elbow grease, cheap "disposable furniture" or a second hand item that's been given a new life, can be changed into something new, something higher quality, and something worth keeping. There are plenty of "life-hack" websites that can help anyone build what they want, from complete beginners to licensed carpenters.
There are even plenty of things that you can build from scratch. Remember to keep within your level of skill.
This could be the most important tip. When finding creative, cheap ways to do anything, especially something that affects your entire house.
If you're buying new items, this is doubly important. Be patients, shop around, and watch for sales. We bought a brand new couch and love seat that were both about 40% of the original cost. It takes time to find these sales, believe me, I'm 6 months pregnant and knew exactly how much patience it took to get off of a blow up mattress and onto a real bed.
So, prioritize, open your mind to new sources of furniture, be patient, buy cheap, be green, and put in the extra effort to make your furniture yours.
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