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Day 201: A story of free(..ish) furniture



Once upon a time, there was a frugal girl who didn't know she was frugal. But she totally was! It was in her genetic makeup and she just didn't notice it.

So, when she moved to a new city and had to furnish her apartment, this inner voice of frugality spoke to her and said "Don't spend money on furnishings, silly girl! Just get them for free(...ish)!"

That girl was me. And this is my story.

1. Bed: cost, $0

ohluisa.tumblr.com

*Note: bed shown is not quite to scale of ornateness or size.

My former boss had just moved to town, and downsized from her old house. She was getting rid of all of her guest-bedroom stuff and gave me a double-sized boxspring, frame, and mattress. And pillows! And some towels!

2. Sofa: cost, $0

*note: I do not have a half-bathtub sofa like in Breakfast at Tiffany's.
But maybe one day, someone will be getting rid of one and I will be SO THERE.

I lived with roommates who had furniture, until I moved out on my own and realized I didn't have a sofa (which is crucial for so many reasons - sitting and reading, sitting and watching TV, a place for guests to sit on, etc.) And then it turns out that my friend's mother was looking to get rid of her old sofa. All I had to do was pick it up - win/win!

3. Bedside table, 2 small dressers: cost, $50 (total)

See, if my bedroom set had been part of the Showcase Showdown on The Price is Right,
I would have totally won by bidding $1. Sucka!!

I lived for awhile in a furnished house. And then, when I moved out, I asked if I could have some of the furniture and the owner happily let me have these three items for only $50. Score!

4. 22" TV: cost, $0

- weheartit.com
My TV is not this cool. Sigh.
On the upside, my TV has the plug-ins to attach a DVD player and DVR.
On the downside, I can't use my TV as a monitor to hook up to a Commodore 64.

For a variety of reasons, my former roommate and I suddenly didn't have any furniture left. And so I sent out an email to the people at work, asking if anyone had any extra stuff they didn't need. And my roommate and I didn't *used* to have a TV, but I threw it on my wish list just in case. And that was the single item that most people were able to offer - and so I got a gargantuous TV for totally free!

5. Coffeetable: cost, $0

- 1heckofaguy.com

* Note: I obviously would never accept a glass-top coffee table.
I've seen movies. I know that eventually, I will wind up throwing some
sort of evil villain onto this table, and it will get all messy.

I should mention that the coffeetable I got (not the glass-topped one pictured above) is a HANDMADE coffeetable! A fabulous woodworking friend of mine was leaving town. This was an early project of his (I think he had another coffeetable he'd made later, which he was using) and he totally let me have it when he left town. Handcrafted artisan frugal win!

"But Annabelle, what's your secret??"

Rachel Bilson's character's apartment in "How I Met Your Mother"
is a good example of grad student boho chic design style.
I mean, it's a lot tidier and more spacious, but you get the general idea.
Mismatched paradise!

I guess the secret is: to not be picky or choosy, get stuff from people who are either moving/have just moved, as well as from people who have lived in town a long time and have extra things. OK, so maybe the secret is just to ask around. You never know who's trying to get rid of stuff! (*and also, don't be too picky. Mismatched boho grad student chic decor will never go out of style)

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

don't forget picking up someone elses furniture out of the garbage..I have a chair (admittedly still in garage)..that if I had recovered and refinished would be lovely..plus I remember being horrified of my friend picking up a table (I think it was a table) out of someones garbage in NYC and carrying it home...(many blocks)

JEM

Lane from In Mint Condition said...

Now I feel a little guilty for spending $900 for a new pleather couch. But I haggled him down to 850 plus delivery! And I paid cash... surprisingly. I did check Craigslist day and night, though, but nothing came up or someone took it before I could.

Frugal(er) said...

Whoo hoo! I too got most of my furniture free when I moved to Providence, and I gets TONS of compliments on my seafoam green sectional couch circa 1975--totally free, just had to rent a truck for a day to collect it all.

Annabelle said...

JEM - I have so much love for garbage furniture! My first apartment was furnished almost entirely from stuff my Dad got from other peoples' garbages. People don't seem to be as scavengey here - and I know, living next to the dumpster.

Lane - the free furniture thing only really works if you don't care what you get. $850 is a good price for a leather couch! That's not the sort of thing people tend to give away either ;)

Frugal(er) - free stuff has so much more character, I think. Your couch sounds FABULOUS!

~Carla~ said...

Great post! Love the way you write... lol! We still have coffee tables that were bought as a gift for us 17 years ago... lol! When we first moved out all our stuff was from "generous donors" as well! I've saved my pennies in the last few years for new living room & dining room furniture! :)

Annabelle said...

Thanks, Carla! I do my best to entertain ;)

I think that it's totally worth it to save up for furniture that you love. And in the meantime, nothing wrong with gently used donations!

The Asian Pear said...

we have a lot of handmade furniture at home by my parents in the 70s when they first came to Canada and didn't have money to furnish. very frugal if you're handy and can sew. They've made a chair, an ottoman, a bench, and a bookcase to name a few.

My Dad's latest achievement is a shed for the backyard made with MDF and aluminum siding from our house when we had the side of the house fixed/replaced. A door from the garbage of an industrial vendor. And wooden planks from a friend who owns a flooring business. And 4 pallets from grocery store dumps for the flooring. Leftover shingles from years ago. It's a frankenstein shed. XD

But it looks professionally done and was mostly free.

Annabelle said...

OK, that shed sounds amazeballs, Asian Pear. I bow down in respect to that shed.

Florence Carole said...

You lucky girl. We spent a fortune furnishing our living room, dining area and bedrooms. I'm not complaining though, but maybe I will listen to my inner voice of frugality next time.

buy dining chairs

Chris said...

So you just spent $50 to fix your apartment. I don't think you are frugal, you are just smart.

outdoor furniture perth

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