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How to Furnish an Apartment with Practically No Money

You can't be a couch potato without a couch. So stop squatting around and listen to these hints.


  • Step 1: Spread the word Spread the word among friends and family that you are in the market for furniture they no longer need or want.
  • Step 2: Check Craigslist Check out for free stuff, trade possibilities, or the opportunity to barter one of your skills.
  • Step 3: Comb thrift stores Comb thrift shops and second-hand stores in your area.
  • TIP: Make friends with an employee at the local Goodwill or Salvation Army store so they can alert you if the perfect sofa, desk, or whatever comes in.
  • Step 4: Go curb shopping Go curb shopping—that is, drive around looking for perfectly good pieces of furniture that people have thrown out. Some communities have designated "big trash" days when large items are allowed to be discarded.
  • TIP: Time your curb shopping for maximum results. The end of the month at apartment complexes is good, as that's when people move out, as is early May around universities, when college kids are cleaning out their dorm rooms.
  • Step 5: Check community websites Check community websites for "freecycling" postings.
  • Step 6: Be creative See the possibilities in things: an old bedspread can become drapes by sewing a pocket for a curtain rod; old dressers and bookshelves can be jazzed up with paint and new hardware; chair slipcovers can make the ugliest chairs look elegant.
  • Step 7: Check for discounts Visit your local furniture stores to see if they have any scratched furniture or showroom samples available at deep discount.
  • FACT: An Englishman vacationing in Australia in 2004 paid $36 for a suitcase that turned out to be filled with Beatles memorabilia worth nearly a million dollars.

You Will Need

  • Investigative skills
  • A dose of humility
  • And a keen eye

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