So, you are moved into your new home with your boxes all over the house. As you unpack, you find that you need a sofa table here, a mirror there and a larger piece of entertainment unit would fit that space just a little better. If you are like me (against swiping that credit card and having to pay for the $50 buffet lamp for the next few years in credit card balance), you would find alternative and creative solutions to furnish your new home.
Garage/ Estate Sales:
I am a garage-sale junkie. I find alot of joy and excitement in turning someone else's trash into my treasure. If I ever invited you into my home, pick any one item in the house and chances are it's another great garage-sale find. I haul it back home, perfectly fit it into the corner, and (wa-la), you would never know I paid $500 for a $3000 French Antique 8-feet tall entertainment center - now proudly sitting in my family room. How about $3 for a Victorian Stained Glass lamp that easily cost the original buyer at least $80? I paid $900 for a set of (now get ready for this) solid rustic Old-World dining table that sits 8 and a buffet table that the owner had only used twice. She would have spent easily over $2000. Granted, I feel I had paid a little more for this set, but then again, once it sits in my dining area and had my friends over, no one could tell it was used. The great story was to tell them I paid only half of what it would cost. I am picky in choosing my pieces so sometimes I may have to pay a little more for the specific things I am looking for. Also, patience in virtue in this case. I waited over a year for this rustic dining table. I vowed I would not drive to the store to haul it back in my car!
Searching and spotting for garage sale signs is a skill in itself. I have been doing this for the past 10 years and I am so good at driving, making U-turns and spotting for these signs. They are the signs of your treasures!
If you have not heard about this network, today is your lucky day. Freecycle is a network of people who joins to recycle what they do not want and in return, get to exchange it with something they want. The best part is that it's FREE. Now, how cool is that. The purpose of this group is to keep good items out of landfills. If it's a chair that you want, ask for it. If it's a radiator of a car that you need, get on the network. To participate, find the area where you are located.
Most people are familiar with the Craigslist network. You can purchase so many things on there. It's a great place to sell your items too. Note: Garage-sale finds are typically cheaper than Craigslists. However, it still beats having to pay full price in the retail store when compared to Craigslists.
Clearance Racks at Retail Stores:
If you saw me at a retail store, chances are you would find me at the clearance racks...... Learn to shop at the ends of racks instead of picking your items from the regular shelves. These are tremendous markdowns and it will save you alot of money furnishing your new home.
Habitat Humanity Resale Stores:
Most cities have their own Habitat Humanity Restores. If you considering remodeling your home, you will find the items at this store at a fraction of what you would pay at a regular home improvement store. The items sold by the Restores are typically donated by building supply stores, contractors and demolition crews. The proceeds from the sale help fund the construction of Habitat houses throughout your communities. If you have not visit this gem, you'd be in awe by what you find (here in the Plano, Texas store at least!).
The most important thing is not to spend it on credit. Now, they dont call me El-Chepo for no reason!
Written by Loreena Yeo
The Freecycle and Habitat for Humanity logos belong to their respective owners.