Tuesday, May 13, 2008

How to Furnish or Re-Decorate for FREE! (or pretty darn close to free)

Need a new desk? Bookshelf? Area rug? Bed? Wall art? Dishes? Well, you can probably find it for free (or close to it) in the next few weeks.

How? College kids. The school year is ending within the next month or so, and all their stuff has to go somewhere. While some students will store there things or will not be leaving town, there are plenty that are leaving and don't want to take what they have.

I moved into my current home about a year ago, and I spent time on craigslist looking for a desk and a dresser. While I ended up finding my desk (a former small pine dining table) on the side of the road, I never did find the dresser I wanted. However, I discovered that college kids unload tons of furniture this time of year. This shouldn't be a surprise, but for me, I hadn't thought about it. My desk was found less than two blocks from where I live (I live within ten miles of four colleges/universities, and some of my neighbors are students).

Much of what I saw on craigslist was from Ikea, so it's generally pretty good quality. Much of it is also in very good condition (especially things like desks). I also saw lots of things just left in front of houses (e.g. my super desk). A few months ago, the students across the street moved out and dumped a bunch of stuff outside. My landlord, originally ticked that they'd dumped what he thought was bags of trash, went over to investigate. Instead of trash, he found plates, wine glasses, silverware -- and he brought some of it home. Considering all of my wine glasses are in storage, it's nice to have some proper ones in the house...

As an added bonus for you entrepreneurial types: if you have the space available, now is a good time to stock up on this furniture. Then, store it until the new school year is about to start, re-list on craigslist and/or make flyers and post them close to your nearby campus(es). Voila! Instant business and you're sure to make some money. College kids are guaranteed to need furniture/plates/etc, so this is a pretty sure thing. Believe me, if I had a truck and the space, I would do this.

I'm still in the market for a dresser (I currently use a shelf and some creativity within my closet), and I'm going to start looking again. I actually found the perfect one last year, but because I had a cold, I wasn't able to pick it up before the lady left the state the next morning.

So, whether you're looking to redecorate a little, or you want to start a seasonal side business, now's the time. Start driving through college neighborhoods in the next couple weeks, and start reading craigslist, and you'll be surprised what you find.

1 comment:

Jerry said...

That is a terrific idea. Your recycling is insurance for the environment and it's good for your wallet, too. Selling your old furniture is a great way to make extra cash, too.