Filling your house with furniture the frugal way

I've just moved into my new home this weekend and everything is a bit chaotic, mostly because the living room is completely full of furniture. In the fortnight leading up to the move I was really active trawling Gumtree, Freegle, the local Buy and Sell on Facebook and Freecycle (in the Newcastle area I didn't find Freegle very useful), and when it came to moving we hired a big Luton with tail lift and picked up/moved our things over. You don't need to look for couches for sale as so many people give away their perfectly good couches for free, or attempt to sell them and have no luck.

You can also get some really amazing deals on affordable furniture from Groupon (Groupon USA) if there are any items that you don't want to get second hand, for us we didn't really want mattresses/duvets/pillows etc. second hand as since we had saved the money on other items we felt that it would just be nicer to buy a new mattress.

Here is my haul:
  • 2 seater and 4 seater brown (faux?) leather sofa, free 
  • 2 seater and chair, wooden frame and worn cushions, planning to use it in the garden, keeping the cushions inside so they don't get icky, free
  • Large rectangular office desk + pedestal, free
  • Corner office desk and pedestal, free
  • 1 great office chair, 1 office chair with broken hydraulics, 1 cheap swivel chair that works, free
  • 19th century (or at least 100+ years old) extendable dining table and balloon back chairs, free
  • Large cotton rug, free
  • 32 inch Technika TV, £25, have since swapped it for a 50 inch LG.
  • Black trimmed full length mirror, £5
  • 2 very damaged IKEA Kallax 4x2 white shelving units, £5, since sold for £40 as too damaged for my house
  • Beech 4x1 Kallax unit perfect condition, free, dented while moving :( 
  • Tall black metal/wood shelving unit, free
  • Wardrobe, small coffee table, medium thin bookshelf, tiny bedside table £15
  • Small square beech coffee table, large white coffee table, free
  • Small coffee table type thing on wheels, free
  • Small wood TV unit, initially wanting £5, I waited until they were moving and they said to just come pick it up.
  • Black shoe rack/TV unit,/thin coffee table, £5
  • Black king size leather sleigh bed, free. 
  • Black dining table, clothes horse, set of knives, mixing bowls, free
  • Lots of crockery, glasses, cutlery etc., free
What have I learned from this and how you can do it
I'm sure there is more that I have missed but basically we fully furnished our new house for £50 (we also bought a 2nd hand xbox 360 with some games for £20, but that's a luxury, I suppose a TV is too). If you're really on a budget this would be entirely realistic to do without actually paying for anything, as many people give away beds/mattresses/sofas/desks, you just need to be able to haul it. Van rental is a bit pricey but paying £60 for a day or £80 for 1.5 days is great if you can save on a few big pieces of furniture.

If you are moving into a new house, make an Amazon Wishlist (UK linkfor the things that aren't necessarily essential but that you would like to have at some point, for me that means a cast iron pan which is something I have been waiting for for ages but I've been struggling to justify as we have a few different frying pans etc., I'd probably also put welcome mat, nice fluffy new towels and a rug on the list for non-urgent things to buy. There is also a sitewide coupon FAMSAV10 for Smarthome (Home, garden, pool, pet automation and security products), these aren't the cheapest but they can be helpful for keeping your newly found stuff safe.

What I learned from collecting these free/cheap items is that you really need to start early, it doesn't matter whether you are buying or selling. From a buyer's point of view, you want to be getting the best possible deals which means starting planning early, contacting people and finding out when they need things gone by, and whether that will work for you. Many people find Craigslist useful for free furniture but I haven't listed it as in my area and many parts of the UK there isn't much there bar underwear.

You'll get the best deals from people that are also moving and just need things to be gone, especially if they have a deadline. Some people will still be trying to sell their items right down to the wire, you'll get mostly big items from people moving, or those that have bought new furniture. Many people are happy to wait to try and sell their items if they are smaller and more portable. Depending on the season, if you're in a university/college city, take advantage of the people finishing their degrees, or even just ending their tenancy, between May-early July there will be students giving away or selling their items for cheap, this is where you will likely find more of the small items, allowing you to build up a cheap living room set,

If you are going to be moving house or buying new furniture soon, list your items early as someone will want to buy it at some point, most things will go especially if you live in a more populous area. I'd advise you offer your items as collection only unless people are convenient and on a route you travel often, this reduces the amount of interest you'll get but it also prevents you getting your time wasted, people are more likely to buy something if they have travelled for it, whereas if you cart it to their door and they don't want it, whats to stop them just closing the door in your face? Then you have wasted your time, travel and effort.

If you've got kids with birthdays coming, or just like cute decorations, Magic Cabin has a 15% off $65 deal until the end of August with the code LSSUM15, they have lots of different toys and games for kids with some of them at fairly reasonable prices, make sure you shop around for the best deals.


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