I haven’t been too lucky with housing since i left home. I seem to have stumbled from one failed tenancy to another. Such stories include breaking up with a boyfriend and living in a friends basement for 3 months, sofa surfing in a pub after quitting uni and living in a shipping container (no word of a lie) whilst working as an outdoor instructor. There has also been a healthy splattering of thieving, violent, inconsiderate, alcoholic house mates constantly forcing me to pack my ever shrinking piles of possessions back into boxes and move on to the next hell hole.
Due to my friendship circle widening i have found two new friends and flat mates to share with. They have also got to the end of their tether with poor housing options and I found us a wonderful new home to share. The only problem being that it was totally unfurnished bar white goods and none of us really had any furniture whatsoever.Thank goodness the internet is a damn good resource and there are a bunch of places to find cheap and even free furniture if you know where to look.
Working in social housing has meant that i have picked up some resourceful tips to get things for cheap and even free and I want to share some of these. Some of these are obvious, some of these won’t work for you and some of these will be a light bulb moment.
Freecycle is an incredible place made up of community groups through Yahoo. Just search to find you nearest one, ask to join and specify when you want alerts and you are away. People give everything away but you have to be quick and you have to flexible. Don’t ask for things you can’t pick up, it makes people cross. You also have the opportunity to list things that you want but I haven’t had a lot of luck with this method. Other downside is that you don’t always know exactly what you are getting till you turn up, i picked up a mattress once and it wasn’t until i got it in the car that i realised it stunk of cigarettes and it had to go straight to the tip…well it stayed in my friends garage till they moved and someone else took it to the tip.
Gumtree is another great site and you have more access to pictures this way. You will find things are perhaps more expensive than you would like but i have found haggling quite successful, especially if you remind the seller you are doing them a favour by getting rid of their unwanted processions and if you can pick up quickly. Through Gumtree i got a bed, bookcase, mattress and microwave for £65, not too shabby i hope you will agree.
Ebay is bloody marvelous. I bought a matching set of a three piece sofa and two armchairs for a penny…yes a penny. The seller didn’t even want the penny! They are ugly, they are green and they were bought the year i was born but man are they comfy! Nothing a few throws can’t sort out if we get sick of looking at them. Also managed to score a sweet coffee table for £5. You can filter your searches to within 10 miles of your location though do double check where people claim you location is. I had people saying they were in Bristol but were half way over to Bath in reality. You can create a watch list, have access to photos and can discuss the items with the sellers with enough time to think about whether you really want to bid on the item or not. Try not to bid on lots of things at once, you may end up with my furniture than space.
Social media sites are a resource people forget about all the time when i discuss this sort of thing with them. Never underestimate how lazy people are, a quick post up on Facebook, Twitter, Linked In and anything else you have access to (email etc) means someone, somewhere finally can dump their unwanted furniture on you. Through friends i managed to secure a desk to sew at and another bookcase completely free. It’s worth asking around friends, acquaintances and followers because you never know what people are looking to get rid of.
Of course moving things isn’t that easy when, like me, you don’t have a car. However i did discover that citycarclub.co.uk do a very reasonable van hire scheme, for £20 a year you can book and drive one of their vans for a reasonable hourly charge. If you go to their website you will see whether they have one near you. Otherwise you can find lots of reasonably priced removers on Gumtree, through word of mouth and again using social media to ask if someone knows someone who knows someone. Don’t forget pester power, guilt friends and relatives into giving you a hand in return for pizza and beer.
I hope you found some of this useful, if you have any tips or tricks of your own, please share them in the comments section!