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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Raid your parent’s house before hitting the stores

I’m a mom, living with my husband and three kids.  Over the years, we have accumulated many duplicated items, such as extra blankets, sheets (we buy new ones but rarely throw out the old ones), cutlery, dishes, waste baskets, etc.  Of course, if the old items are still usable but we feel that we’d like a more current model, we may buy it when it’s on sale.  Sometimes, we are surprised by a nice gift from a friend or relative.  The point is, we could live with less ‘stuff’, but are often reluctant to give some away or throw some out.
The advantage now is that as our eldest is leaving for university, and we have a tonne of stuff she can raid from our house and therefore be well equipped in residence for free.  Of course not everything works out (she has a double bed at home so we needed to buy single sheets), but overall, there’s lots she can take from home.
Here is a list of items you may be able to raid from your parents’ house when moving into residence or even an apartment or room.
- Sheets, towels, beach towel, comforters, blankets, cushions, pillows, mattress cover, window covering (many families keep the old window coverings that don’t fit the new home anymore!)
- Waste basket, rags, broom, clothes hangers, clothes hooks, sewing kit, scissors
- Basic tools: hammer, screwdriver, flashlight, night light
- Alarm clock, wall clock, CD storage, fan, plastic storage containers
- Umbrella, clothes dryer and clothes hamper, iron and ironing board, mirror, scale, small radio, bean bag chair, stools, shoe shelf, closet shelves, power bar, lamps, foldable work table,
- Kitchen stuff: dishes, cutlery, lunch containers, insulated mug, can opener, pots and pans, tea towels, microwave oven, coffee maker, blender, cake and muffin pans, measuring cups.
- Furniture if where you will live is not furnished: it could be a bedroom set (the one you use at home or an extra one from the cottage), an old couch for your shared living room, a couple of coffee tables.  It doesn’t have to be fancy, just comfortable; after, we all know people whose best storage furniture consists of milk crates!
Notice that on this list I did not put any consumable; this is because there is no use ‘stealing’ mom’s shampoo if she’s going to have to buy more.  A better idea is to watch the sales the summer before you go away and to buy before you need any of it; if you do not have easy access to a store at university, ask you parents to take you when and if they visit you, or do one large trip every other month: the taxi fare may be worth it.  Or find the store that is on an easy bus route (maybe not the closest one, but the one that is more convenient for you) or carpool with one person who has a car (and treat them to dessert from your cart!).
An extra tip: advertise with relatives and friends of the family what you need a good 6 months before going away – this way people who know your family will ‘save’ for you what they would have otherwise gotten rid of.  For example, one of my friends let me know she was buying a new set of dishes and called me to know if my daughter wanted her old set.  As well, high school graduation presents (if any) can be gifts that will be useful for college and university (a new duvet or coffee maker, or at the higher end of the spectrum, a new laptop or cell phone).  Finally, if there is something that you’d like but do not NEED, ask for the item as a birthday or Christmas present!

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