Monday, April 6, 2015
Get It for Free
When I wanted to furnish my first apartment, as a university student, I did not have a lot of money. My mother had given me her (very) old kitchen table and chairs (oh, the feel of plastic cushions under my legs in the summer!), and two very old and low-to-the-ground chairs from a seldom-used office. We had a few plates, a microwave that weighed almost as much as the fridge and had only one power setting, and the dresser from my bedroom; luckily, I was not moving very far. We did want, however, a few more pieces to contain our ‘stuff’; a desk, a bookcase, an office chair, etc.
Today’s student has a lot more choices as to where to acquire a few objects to make life more enjoyable. I just had a look at Kijiji tonight. In the FREE section, there was a working television offered (not flat screen, but if it works, who cares?), an entertainment center, a couple of couches in decent condition, arm chairs, a couple of beds, a computer desk, two pianos (!), all free for the taking. In all cases but one, the ‘buyer’ has to pick up the furniture, which of course is difficult for a student without a car. However, for the price of renting a van for a few hours, you can pick up all of these if you plan it well. In the same spirit, you can easily give away your old furniture if/when you move away from your college town.
Another, more exclusive, group that exchanges items for free is Freecycle. Freecycle is a Yahoo group so you have to ask to become a member and the main rule of posting on their site is that everything you offer has to be free – completely free, no trades, no exchange, no conditions. I have given many items via Freecycle, but have also received many, many items, such as downhill skis and boots, plants, clothing for myself, an electric kettle, unopened milk (someone had an extra litre from a visitor who drank different fat % milk), and bedsheets. In my area last night, there were offers for a free single bed (complete with mattress and bedframe), a TV, empty wine bottles (if you make your own wine), a blue vase, and hot chocolate. You can choose to receive new posting in your email, or check their website throughout the week.
With different methods, such as looking online, checking paper ads on bulletin boards, and driving through the student area right after final exam time in the spring, you should be able to find several free items. The savings will be more if you get an expensive item for free (assuming you were going to buy it otherwise) like a dresser or a coffee maker. But even little freebies can be welcome if you do not have to travel too far to obtain them. I have received clothing via Freecycle (for myself and more recently, my children), a curtain rod (perfect size too!), some books, and some plants. Unfortunately, I discovered Freecycle after my home was well-furnished; I still donate quite a bit of stuff through it and through Kijiji though, specifying that picking up the item(s) is necessary.
Just remember that if you can be a bit patient, you may be able to obtain many of your wish-list items for free.