Best Approach for Purchasing Many Furnishings

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SUP3RMAN 131
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Best Approach for Purchasing Many Furnishings

Post by SUP3RMAN 131 » Thu Nov 09, 2017 1:22 pm

I'm in the process of looking for my first apartment away from the parents. I think I have a good grasp of the price range (14.3% - 18.6%) of gross income would be allocated to the rent. Obviously utilities and the such would increase the percentage slightly.

My new issue is the fact that I own very little in the way of furnishings (couch, tables, end tables, bed, plates, towels etc.). Has anyone here gone through the process of buying many items all at once? And what do you recommend as the best approach to get good value.

Also, are there any good rules of thumb concerning how much should/could be spent? I make $60,000 with no outstanding debt.

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Pajamas
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Re: Best Approach for Purchasing Many Furnishings

Post by Pajamas » Thu Nov 09, 2017 1:38 pm

Lots of people I know (including myself) started out with hand-me-downs from family and friends, but that seems to be less popular these days. Many people spend a day at Ikea and furnish a new place that way. The best value in purchased furnishings would probably be from buying good quality items at reasonable prices over time rather than a bunch of stuff all at once without much consideration.

My suggestion would be to buy a comfortable bed, basic bed and bath linens and kitchen equipment, and then go from there.

If you enjoy cooking, then don't waste money on cheap disposable kitchen items. If you don't really care, then there are inexpensive "kitchen in a box" starter kits available.

Oh, and if you will be renting and then moving, try to get by with as little as possible. Moving is a pain and the more stuff you have, the bigger of a pain it is.
Last edited by Pajamas on Thu Nov 09, 2017 1:40 pm, edited 2 times in total.

runner3081
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Re: Best Approach for Purchasing Many Furnishings

Post by runner3081 » Thu Nov 09, 2017 1:38 pm

Craigslist, Offerup, Letgo, etc.

Stick with a few smaller pieces that are inexpensive to start. As you move into a more permanent situation, you can buy nicer furniture. Having nice stuff now makes no sense. Every time you move, that furniture gets a little bit weaker and weaker.

Rupert
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Re: Best Approach for Purchasing Many Furnishings

Post by Rupert » Thu Nov 09, 2017 1:41 pm

Everyone has gone through this process at some point. Best to start with hand me downs from grandparents and parents. Fill in with purchases from Ikea (especially great for dishes, etc.), Craigslist, and antique/consignment shops. Don't go out and buy all brand-new stuff for your first place. Slowly replace pieces with nicer stuff over time. When you get married/permanently attached to someone, she or he will want to replace it all anyway.

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Re: Best Approach for Purchasing Many Furnishings

Post by forgeblast » Thu Nov 09, 2017 3:19 pm

We did Ikea and were able to buy for the house vs a room. The furniture lasted a long time, we have been swapping it out to better products as they wear out.

DarthSage
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Re: Best Approach for Purchasing Many Furnishings

Post by DarthSage » Thu Nov 09, 2017 3:27 pm

My oldest (22) was able to completely furnish her first place for $0. She got some furniture from a friend who was moving and didn't want it. She got additional stuff from her grandmother, and a few items from us.

She went to school and is now living in the Boston area. They call the second weekend of May, "Alston Christmas" because so many students move out and leave furniture on the curb. If you live near a college, you might be able to do something similar. December is less popular, but some students move out and just throw stuff out--especially foreign students, who have no way to bring that couch, etc. back with them.

It's also worth looking at yard sales and thrift stores. Will you find the furniture of your dreams? Not likely. But you may come up with enough to tide you over, so that you can upgrade gradually, as your budget allows. I was in a thrift store yesterday that had 2 hutches, a dining room table, several couches, chairs, and some bookcases. Used, for sure, but in decent shape.

Random Poster
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Re: Best Approach for Purchasing Many Furnishings

Post by Random Poster » Thu Nov 09, 2017 3:28 pm

If you aren't picky about such things, you can often find decent plates, glasses, and basic baking tools (dishes, cookie sheets, etc) at Goodwill.

If you don't plan on living in the apartment for very long and don't want to be attached to much, consider buying some outdoor-type furniture and using that as your dining room table and chairs. Probably some good sales on such items this time of year too.

stan1
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Re: Best Approach for Purchasing Many Furnishings

Post by stan1 » Thu Nov 09, 2017 3:37 pm

Think about whether you really need extra seating or dining space. Only get furniture you will use, don't just fill up the space. You'll invariably move and more furniture means more hassle. That means probably stay away from the stores that sell by the room. Likewise if you get a lot of storage you may find yourself filling it up. If you can stay a minimalist that helps.

Plenty of free and low cost sources already mentioned. Family and friends of family will often give away furniture they no longer want if you haul it away. Helps to have a friend with a pickup truck.

If you buy agree with Ikea as a reasonable choice for everything but maybe not a mattress and sofa. We have other stores who try to come close to price but their stuff doesn't hold up. Ikea has different grades of furniture: I think their sweet spot is higher grade MDF, avoiding cardboard/plastic as much as you can.

For a mattress I'd consider one of the many bed in a box offerings with a 90 day in home trial unless you know you need a special mattress (e.g. don't sleep well, large body frame).

For sofas you really need to go sit in them. Do you sit straight up, slouch, or lay down on the sofa?

I'd avoid places like Room and Board at least until you have purchased a home. If Ikea furniture gets a few dents or scratches on it during a move its not a big deal; if your $3,000 dining table gets a scratch you'll be disappointed.

wstrdg
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Re: Best Approach for Purchasing Many Furnishings

Post by wstrdg » Thu Nov 09, 2017 3:53 pm

Put up a "used furniture wanted" post on Nextdoor dot com. You might make your neighbors happy by picking up their old stuff.

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MnyGrl
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Re: Best Approach for Purchasing Many Furnishings

Post by MnyGrl » Thu Nov 09, 2017 3:55 pm

My feeling is that when you are young and likely to be moving to many apartments etc. before buying a place, don't buy expensive furniture because things will get damaged every time you move. :( Wait until you buy a place to get amazing furniture.

I would invest more in the bigger pieces - a good sofa and bed, for example - and fill in with IKEA, Craigslist, etc.

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Pajamas
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Re: Best Approach for Purchasing Many Furnishings

Post by Pajamas » Thu Nov 09, 2017 4:01 pm

DarthSage wrote:
Thu Nov 09, 2017 3:27 pm
so many students move out and leave furniture on the curb. If you live near a college, you might be able to do something similar.
That's true here, too. Most of the students at some of the local private universities are from elsewhere and they don't throw out so much large furniture but definitely items like microwaves, small refrigerators, computer monitors, desk lamps, you name it. There are plenty of people who take it.

The garbage and recycling area at apartment complexes can also be a great place to pick up stuff near the end of the month.

Just be careful with anything that could harbor bedbugs if you are scavenging or buying from thrift shops. Not just upholstered items, but anything that has crevices where they can hide, such as wooden furniture.

rjbraun
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Re: Best Approach for Purchasing Many Furnishings

Post by rjbraun » Thu Nov 09, 2017 4:43 pm

Also, freecycle.org. Don't think I saw that site mentioned, yet. Great resource for people with things to give away or those interested to acquire items. Everything is transacted for free; no money exchange allowed.

Depending on where OP lives, they may want to expand their geographic search, particularly to more prosperous areas that are still within relatively easy driving distance. I've been struck by some of the goods people give away (still understandable as they may simply be replacing or upgrading items).

https://www.freecycle.org/

Edit: I regularly saw sofas, rugs and similar household products in good condition being available for pickup when I was using the site earlier.

adamthesmythe
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Re: Best Approach for Purchasing Many Furnishings

Post by adamthesmythe » Thu Nov 09, 2017 5:02 pm

Get what you can from hand-me-downs and then go to Ikea.

Sometimes local "antique" malls have pieces of furniture that are very usable and cost less than new cheap stuff.

Don't buy more than you really need to. Add to it gradually.

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DaftInvestor
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Re: Best Approach for Purchasing Many Furnishings

Post by DaftInvestor » Thu Nov 09, 2017 5:06 pm

Also - check craigslist - people list stuff for free all the time (I sometimes do) when they are trying to get rid of stuff due to remodeling, etc.
Lastly - be sure you let friends and family gently know - they may have some stuff in their attics or storage they are looking to get rid of.
If you want to buy new or are forced to because trying to find used didn't bear fruit - IKEA is GREAT for starters. Decent quality at affordable prices.

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Re: Best Approach for Purchasing Many Furnishings

Post by Gnirk » Thu Nov 09, 2017 5:30 pm

Briefly- Craig’s List, Offer Up, and Facebook Marketplace for hard line furniture like end tables, coffe tables, dressers, dining tables and chairs. Buy soft lines new, especially mattresses. Costco is a good source if you or a family member belong to it. Also good for electronics. Linens and kitchen ware from HomeGoods and Costco.

123
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Re: Best Approach for Purchasing Many Furnishings

Post by 123 » Thu Nov 09, 2017 7:02 pm

For the most part try to buy smaller pieces of furniture. Your first piece of living room furniture can be a recliner. Buy a love seat instead of a 10 foot sofa. Buy a small dining room table and 4 chairs instead of a set with 8 chairs and leaves. Smaller pieces provide a few benefits, they make your space look bigger, they are easier to move, and smaller furnishing will fit into future housing options better, whether you move to a different apartment or start sharing household space. If you buy large pieces it can limit your options. I wouldn't buy a king size bed until I bought my first home because of the size constraints that come with it.
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WhyNotUs
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Re: Best Approach for Purchasing Many Furnishings

Post by WhyNotUs » Thu Nov 09, 2017 7:14 pm

If you are a renter then I would think about ease of moving and its ability to stand up to a move. Better furniture is heavy and not moving friendly.
My daughter just scored at Ikea. I have never been there but she found some nice looking items at a good price. Her last set was used and she got three years out of it for a couple hundred bucks. When she moved the new people wanted that stuff and gave her $50 for it which saved her moving costs.
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J295
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Re: Best Approach for Purchasing Many Furnishings

Post by J295 » Thu Nov 09, 2017 7:21 pm

Lots of good ideas here… If it hasn’t already beast been said, I would purchase a new bed and all new linen. Used beds run the risk of bedbugs (do certain other items).

To give you some perspective, I am not a neat freak at all. However, in the community work I do where people of very modest means need new beds, our organization only provides new beds and new linen. We do not accept used beds for donation although we accept other items to provide to our thrift shop

Dottie57
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Re: Best Approach for Purchasing Many Furnishings

Post by Dottie57 » Thu Nov 09, 2017 8:38 pm

I started out with Estate Sale And Garage Sale furniture. Some very nice pieces and most bought for very little. Stuff was good quality but not highly fashionable.

DrGoogle2017
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Re: Best Approach for Purchasing Many Furnishings

Post by DrGoogle2017 » Thu Nov 09, 2017 9:35 pm

Mine bought her furniture from Ikea, Walmart, and Target. Except for the bed, I doubt she spent that much. Somehow she turns frugal when it’s her money. When it was mine, she wasn’t.

sport
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Re: Best Approach for Purchasing Many Furnishings

Post by sport » Thu Nov 09, 2017 10:10 pm

One other alternative would be a furnished apartment. That is what I did when I first moved from my parents home. All I had to buy was silverware, dishes, glasses, a few pots/pans, sheets and towels, a small TV and a vacuum cleaner. When I moved, I just put it all in the car with my clothes.

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Re: Best Approach for Purchasing Many Furnishings

Post by kjvmartin » Thu Nov 09, 2017 11:26 pm

I furnished just about my entire 1 bedroom apartment at Ikea, in 2008, for under $2000.

Here was my trick. I had an aunt with an eye for interior design over for dinner. She took pity on my poor state, what with my mattress on the floor and old particle board desk. We planned an Ikea day, I picked the overall theme I liked online, and I ended up with a comfortable & suave (if a bit minimalist) bachelor pad.

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Re: Best Approach for Purchasing Many Furnishings

Post by bigred77 » Thu Nov 09, 2017 11:45 pm

My first post college apartment was a condo that I actually bought via short sale so I expected to spend a number of years there. All I had was “college” furniture so I took my first bonus and furnished the whole 800sqft for about $5k or so from a discount furniture store. I thought I was such the savvy consumer. It was all junk that literally fell apart within a couple of years.

When we moved into a house we bought quality furniture (admittedly I was scarred from the experience so maybe we went too high end and expensive) over a number of years as finances would allow. Much more pleased with the look, quality, and durability.

For a first apartment where I expected the possibility of moving a few more times in the next few years I would second the IKEA suggestion. If it breaks, just replace it. Buy smaller sized furniture, don’t missjudge the space that I’m assuming you will be working with. You don’t need seating for 10. For linens, towels, kitchen essentials, and decor just go to Target or similar. If you have matching plates your already swanky enough at this stage.

snowox
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Re: Best Approach for Purchasing Many Furnishings

Post by snowox » Fri Nov 10, 2017 4:50 am

Furniture isn't worth a crap these days. By that I mean get it as inexpensive as you can because it has no resale value. Put the word out and people will probably give you stuff for free to haul away. You can get stuff at rummage sales/Garage sales for nothing and I agree if you want new Ikea is really a good way to go. I just bought a Kitchen Island on Houzz and was very impressed as well. Craigslist, letgo, do them all and in a day you can have all you need an more. If you have a Facebook account put on there need furniture will haul away free. I have several things in my basement I'd give away that i slowly dispose of so I don't have to buy a dumpster and there is nothing wrong with it but people don't want to buy it. But with one in college a freshman next year moving to an apartment and another one leaving this January I will probably just load up and haul to them. Furniture is a bad investment so like i said get it for free as much as you can and save a bundle of :moneybag

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Tamarind
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Re: Best Approach for Purchasing Many Furnishings

Post by Tamarind » Fri Nov 10, 2017 6:04 am

DarthSage wrote:
Thu Nov 09, 2017 3:27 pm
My oldest (22) was able to completely furnish her first place for $0. She got some furniture from a friend who was moving and didn't want it. She got additional stuff from her grandmother, and a few items from us.

She went to school and is now living in the Boston area. They call the second weekend of May, "Alston Christmas" because so many students move out and leave furniture on the curb. If you live near a college, you might be able to do something similar. December is less popular, but some students move out and just throw stuff out--especially foreign students, who have no way to bring that couch, etc. back with them.

It's also worth looking at yard sales and thrift stores. Will you find the furniture of your dreams? Not likely. But you may come up with enough to tide you over, so that you can upgrade gradually, as your budget allows. I was in a thrift store yesterday that had 2 hutches, a dining room table, several couches, chairs, and some bookcases. Used, for sure, but in decent shape.
+1 to this and to Craigslist free, and to office and school surplus sales. The only thing really worth buying new for yourself at this point would be a comfy mattress. Remember that you're going to have to haul everything you buy next time you move. If you plan on having roommates don't forget they'll bring some of their own furnishings, and likely leave some behind over time.

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Dendritic Tree
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Re: Best Approach for Purchasing Many Furnishings

Post by Dendritic Tree » Fri Nov 10, 2017 6:49 am

I furnished my first apartment completely off Craigslist (except the mattress) for super cheap. Many of the items were actually free. I still use my dining room table that was a diamond in the rough that I got for free and refinished myself (I should find the before/after pics - a total piece of crap turned out pretty amazing). Most of the crappy furniture survived well into my marriage. We have been slowly replacing things as we can afford to, starting with the most obviously degraded stuff. Eventually we’ll move on to the big-ticket stuff like a nice bedroom suite - after our student loans are paid off!

Moral is, everyone here is right - for your first time out, do it on the cheap, then slowly upgrade.

Toadandfriends
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Re: Best Approach for Purchasing Many Furnishings

Post by Toadandfriends » Fri Nov 10, 2017 12:43 pm

For inexpensive and comfy sofa/sectional/chair options I love Home Reserve. They are located in Indiana but they ship their sectionals all over the country in boxes. The furniture is very flexible - you can buy a piece at a time and add on arms, ottomans, other chair units etc as your needs change. And it fits in smaller spaces (up stairs and around tight corners!) and is very mobile. I have found it to be well built (I think the quality is higher than IKEA but basically similar) You choose your covers (I love the pet friendly fabric and washable covers-soft and tough) and arm styles. You can replace individual parts and individual slip cover parts. I found it in my quest for cat friendly furniture :)

BW1985
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Re: Best Approach for Purchasing Many Furnishings

Post by BW1985 » Fri Nov 10, 2017 12:54 pm

When we bought our house I learned how expensive furniture was. Luckily for us my wife likes to take old outdated furniture off craiglist for very cheap and then refinish it by chalk painting it or staining it to her style. So that's one way to go.
"Squirrels figured out how to save eons ago. They buried acorns. Some, they dug up, for food. Others, they let to sprout, in new oak trees. We could learn from squirrels." -john94549

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