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How to furnish an apartment on the AmeriCorps stipend

April 9, 2010

You may not be as lucky as Kurt and snag a hand-me-down couch, but there are other options if you need a place to sit or nap. In fact, if you’re savvy, you can furnish an entire apartment on your AmeriCorps shoestring. Use these resources in combination to get the job done:

1. Craigslist: You can buy new and used furniture and find giveaways on Craigslist. Sometimes people sell entire living room or bedroom sets and the prices can be reasonable. I snagged a nightstand and tv shelf for $20 each–much less than their prices in stores. The ads list locations and sometimes include photos so you can get a sense of what you’re in for. I suggest adding all relevant Craigslist pages to your RSS feed to get instant updates on new listings.

2. Freecycle: Most major cities/metropolitan areas have Freecycle groups. Freecycle is essentially a mailing list, with digests delivered to your inbox either daily (in a summary of new posts for that day) or individually (one email each time someone makes a new post). Everything on Freecycle is free, and unlike Craigslist’s free section, posters cannot say “free for curbside pick up”; they have to formally accept one of the repliers and schedule a pick up. It’s a lot less of a free-for-all. I highly recommend using the individual notifications. It might inundate your inbox, but you’ll get first dibs on the best stuff. Use your AmeriCorps position in your email when you ask for an item. Can’t hurt to tug on some heart strings!

3. Second hand stores: Goodwill, Salvation Army, there’s lots of these places around. What you’ll find on any given visit will vary, but at the very least the stores are great for the random things you can’t find too easily on Freecycle or Craigslist, like silverware or wine glasses.

4. Nearby sidewalks: Take a walk around your neighborhood and see what you find. I once picked up a working espresso maker from a sidewalk, and I’ve seen people put out furniture…even antique lawn mowers. Too bad I don’t have a yard.

Good luck!

7 Comments leave one →
  1. April 9, 2010 8:27 pm

    You might want to put a warning about bed bugs and getting rid of them. They can take months to hatch.

  2. October 30, 2010 11:52 pm

    Corning made wine glasses seem to be the best! they are tough and have great designs –

  3. January 31, 2011 9:58 pm

    Craigslist ‘Free’ is fantastic as well! I can’t believe the great stuff available, especially towards the end of the month when people are frantically moving and need to leave items.

    Estate sales are also a wonderful way to find deals and to make them easy to find, there are companies that offer listings of sales each weekend. Because the items have been sorted by professionals, this is a great way to get household items in really good condition and kitchenware with a lot of character.

    Thanks for the thoughtful post!

  4. March 29, 2011 1:49 pm

    Great post! I employed all four methods to furnishing my new apt here in Atlanta.

    Another tip would be to look out for furniture auctions at Storage centers/Thrift shops. The Salv Army here has one M-F, and most bids start low. It’s actually where most antique shops will get there stuff, then mark them up in their storefronts.

  5. April 11, 2011 12:52 pm

    Take a look at the site http://www.ecofreek.com as well to take advantage of all the cool free and swap items in your area

  6. July 6, 2011 2:25 pm

    Some truly nice stuff on this website , I reading How to furnish an apartment on the AmeriCorps stipend A Lifetime Of Service.

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