Four dining room table and chair sets, five living room furniture sets, three master bedroom sets and cribs and changing tables for four kids, toddler beds and big girl beds for two kids and eventually big kid room sets for the twins, dozens of bar stools, half dozen outdoor patio furniture sets, three office desks and table sets and three bars; that’s just the furniture for our two homes that we have purchased since we built our first home 11 years ago and bought our second home a year ago. There has been so, so much more.
My husband and I realize we buy a lot of furniture, but we think we have finally found what we love – and what fits into our new home appropriately. We pay cash for our furniture, because we don’t like the idea of not paying cash for things our kids will likely destroy or make imperfect in no time at all, and we spend a lot of money. In fact, I’ll tell you right now that our newest living room set in the informal family room just cost us $3,618; and it’s only one piece of furniture. Now, it’s a great piece. A huge white leather sectional with a chaise lounge, four cup holders, two storage armrests and three electronic reclining seats – it’s a beast and it is exactly what we wanted and needed for a room that size.
If I did the math, I’d probably cry thinking about how much money we spend on furniture. If my mother did the math on how much money she spends on furniture, however, it would take her less than a second and the answer would be $0. In fact, everything that is no longer in our home has spent time in her home. She is the queen of redecorating hers and my dad’s home every year with new furniture in almost every room, and she never pays a dime. Never; probably because I’m a furniture sucker and I buy new stuff all the time while giving her my not-very-old furniture.
Either way, though; it can be done. You can furnish an entire home without spending a dime on new furniture, and it’s not even that difficult. I’m taking a page out of my mom’s book to share with you so that you can find out who you can furnish your home at no cost so that you can enjoy the cash you have in the bank on something else – like a vacation from your home and your hard work finding free furniture.
Ask Your Family and Friends
“What are you going to do with your current living room set?” asked my mom when I mentioned our new set was being delivered the following week. I knew where she was going with that one; she’s asked me that question a dozen times in the past and every single time she’s ended up loading up my old furniture in my dad’s truck to take home. Inwardly, I sighed and replied, “I guess just donate it. Why?” I ask. She then launches into a long story about how she knows someone who needs new furniture because their house burned down/they lost everything in a flood/they just moved/they’re broke/they’re divorced/whatever and how she was thinking she could give them her furniture and get something new for her house. And since I’m just going to donate mine, why not donate it to her?
It’s the same exact thing every single time. I don’t mind; I really don’t. So, go ahead and try it with your friends and family and see if you can end up with tens of thousands of dollars worth of nice furniture over the course of your life free of charge.
Ask Friends and Family to Ask Their Friends and Family
“Do you know anyone who is looking to get rid of an old bar cart or dining room table?” a friend asked me a few years ago. I happened to know that I was. She’d just had a baby, her partner left her for someone else and she is a teacher who just bought herself a home so that she could provide her son with the best possible life for the two of them to share. I was happy to give her my old bar cart so that she could use it in her new house. I also knew of some friends who’d recently mentioned on Facebook that they bought a new dining room table and were looking to re-home theirs a week later when the new one arrived. So I asked them, and they were happy to give it to her, and she ended up with both all because of a friend of a friend. Just ask; the worst anyone can say is no.
Ask for It
When my family asks me what I want for Christmas, I never know what to say. As grown adults, my husband and I are at a point in our lives where if we want something, we buy it. So when our families ask, I’m not sure what to say. I’m not comfortable telling them anything expensive, so I might add to their list something that I might have noticed I needed recently, such as a new set of knives or wine glasses or something of that nature. However, I have a girlfriend whose mom asks her every year what she wants for Christmas and she always replies with exactly what she wants, no matter the cost. She ends up with furniture if she wants it, so go ahead and ask for it.
Buy Nothing Groups
Did you know that social media is filled with something called buy nothing groups that allow local residents in your community to join the group and trade their items for other items? I did not know this until I overheard someone recently discussing it. They were able to trade some old baby furniture for some new furniture for their home, and I thought that it sounded quite interesting. I don’t know that it’s something that might work on a regular basis, but it does not hurt to try, does it?
Scour Yard Sales
Now, yard sales are not looking to give things away; you have to buy them. However, sometimes you might get lucky when someone cannot sell something after a long weekend yard sale and they decide to give it away. The worst that they can tell you is no, so why not head up to a yard sale that’s packing everything away after the weekend and ask about that table or chairs or whatever it is that they are putting away and ask if you can have it. If they say no but that they will sell it to you, tell them no thank you since you cannot afford it. You might get lucky and they will just give it to you. It saves them a trip to the thrift store to donate it and it saves them some space having to store it until they figure out what else to do with it.
Ask on Social Media
If people with no shame can get on their Facebook account and announce to the world that their husband is a lying, no good, cheating jerk who they are kicking out and then post photos of the two of them cuddling up talking about how happy they are three days later without any shame, you can ask your friends and followers if they know anyone who has any furniture to give away. I mean, really; I’d rather see people asking for free stuff than people airing every single piece of dirty laundry they’ve ever had on one status – every single day.
Just ask. You never know who might have something that they are willing to get rid of. I’m one of those people; there are times when I’m dying to get something out of my house and will happily give to anyone who is willing to come get it so I can clear that clutter out of my home. It’s just how I roll.
Check with the Salvation Army
This is not something you can do if you are not in exceptional financial need. If you are in such a state that you absolutely cannot afford furniture and you are in exceptional financial need, please go to your local Salvation Army and ask for a free furniture voucher. They are happy to provide these to people who show extreme financial need, and they will happily help you out when you are in need.
Go to Craigslist
It’s not my favorite place to go. Actually, I’d avoid this site like the plague if someone suggested using it. I guess I see too many creepy things happening to people on the news because they like to use Craigslist. So, it’s not for me. However, if you are an avid Craigslist lover – as many people are – you might want to check out the site to see what people are giving away. You never know; sometimes people are just looking to make some space and get rid of things as quickly as possible so that they can clear out some space in their homes or whatnot, and they will happily provide you with some free furniture if you just check.
Drive Around Upscale Neighborhoods
My husband and I were able to find our dream house in our dream neighborhood for an amazing deal when it was foreclosed on last year, and we love living here. We love there are deed restrictions that require all the houses are a certain size, that yards must look a certain way and that there cannot be trash out on the driveways and visible anywhere in anyone’s yard unless it is trash pickup day. It’s a really upscale neighborhood, and we’ve noticed that on trash days (when the HOA can’t really do anything about it) many of the people around here will put their old furniture at the end of their driveway and offer it free of charge – and they will leave it out there until the trash people come before they move it back inside to avoid a call from the HOA.
You can drive around neighborhoods with big homes and expensive taste and often find that many people just want things gone so they will stick their old furniture – which is gorgeous and very expensive – outside for someone to take. It usually does not last long at the end of someone’s driveway since it’s such nice stuff, but it’s worth an hour of your time to drive around neighborhoods and see what’s being offered.
Call the Church
Another way for those who are in a financial situation that does not allow for much wiggle room, you can call your local churches and ask what they have. I know that my church, for instance, takes all kinds of things that no one wants and they collect them in a warehouse on the property so that they can provide them to those in need when they are asked. We have donated many items, including baby items and baby furniture, to the church so that they can help the locals who need it most, so I can say with certainty that they have some very nice things in there for people who simply cannot afford to pay for items that they need on their own.
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