Students can find low-priced furniture for apartments and houses this fall

Joy Wessels

Moving into a new apartment or house can be hectic. Between meeting new roommates and getting used to your new environment, the whole move-in process may be both emotionally and physically draining. Furnishing your new “crib” may also drain your wallet. To keep your losses at a minimum, remember these houseware-hunting tips. 

Ask around

If you’re OK with not having brand-new furniture, then I’d recommend checking with extended family members who might have some old things lying around. You’ll probably find that they have a kitchen table stashed away or a couch that has a small hole in it. Furniture like this often has the advantage of being free — a benefit few college students can afford to overlook. 

Buy used

If you don’t have much luck getting free stuff from your family, consignment stores like Goodwill and The Salvation Army are excellent places to check out for incredibly low-priced items that are still in pretty good shape. They have everything from lamps for less than $10 to kitchen tables for $30. Their chairs typically range from $25 to $100. These types of stores often contain hidden treasures that can actually make your apartment look pretty good. Add a vintage patterned couch to your living room or funky-shaped chairs to your kitchen table. Your visitors will be sure to envy the flair they add to your decor.

Another good place to buy used from are garage sales. In a city as big as Ames, there are garage sales happening all the time. Better yet, they’re usually advertised in the newspaper listing items for sale as well as the location of where you can rummage. While prices at Goodwill and Salvation Army aren’t negotiable, they definitely are at garage sales. Things are already pretty cheap, but with a charming smile and a “poor college kid” sob story, you’ll be sure to knock off a few more bucks. If there isn’t a garage sale going on, don’t be afraid to try Craigslist. People are in such a hurry to get rid of big bulky furniture that they’ll probably give you a good price for it.

Try retail stores

While consignment stores and garage sales can sometimes be hit or miss, Target and Walmart are pretty reliable when it comes to having good deals on great-looking furniture. As the school year approaches, both places open up their dorm life sections. These offer a lot for apartment- and house-dwellers. Lamps range from $15 to $60 in price. Side tables can be found for less than $50. Walmart and Target locations will usually stock coordinated furniture and accessories as well. If you like things to match closely, buy a couple throw pillows for less than $20 that go with the design on your lamps.

Don’t make moving into your apartment or house this school year a hassle or let it burn a hole in your wallet. Try checking with family for stuff they might have lying around, scouring consignment stores for vintage furniture, or buying new things from Walmart and Target for a good deal.