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Monday, February 7, 2011

FREE STUFF for your Apartment or Office!


Ok this post is very simple – Craigslist (http://www.craigslist.com/) is my friend!  If you want free stuff for your apartment, this is the best site to start with.
Go to the Craigslist site and choose the city you live in.  Obviously the bigger the city, the more options you’ll have to get free stuff for your apartment or office.  Go to the “For Sale” section and click on the “FREE” link.  You can find so many items here to fill your apartment/office, and if you’re crafty you can redecorate these items to make them your own.  You can search for a specific item or just browse through the listings.  Most of the items listed here are from folks who are moving out and do not want the hassle of getting their items out of the apartment.  The main thing to keep in mind is that these items go very quickly so you have to be ready to get to the location to pick up the items (most of the items can only be picked up) once the person contacts you with their address.  Also sometimes the people who list free items leave them on the curb so again you have to be quick to grab them first.
Use your common sense and best judgment when surfing the CL ads.  If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  Never go alone to someone’s house to pick up free items; always go with a friend.  With the current bed bug epidemic I would caution against picking up free clothes, mattresses, sofas, and wooden bed frames, among other things.  I also suggest cleaning the items you pick up OUTSIDE, before placing them in your apartment. 
In my experience the best time to pick up free stuff for your apartment/office is in May when college is out!  The college kids have to clean out their dorm rooms to go back home for the summer and boy do they get rid of some quality stuff!  I’ve seen brand new printers getting thrown away, office chairs, bookshelves and so many other quality items.  If you have any friends living on a campus, go visit them when it’s time to move out, and be sure to empty your car for the trip =)   Even if you don’t have any friends living on a college campus, just walk by any off-campus houses where a lot of students live and you’ll see some great items on the curb.  You might also want to browse through the Craigslist "Free" section around this time.
April is also a good time to find some free stuff for your apartment or office.  With Earth Day events happening at the end of April, many not-for-profit agencies and local politicians host “green awareness” initiatives.  Many of these events/initiatives involve refurbishing home/office items and giving them away to be reused.  I had gone to an event two years ago in NYC, hosted by the Manhattan Borough President’s office, where they had a “swap” event of old office supplies.  You would give them your old/broken item, a fax machine for example, and they would trade you for a working, refurbished fax machine. 
Just make sure to be aware of everything happening around your community and city/town, so you can know of what events you can benefit from to get some awesome free stuff for your apartment or office.  Again I recommend joining as many newsletters/newsfeeds, Twitter profiles, Facebook groups as possible to maximize your “free stuff” knowledge.