Your Resource Guide To Finding Free (Or Cheap) Furniture

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Walking our dog was how we found our dining room table 🙂

Moving into a new place and want to give it that Scandinavian vibe with some simple but functional furniture pieces? Or thinking of finally getting started on that long-overdue home design update that you’ve been putting off for years?

Of course, a huge part of what gives your home that “look” is hand-picked furniture pieces. If you’re like me, you may have spent hours and hours pinning posts on Pinterest under “My Dream Home” or “Home Design Inspiration,” or browsing through IKEA’s catalogs and just oohing and aahing at all those trendy and room seating.

But when you look at the price tag of that marshmallow-soft Norsborg two-seater or that lovely Kivik sofa that you want to just plop into after a long, tiring day—oh, the heartbreak! It costs more than you’re willing to spend plus the nightmare of assembling every new piece – that’s hours of additional work for something you already paid full price for.

But don’t fret just yet! There are other ways you can make your home look like a secluded sanctuary straight out of Central Park South — without breaking the bank. Read on to find out where and how you can hunt for the furniture of your dreams for less — or even for free!

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Table of Contents

1. Look For Great Deals Online

Are you a member of an online community or forum? If yes, check if there are sections where member can swap, trade, or sell items—or maybe even give away and get stuff for free.

Online coupon sites, gift cards, online communities offering free stuff—the Internet is awash with ways to get your furniture for free or at a discounted price. Here are just some of them:

Browse Listings on Craigslist

From an email distribution list to friends started by a lonely San Francisco newbie, Craigslist has grown into a massive online classifieds site reaching over 700 cities and 70 countries. The “For Sale” section features a dizzying array of ads for furniture items from all over the United States.

Fancy furniture items that come with an interesting (and sort of sad) back story? Check out this “Moving On is Hard To Do Sale” ad, featured in Best-of-Craigslist (and is still up as of our last check).

A cool feature under Craigslist’s “for sale” section is the bartering tool, which allows you to offer your gently used items in exchange for another owner’s unwanted stuff. 

Planning to do some serious furniture-diving on Craigslist? Here are a few tips to maximize your time:

  • Use quotation marks when you want to search for an exact phrase. For example, searching for “vintage armoire” will lead you to results containing that exact same phrase. Otherwise, I would recommend using broad keywords like “baby car seat.”
  • Use a vertical bar as a stand-in for “or” when you’re searching for keywords. For example, you can type “Nordic | Scandinavian” to help broaden your search.
  • Craigslist will disguise both you and the sellers’ email using a relay system. It’s fair game to ask if the item is available first before asking (if the owner replies) if they’re flexible about the price. Most craigslist users are flexible unless stated otherwise on the listing.
  • Craiglist listings last for 7 days so get the deal sealed in 7 days or you will lose the information on the listing. Remember to screenshot the listing just in case if it’s a larger or pricier purchase and you need proof of condition described.
  • Look at the item details by cross-checking on Amazon or other review websites. Sometimes it’s just a bad quality product and you should go with another brand even if it’s cheap on Craigslist.
  • If the item is free, time matters since it’s usually first come first serve so email the owner and get the location to pick up.

Search eBay Local Listings

Browse local eBay listings and take advantage of their alert settings. This is a feature that Craigslist does not have. If you are on the market for something and are willing to wait, eBay would be a valuable asset in your search.

More experienced bargain hunters prefer to shop for vintage items, wooden furniture on eBay. Although the prices are higher (because of exchange and payment fees), the quality of furniture items on eBay tend to be on the higher end too, so you’re sure to get your money’s worth.

Shop From Home on Wayfair

When Wayfair says they have “a zillion things home,” they are not kidding. This online store has a home item for every style and budget. Aside from their Daily Deals section, don’t forget to check out their clearance items for even greater bargain deals.

  • Take the Wayfair reviews very seriously. Every time I’ve shopped at Wayfair I’ve found their customer reviews on products to be dead on. If there are no reviews, take a look at the brand’s other pieces and overall reputation online.
  • Even though Wayfair does have a decent 30-day refund policy (as long as they’re not clearance or personalized items etc) the big downside is return shipping isn’t free.

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Check Out Deals on Amazon 

Ottomans, bar stools, baby cribs, shag rugs, kitchen islands, even kids’ furniture—name it, and this online shopping giant has it. And for cheaper too. Many of the items in the online Amazon world are cheaper than your run of the mill furniture store where their overhead includes hiring furniture staff and store rent.

Shopping for low-priced furniture pieces is definitely easier with Amazon. No pushy salesmen and instant price comparisons. You can search by price range, brand, material, and color. You can search by condition too.

  • For even greater bargains, click on “used” and “renewed” on the left side of the screen when looking for items.
  • The quality highly varies because Amazon is a third party business. Shipping fees and return policies greatly vary too so be careful purchasing items with little to no reviews (or unverified reviews).
  • Whenever there are more than 25 real reviews on an Amazon furniture item, I feel more confident in the purchase. From experience, the more established the Amazon seller / more popular the items, the more they’ve worked out the kinks that you don’t have to work out for them (like customer service, replacement tools, missing parts, or rain/water damage products.)

Look Up OfferUp (App)

Another marketplace worth checking is OfferUp, an online “garage sale” that makes buying (and selling) stuff easier by matching you up with people within your own neighborhood. If you have a mobile or tablet, you can download the app.

OfferUp has recently teamed up with Goodwill, making the nonprofit’s thrift-store items available via OfferUp’s app and online store platform. Yay for more bargain finds!

⭐ “That’s Interesting!

Browse Offers on Facebook Marketplace

If you’re on Facebook a lot, you might already be familiar with the social media giant’s buy and sell feature, which has been around since 2016. It works pretty much like OfferUp does, by letting you search for items on sale in the neighborhood via its location tool. (You can search according to new listings too.) 

Visit Reddit Forums

No, Reddit isn’t just an online pub for snarky geeks. There’s actually a treasure trove of information—and great deals—waiting to be had in one of its many forums if you know where to look. (For instance, check out this thread of where to find inexpensive furniture online. You can thank us later.)

Try visiting Reddit’s Barter community, where you’ll find plenty of “I’ll trade my Amazon gift card code for such-and-such service” posts. Feeling lucky? Browse posts under r/FREE, the place for all things free.

While we’re on the topic of free furniture, make sure to be as specific as possible when you’re looking for free furniture online. And be patient. Use a bunch of keywords that share similar meanings. If you’re looking for a baby bassinet it could also be under baby cradle, basket, crib, or cot. Look on Thesaurus for similar names.

Join a Buy Nothing Group

Here’s another spot on the web that may help you find furniture without the consumerist guilt.

The Buy Nothing Project is not an online trading place, it’s a social movement that allows you to “pay it forward.” As the name implies, nothing is for sale here. Everything is freely given.

In exchange, all it asks is that you return the favor, whether that’s in the form of giving away stuff you own but don’t need or volunteering to offer your time (like helping a member pick fruits).

Sign Up for Freecycle

Have a sofa that’s not necessarily ugly but is giving you major negative vibes (maybe because it reminds you of an ex)? Instead of tossing it out, why not trade it with another person’s better-looking chaise?

Freecycling is a grassroots movement of people who are shunning the “buy, buy, buy” mentality by promoting “reduce, reuse, and recycle” instead. It’s a win-win for everyone involved: you get to give away stuff you don’t need in exchange for another person’s stuff, and Mama Earth is happy since that’s two items you keep from getting tossed in the landfill.

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2. Traditional Methods

Newspaper Classified Ads

If your online search doesn’t get you any leads, try going the traditional paper route. Local newspaper classified ads sometimes yield the best deals, including vintage furniture from your tech-averse Luddites.

Scour Through Thrift Stores

Nothing compares to the thrill of finding a treasure buried among a pile of kitschy secondhand items.

Whether you’re looking for antique or retro-themed furniture, quirky home decors, offbeat bedcovers, or books to fill your library, there’s a thrift store round the corner that will surely yield some interesting finds for your home.

Some thrift stores (like Goodwill or Salvation Army) partner with charities too, so you not only score a deal when you buy, you earn some good karma too.

You can sign up here to see what offers are lurking in your neighborhood.

Salvation Army Furniture Vouchers

The Salvation Army offers furniture vouchers to people in extreme need (like fire victims or disaster survivors, who could really use some help getting back on their feet again).

If this sounds like you, go to your local Salvation Army branch and don’t be afraid to ask for help.

NOTE: The Salvation Army is a nonprofit that helps those in greatest need. I would suggest going this route only if you’re in dire straits or if you’ve really hit rock-bottom.

Visit Church Yard Sales

Read church bulletins to keep updated on their fund-raising events. Some congregations occasionally sponsor yard sales or free-store events for members of the community in need. You could also try being more proactive and reaching out to your local church office to ask if they could host a free-store event for people like you.

. . . and Preferably at the End of the Day

Speaking of yard sales, make sure to make the most of your visit by dropping by at the “zero hour.” What do I mean by this?

During the first few hours of a yard sale, sellers are usually pretty upbeat about clearing out all their items. This is not the best time to name your price.

Instead, save your offer for the last few minutes of daylight, when activity slows and they are more likely to be open to price negotiations. Try your hand at wrestling a BOGO offer even—who knows, they might take you up on your offer!

Ask Your Landlord

Many a landlord or landlady usually keeps the stuff their previous tenants leave behind, including unwanted furniture. Ask them if they have anything you can use. I’m sure they’d be glad to free up space in their own rooms.

Check Out Announcements on the Bulletin Board

Make it a habit to regularly check the bulletin board for your apartment’s tenants. Those who are moving out soon might post a note calling for takers of furniture they’re leaving behind.

Don’t have a bulletin board? With your landlord’s permission, set up one in a spot where everyone can see it.

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4. Ask Your Friends

What are friends for? Getting you free stuff, of course!

Have a friend who’s been helping herself to your fridge and pantry’s contents every time she visits? Now’s the time to ask her to return the favor!

Kidding aside, friends can be a great source of free furniture (an added bonus: they also know your style).

Here are some ideas you can tap your friends to help you get stuff for your space:

Reach Out to “Just Married” Friends

Know anyone that’s just recently said their “I dos”? Newlyweds that are going to share a home (or are planning to move into a new one) might have old furniture to spare or might be selling wedding gifts at a low price.

Borrow Furniture

Why not try asking friends to let you borrow some of their spare furniture (that may be lying unused in a shack or storage unit) while you’re still raising funds to buy your own. Who knows, they might even agree to just give it to you at no extra cost!

Organize a Furniture Swap

Have an extra rug just laying around? See if you can trade with a friend for something you could use at home. The trick here is to be upfront: Let your friends know what you need or what you’re willing to offer in exchange for stuff they’re ready to give up.

Arrange a Friendly Barter

Got plenty of free time on your hands? Why not put that time to good use by offering your expert services in exchange for some of your friend’s items. A friend might be willing to part with a bedside table if you offer to watch their kids on the weekends.

Have a Housewarming Party

Here’s another great way to use your “dial a friend” card: You can organize a house-warming party and, instead of asking guests to bring in food, why not ask them to bring something to help you fill up your home instead?

Host a Declutter and Chill Day

Instead of Netflix Night or a Wine-and-Cheese Party, gather your group of friends for a night of Show-and-Tell: De-Clutter Your Home Edition. Have each one bring a home item or two that they no longer need, and see if you or anyone else in your circle would like to give it a new home. Anything else that doesn’t get a second chance can go to charity.

Offer To KonMari Your Friend’s Space

With a friend, take turns asking “Does this spark joy?” a la Marie Kondo out of stuff they have lying around at home. See if you can find joy in some the things your friend has discarded and vice versa.

5. Sign Up for Item Registries

Tying the knot soon? If moving into a new place is on your horizon, signing up for an item registry is a great way to build your nest for free—and a great excuse to invite plenty of guests to your wedding.

Here are some tips to make the most of your gift registry:

  • Register at two or three locations. Consider registering with an online store as well as a physical retailer, to give your guests options.
  • Register early. If possible, have your gift registry in place as soon as you’ve created your wedding website.
  • Don’t hold back. Eyeing that rose gold Kitchenaid mixer but think it’s too pricey to put in the list? Don’t worry: Friends can chip in!

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Personal Capital: Sign up and use their net worth calculator for FREE. They are a free financial service platform that helps you analyze your portfolio, retirement, and financial health all on one simple & secure account

Imperfect Foods: We all need groceries. Try out Imperfect Foods to get $80 off ($20 off your first 4 orders.) Read my review of this revolutionary and money-saving grocery delivery service.

ThredUp: The only online recycle clothing store I currently shop and sell with. Great mission statement, company model, customer service, prices, and selection. Sign up with our invite link and you can get $10 free in ThredUP credit.

Survey Junkie: SJ is one of the few survey companies that are 100% legit, user-friendly, and great for making extra money. Earn up to $1,000 a month doing surveys online. You can make anywhere from $5-$20/day in your free time.

6. Visit a Free Store

A free store? That sounds a bit like an oxymoron, doesn’t it? However “too good to be true” it may sound, free stores are apparently a thing.

Also called free shops, give-away shops, or swap shops, free stores get stuff off the hands of people who no longer need them and into the hands of those who do.

One of the earlier free stores to pop up are those in Baltimore and Portland. There’s also one in Warren Wilson College in Asheville, North Carolina.

7. Look for Cash Coupons

Okay, so maybe you won’t get free furniture from extreme couponing (like you would groceries). But don’t pass on those cash coupons you get in the mail or in your inbox either. Remember: every single penny you save helps.

Department stores like Kohl’s give cash coupons when you buy from them, which you, in turn, can use on your next furniture purchase. Other stores like Target and Walmart offer similar deals too. You can also check out the virtual coupon sites like Groupon to see if your favorite furniture store is offering discounts.

8. Earn Gift Cards

Tip: Some stores offer gift cards which you can use with their sister brands, so make sure to save every gift card you come across.

9. Visit a Furniture Bank

If you need money, you go to a bank. If you need furniture? Ta-daaah, thankfully there are furniture banks! Yes, furniture banks exist, and they give free furniture to people in need. They also offer low prices on used but still functional furniture. You can check out FurnitureBanks.org to find a furniture bank nearest you.

10. Apply as a Furniture Tester

It sounds like a strange career path to get into, but yes, furniture product testers do exist. The good news? Some companies will even let you keep the stuff they send you to review.

What does it take to become a product tester? You’ll need to have a strong social media presence (we’re talking followers in the thousands range), as well as a whole lot of persistence and diligence—hunting down stuff to test doesn’t come easy, you know.

11. Join Spring Cleanup Events

Spring Cleanup events, where people drop off items they want to give a second home, is a great way to score free stuff and also get to know people in your neighborhood or community. Maybe try hosting one yourself. You might be surprised by how generous some people can get.

12. Make Other People’s Trash Your Treasure

You know the old saying, “One man’s trash is another person’s treasure”? That’s often literally the case when you look at some of the stuff people throw away. Here are just some ways you can get free (often valuable) stuff in the most unlikely places, like dumpsters and black garbage bags:

Watch Out for Roadside Specials

Regularly jog or drive by the more affluent parts of your neighborhood. If you’re lucky, you just might chance upon furniture with a “free to a good home” sign next to it.

Go Dumpster Diving

Rummaging through other people’s garbage might not be the most glamorous way to come upon your next furniture, but occasionally you’ll hit pay dirt if you look hard enough. Perfectly functioning TV sets, house plants, coat racks, mattresses, and bed posts are just some of the real-life stuff we’ve salvaged from dumpsters.

Check College Dorms At Year-End

Check out college dorms at the end of a semester or school year, as they can become a goldmine of free furniture. Graduating students often don’t care to take along their stuff with them once they move out, leaving them next to dumpsters or in the care of dorm custodians.

Look Out for Furniture during “Heavy Trash Day”

Find out on what day your neighborhood schedules heavy trash pickups, when people are most likely to toss out furniture items along with other trash.

13. Reach Out to Mom and Pop

Mom and Dad (and your older siblings) may have furniture pieces they no longer need. Give them a call and see if the lava lamp you’ve oohed and aahed at as a child is still around.

14. Check With People Who Are Moving Out

See a U-Haul van parked outside a friend or neighbor’s yard? Tell them you’ll be happy to take care of any furniture they’re planning to leave behind. You might be dealing with slim pickings, but beggars can’t be choosers, eh?

15. Get Chummy With Apartment Mates

Do you live in or near an apartment, or are planning to move into one? Good news! There are plenty of ways to come across other people’s furniture. If you have the opportunity to meet with your pad’s former owner before settling in, have a chat with them and let them know your hands are wide open for any furniture they’re planning to leave behind. Apartment dumpsters are also great to go furniture hunting because it’s relatively clean and people drop their stuff straight there.

16. Upcycle Your Own Stuff

Have an oversized drawer? You can turn it into a bedside table or a planter with just a few changes and a fresh coat of paint here or there!

Channel your inner Martha Stewart and find a way to give new uses to old stuff you have lying around. With upcycling, your creativity is the limit!

17. Repair Broken Furniture

It’s easy to throw away broken stuff and just buy new ones when you have wads of cash lying around. But when you’re in a pinch, you all of a sudden realize the value of mending and repurposing the stuff you already have.

A chair with a weak or broken leg can still be made useful by repairing or retrofitting it. So don’t be quick to throw out run-down home items.

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18. Try Your Luck At Sweepstakes and Giveaways

While studies suggest that you have a better chance of being struck by lightning (twice) than you do winning the sweepstakes, hey—you’ll never know if you don’t join, right?

A quick online search of “furniture sweepstakes” will yield about a hundred or so results. The more applications you fill out, the better your chances of winning. But be sure to do a background check on companies and retailers offering sweepstakes and read the fine print before you join.

UK & Canadian Furniture Suggestions

These services do not operate within the US as of 2019 but they are popular for the UK, Canadian, and International based furniture deal hunters.

Try FreeGive

FreeGive is a UK site like Freecycle that links people with stuff to people who need it. Search for a FreeGive group near you and see what’s available.

Visit Preloved

There are a lot of good free furniture sites for UK residents. Preloved’s mission is to share the “Joy of Second Hand,” and the website includes a large “Freeloved” section to help spread that joy.

Search Gumtree

We’ve got one more UK site for you: Gumtree. It’s another classified ad site with a large free section where you can find furniture, appliances and more.

Look at Kijiji

If you’re Canadian, you might already be familiar with classified ad site Kijiji. If not, it’s time to see what free furniture people are offering.

~

Whew! Was that list exhaustive or what? Try following any one of these tips and let us know which ones worked for you.

Financial Freedom Starts With Saving:

Personal Capital: Sign up and use their net worth calculator for FREE. They are a free financial service platform that helps you analyze your portfolio, retirement, and financial health all on one simple & secure account

Imperfect Foods: We all need groceries. Try out Imperfect Foods to get $80 off ($20 off your first 4 orders.) Read my review of this revolutionary and money-saving grocery delivery service.

ThredUp: The only online recycle clothing store I currently shop and sell with. Great mission statement, company model, customer service, prices, and selection. Sign up with our invite link and you can get $10 free in ThredUP credit.

Survey Junkie: SJ is one of the few survey companies that are 100% legit, user-friendly, and great for making extra money. Earn up to $1,000 a month doing surveys online. You can make anywhere from $5-$20/day in your free time.

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