How to Make Money

50 Frugal Ways to Get Free Furniture for Your Home

December 16, 2015
by Nicole Dieker
Contributor

You can save money on furniture by shopping thrift stores or yard sales. But what if we told you how to get free furniture?

Don’t buy a thing until you’ve tried some of these free furniture ideas!

1. Ask Your Friends

When you’re looking for free furniture or household goods, it’s best to start with people you know.

You’d be surprised how many friends have extra end tables, armchairs or vacuum cleaners taking up space.

2. Ask Your Friends to Ask Their Friends

“Do you know anyone who might be looking to get rid of some old furniture?”

Your friends might know co-workers or other friends who are moving, getting married or looking to offload some old possessions.

3. Set Up a Registry

Registries aren’t just for weddings and baby showers.

Stores like Bed Bath & Beyond offer the opportunity to create “housewarming registries,” which are exactly what they sound like. It’s traditional to bring a gift to a housewarming party.

So if you’re planning to move, set up a registry, throw a party and invite your friends.

(And if you’re feeling really strategic, add these money-saving items to your registry while you’re at it!)

4. Create an Amazon Wishlist

If you create and share an Amazon Wishlist, friends and relatives can shop from it for upcoming birthdays and holidays. People love the opportunity to buy you something that you really want or need, so let them know about the bookshelf or lamp that you have your eye on.

5. Ask for Gift Cards

When people ask what you want for your next birthday or holiday present, tell them that you’re hoping to buy some new furniture and that you’d love gift cards for a specific furniture store or box store.

6. Search Your Home for Old Gift Cards

While we’re talking about gift cards, you probably have at least one hiding somewhere that you haven’t used. Check your wallet, your desk and any junk drawers where you might have stashed one.

7. Join a Buy Nothing Group

The Buy Nothing Project helps people connect and give or barter items as needed. Join a Buy Nothing group in your area (they operate through Facebook) and ask the group if they have any of the furniture you might need.

Many people list items that they want to give away, so you can also scroll those listings and see if any include furniture.

8. Search Facebook Local Groups

We’ve written about Facebook Local Groups before; they’re great places to hold virtual yard sales and sell or exchange unwanted clothing or furniture. A lot of people will be trying to sell their furniture, but it’s worth checking to see if anyone is giving items away.

Sometimes hauling away that old couch is payment enough!

9. Post Your Request to Social Media

Hop on Twitter or Facebook and ask “does anybody have a queen-size bed frame they’re looking to get rid of?”

Sometimes all you have to do is tell social media that you’re moving (or getting married/having a baby) and people will respond with “do you want my old couch/blender/stash of cloth diapers?”

10. Check Freecycle

Freecycle is a lot like the Buy Nothing Project; it’s a community designed “to help people give unwanted items to someone else for free.” Search Freecycle for a local forum and see what’s available. If you don’t find someone offering the furniture you need, make a “wanted” listing and see if anyone responds.

11. 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.

12. 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.

13. Check SnaffleUp

SnaffleUp is another UK site offering free furniture. In fact, all of its listings are free, from sofas to electric teakettles. It’s a great place to start if you’re looking to kit out your apartment.

14. 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.

15. Visit a Free Store

These stores are exactly what they sound like; everything is available for free, and patrons are encouraged to take what they need. There’s the Warren Wilson College Free Store in Asheville, North Carolina, and the Portland Free Store in Portland, Oregon, to name a few. There might be a Free Store in your area — and if there isn’t, maybe you can start one.

16. Ask for Salvation Army Free Furniture Vouchers

The Salvation Army offers furniture vouchers to people in extreme need. If that’s you, reach out to your local branch and see if they can help.

17. Look for Furniture Banks

Furniture banks also provide furniture to people in need. Start with this list of furniture banks and see what’s available near you.

18. Search Craigslist

For many, Craigslist is the first stop on their free furniture journey. Search for free furniture, or look for ads that say “OBO” (which stands for “or best offer”) and ask if they’re willing to accept a “free” offer. As mentioned earlier, some people are just grateful that you’ll show up and take that old armoire off their hands.

19. 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. Kijiji operates outside of Canada, but it goes by a different name — which brings us to …

20. Ebay Classified Ads

If you don’t live in Canada, you’ll know Kijiji by its other name: Ebay Classified Ads. These ads connect buyers and sellers all over the world. Look for “OBO” listings, especially the ones that say “must sell by,” and ask if the seller is willing to give away the furniture.

21. Read Your Newspaper’s Classified Ads

Sometimes the best offers are in your local paper. Grab a print copy, or look up the online classifieds.

22. Visit Reddit

There are a lot of ways to score free furniture on Reddit forums, whether you’re searching the Barter, Recycle or even the Gift Card Exchange. That Amazon gift card can be turned into furniture, after all!

23. Reach Out to Your Online Forums

If you regularly use on an online forum, there might already be a section for members to sell or swap items. If not, go to whatever section is most appropriate for your request and let your forum friends know that you’re looking for free furniture.

24. Look to Churches

Churches sometimes host Free Store events, where they collect items from the congregation and offer them to people who need them. If you are already a member of a church, don’t wait for Free Store Day. Instead, ask your church community if they can help find what you need.

25. Watch for Spring Cleanup Events

Some communities hold Spring Cleanup events, where people are invited to bring items they no longer want to a park or other central location. These events generally have free, used furniture.

26. Borrow Furniture

Sometimes friends will loan you furniture until you’ve saved enough to buy your own. Others may have furniture sitting in a storage unit they’d be more than happy to let you borrow — and may never want back!

27. Arrange Your Own Swap

Swap your lamp for your friend’s. You both get new lamps! This type of swap works best if you’re upfront about it: let your friends know that you have an item you’d like to swap, and see if they offer you something worth swapping.

28. Arrange Your Own Barter

A swap is a lamp for a lamp, or a lamp for a desk chair. A barter is when you offer to rake your friend’s leaves every weekend in exchange for a dinette set. If you’ve got a friend who’s having a yard sale and you know you can’t afford that gorgeous oak dining table, offer a barter instead.

29. Visit Yard Sales at the End of the Day

Since I mentioned yard sales, let’s talk strategy. At the beginning of the day, people hope to be able to sell as much as possible.

By the end of the day, they might be open to your offer of taking their old exercise bike for free.

They might also be interested in a BOGO offer: “I’ll buy that armchair if you give me the end table for free.” See what you can negotiate.

30. See What’s On the Side of the Road

People regularly leave furniture by the side of the road, often with a “free to a good home” sign attached. Be that good home (and learn how to avoid bedbugs!).

31. Dumpster Dive

You can sometimes find great stuff in dumpsters — if you’re willing to dive for it.

Stay safe and legal.

32. Check College Campuses at the End of Each Semester

When students move out of dorms, they leave a lot of stuff behind. Some of it goes in the dumpster and some gets piled up next to it. There might be something worth taking home.

33. Watch for “Heavy Trash Pickup Day”

Guess what often goes into heavy trash? That’s right: furniture. Beat the garbage trucks and see what you can find.

34. Reach Out to Parents and Relatives

Parents and older relatives often have furniture they’re happy to pass along, whether they’re downsizing or they’re doing it out of love.

You could end up putting your clothes in the same dresser you used in high school!

35. Reach Out to Newlyweds

This tip is from Kate Payne’s The Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking, a great resource for people furnishing a home on a budget.

She suggests checking with newlyweds who might be combining two households, or upgrading their old furniture and appliances with new stuff they received as wedding gifts.

Let them know you’ll take the “old,” and they can have the “something new!”

36. Check With People Who Are Moving

Whether it’s a close friend or a Facebook acquaintance, any time you hear someone’s moving, ask them if they’re getting rid of old furniture.

Nearly everyone who moves has at least one piece of furniture they don’t want.

Whether it’s a lumpy old sofa or a scratched-up coffee table, give that unwanted item a new home.

37. Ask Your Apartment’s Previous Tenant

If you have the opportunity to meet your apartment’s previous tenant before you move in, let them know you’d be happy to keep any furniture they don’t want.

38. Ask Your Landlord

Many people move out of apartments and leave furniture. Tell your landlord that you’d like this discarded furniture and you might end up with an apartment full of stuff.

39. Create an Apartment Moving Bulletin Board

Some apartments already have tenant bulletin boards where people can leave notes like “Moving out: loveseat free to good home.” If your apartment doesn’t have a bulletin board, see if you can set one up near the mailboxes or another central area.

40. Upcycle Your Own Stuff

Yes, you can make a bookshelf out of a ladder. Got leftover books ? Turn them into table legs. Get creative transform your stuff into the furniture you need.

41. Fix Up Your Old Stuff

Fix the nightstand’s broken leg. Put a fresh slipcover on your faded sofa. Unclog the vacuum.

The more stuff you fix, the less you have to buy.

42. Host a DeClutter Event

Cozi suggests getting together with a group of friends and hosting a DeClutter Event: each friend collects items that are cluttering their home, then everyone takes turns choosing anything they find useful.

43. Do KonMari With a Friend

KonMari is the cleaning method where you remove everything from your home that does not bring you joy.

Team up with a friend and do KonMari together — see if they discard any joyful furniture.

44. Look for BOGO Coupons

Furniture retailers occasionally offer BOGO coupons, so keep your eyes open. You can get two recliners for the price of one if you’re willing to wait for that great coupon!

45. Look for Cash Coupons

If you don’t see any BOGO coupons, you can also use cash coupons.

Kohl’s offers Kohl’s Cash coupons if you buy Kohl’s products — and those coupons can often be used on furniture items.

Target offers a similar deal with its Target Gift Cards, as well as other stores.

46. Check Out Freebie Sites

We regularly list the best freebies available, so follow us on Facebook or Twitter for the latest news. You’ll have to be creative with this one; you might not get a free couch, but you could score some new wall art if you go to Michaels’ free paper-craft workshop.

47. Look for Specialized Freebies

Are you a new mom? We’ve got resources on how to get free baby gear, including nursing pillows. When you’re looking for free furniture, don’t just search “free furniture.” Search terms like “freebies for parents.”

48. Earn Gift Cards

We have so many articles about earning gift cards that we don’t even know where to begin.

Earn $250 in gift cards through Hallmark Crown Rewards, or by watching cooking shows at Swagbucks.

The more gift cards you collect, the more furniture you can buy.

49. Enter Contests

You’ll never win if you don’t enter.

There are dozens of furniture sweepstakes available online, so do some searching and start filling out applications.

Remember to look for sweepstakes offered by reputable retailers, with no purchase necessary.

50. Become a Product Tester

It’s possible to become a product tester for furniture items; this family tested a Thomas the Tank Engine bed and got to keep it.

To become a tester, you need two things: a strong online personality (retailers like to know that you’ll be sharing reviews of their products online and on social media), and a willingness to spend time hunting down those great product testing opportunities.

Your Turn: Have you used any of these methods to get free furniture?

Nicole Dieker is a freelance writer focusing on personal finance and personal stories. Her work has appeared in The Billfold, The Toast, Yearbook Office, The Write Life and Boing Boing.

by Nicole Dieker
Contributor for The Penny Hoarder

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