As a second-year student at McGill, the first major, adult-like stress I encountered was finding a place to live after being in residence. This process was time-consuming, anxiety-inducing, and difficult given that it occurred in the midst of a brutal Montréal winter (which made touring and getting to house showings even more troublesome). To make matters worse, once the process of searching for an apartment was over, the next big hoop to jump through was (and still is) furnishing the place I fought so hard for.
One of the most common struggles for students living on their own is the debacle of finding a couch to sit on or chairs to go with your kitchen table. If you aren’t lucky enough to have your place of choice fully furnished, this student-friendly guide to furnishing your university home might save your life (and your pocket). Take it from me, as a student writing this while sitting on a dining room chair that my roommates fished out of a garbage bin!
- Facebook Marketplace
If you were to tell me that you have even the slightest desire for any item, my first words would most likely be “oh, well you should check on Facebook Marketplace first.” This holy grail website is even where my roommates and I found our apartment! As an extension of the Facebook platform, users are able to sell their own belongings, including furniture, for a cheaper price. The toughest part of using Facebook Marketplace is finding mutual availability to pick up the item of interest since the search results are catered to your immediate location. You’ll be able to find large furniture pieces, small trinkets, and even appliances for very affordable prices. In addition to my whole apartment, I was also able to find a practically new desk that fits in my room perfectly. Facebook Marketplace is definitely a great resource for university students looking to furnish their apartments!
- Thrift Stores
A more traditional route to finding items to furnish your university home is going in-person to your local thrift store! This fun activity is also a great way to find decor items such as really cool chairs, mirrors, and fun pillows to accompany your couch or bed. For cheap prices, it’s possible to snag larger pieces like desks, armchairs, or dressers. Even getting dishware and mugs from a thrift store is super affordable. While the options available at thrift stores can sometimes pass us by, they’re an amazing option for students looking to spice up their place.
This place is more of a Montreal legend than a general tip but EcoDepot located at 187 Rue Richer Lachine is a great way to find old furniture for a discounted price. This is where one of my roommates got her desk and desk chairs. There is a great vintage feel to EcoDepot and many of its products are quite unique and special. For many, it’s not enough to just have furniture; making your space catered to you as an individual and something you love will make all the difference when living alone!
- Your Neighbourhood
Particularly in the fall and springtime when many people are in the midst of moving in and out of apartments, keep your eyes peeled on the streets! Often, some folks will leave out mirrors, chairs, clothing racks, or even couches that are free to take; for example, my roommates and I got one of our comfiest couches from the basement of another apartment building. With keen eyes and the willpower to trek the item back to your place, your neighbourhood can bring you great fortune. Although this is likely the cheapest option for finding apartment decor, it is a waiting game for the moving season and often the most “hit or miss.” In addition, this tip also accounts for the dumpster! Sometimes people will leave perfectly good items near trash areas and in dumpsters because they don’t want to deal with them anymore. This can be your opportunity to reuse the items and save money. My roommates and I were able to get two beautiful wooden chairs for our kitchen near the trash bin. With an open mind, your neighbourhood can do wonders for your place.
As students, we are always looking for ways to cut costs and budget our savings. Furnishing your first place is such a gratifying and exciting process but can also be very costly. Hopefully, with these tips on where to shop, you can save some money and end up with items that will turn your apartment into your home.