So you’ve survived life on campus, and now you’re ready to set up camp in your own apartment, outside of the quads which will be swarming with underclassmen in the coming year. You have done some research, found a nice place that is most likely half the price of what your beloved institution is charging you, and you are ready to move in; however, there is just one problem. Furniture is such an essential aspect of a comfortable and complete living space, but one we take for granted – so much so that when we start searching for a nice IKEA bed frame or desk, the shock is all too real. As if the burden of physically moving furniture was not great enough, the financial feat of furnishing an apartment can be extremely difficult. Through my struggles of preparing my off campus crib, I have found certain techniques that work, and will help you to quickly, easily, and cheaply take care of your furniture situation.

The key to making the moving process painless is to buy local – from fellow students. My school has a large Facebook group, “Free and For Sale”, in which students and affiliates of the university can list items that they are willing to get rid of. For most of the year, the page unnoticed, with the occasional sale here or there; however, this all changes as graduation nears. Eventually, around the end of April/early May, a first wave of sales will commence – these are the students that are on top of the game. They will most likely have moved most of their belongings already, and are simply trying to get rid of some small things around the apartment. In the odd case, a bed frame and mattress or dresser will be listed, and everyone will flock to the post and try to quickly message the seller in order to claim the item. This “sniping” becomes somewhat addicting, almost a game, but although the prices for these items will be decently reduced, be patient and wait a few weeks for the second wave.

The second wave is where things get interesting, and will most likely begin a week or two before June 1st. Students will have just finished up graduation celebrations, and realize that they have very limited time before they must pack up all of their furniture and accessories that have been accumulated for the past two years, and will be fined for a movers fee to move their stuff by management everything is not out by the lease’s end. This is where you strike. You will be doing them a service in getting rid of their things for free, and avoid paying for it – everyone wins.

Had I not jumped on the initial wave and bought a bed, I could have furnished my entire room for free – desk, lamps, dresser, desk chair, couch, etc. I could have stopped there, but there was just too many free items available. So my roommate and I converted our living room into a furniture thrift shop and have been collecting the odd free thing here and there, to be flipped and sold with the coming wave of students in the fall.

Now you have the tools to set up your crib for free, and maybe make enough extra cash to pay for the semester’s textbooks. Not bad!