Trust me, it’s worth the investment.

Rent a truck for a weekend, bring a strong friend along and get ready to load up on all the free stuff.

A furniture store on the many streets of your city awaits you on or close to garbage days. Why let the sanitation workers be the only ones lucky enough to get a great new dresser, coffee table and couch?

If you know of someone who already has a truck, then the costs are cut considerably. You might just want to take him or her out for lunch or a drink to give your thanks.

The trick to finding the really good stuff in your city is to go to the rich neighbourhoods. This is what my Dad does and he already owns a van. Most of my two-bedroom basement apartment is furnished with the best for free. I have a next-to-new three-seater sofa with matching armchair. My interior decorator friend Lorraine who owns B.I.T.H. (www.bithonline.com) is going to make slipcovers for me to match the rest of the rustic wood décor.

My Dad got a double mattress with a box spring which I will use on an old futon bed frame I bought about a decade ago when I had more money. I have two bookcases, an antique desk for my computer and a café table which wasn’t free – I bought it at IKEA many, many years ago.

For the computer, I have a Pentium 4 with a LCD flat screen monitor, fab speakers and an all-in-one printer that all cost me under $500 CDN. Check out pawn shops, discount computer places, ads in the newspapers and magazines like Buy and Sell. Plus, don’t forget garage sales in “good” neighbourhoods.

I have a stereo that is 15 years old which my Mom gave me when I graduated from high school. Thank goodness I never got rid of it. It has a record player, two-cassette player and a CD player. It’s not high-tech, but it does the trick – and the speakers on that aren’t bad. My TV is just as old and I got that from my Dad when I went away to university to do my first degree. I dropped it once, but I swear, those Sanyo TV’s are great as far as I’m concerned.

I have a funky lounge chair which I plan to keep in my office which I’ve had since I was a teenager – that’s a long time ago. It’s really my Mom’s, but she gave it to me and I plan to put it in my office (the second room) to relax and read. It even has a footstool.

If you just don’t know anyone with a van or truck and don’t have the money to rent one – try coming up with $20 to put an ad in the Saturday paper of the biggest one in your town or city. Just ask for free stuff – you may be amazed who calls and actually just wants to get rid of the stuff. Some people want to get rid of their stuff so bad, they’ll even deliver it to your place like you ordered it from the best furniture store in town. Please have some cookies, or cake, or if you’re into health, an apple for these type of generous people.

With all that, you should have a hip new place in no time. And don’t forget to invite me over for the potluck.

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