Buy These Used Items to Spruce Up Your Space

what to buy usedSometimes the best things for your apartment come free – or at least cheaply. U.S. News and World Report fills us in on the "21 Things You Should Never Buy New," including several items that we think all penny-pinching renters must be aware of.

Best of all, summertime is a great season for finding deals and steals on the goods we've picked out of their extensive (and pretty spot-on) list.

Check to see what you can get for a bargain...


Ikea Furniture: Why go through the struggle of trekking to Ikea and assembling a temporary piece of furniture when it's all been done for you? One college student's loss could easily be your gain, apartment dweller, as this is the season for moving out of dorm rooms. Curbside steals and Craigslist deals are aplenty right now, according to the U.S. News article, but you might also try perusing the classifieds section of your local college's newspaper – find newspaper websites on Study World and Newspapers.com. Another tactic: post fliers near the dorms offering to take old furniture off students' hands.

Home Accents: An endearingly chipped picture frame or unusual piece of artwork can be yours, if you know where to look. U.S. News suggests hitting up garage sales for inexpensive hidden treasures, but city dwellers should also head to flea markets, like New York's Brooklyn Flea or peruse their neighbors' wares at weekend stoop sales. Estate sales (which are often listed in local newspapers), as well as consignment shops and Salvation Army stores are other sources of gently used home accents.

Craft Supplies: Do-it-yourself projects are the bread and butter of many budget-conscious renters, but supplies can get expensive. U.S. News points out that craft swaps are great for trading leftover bits and pieces from previous projects. We also love Craftster, a website where creative types come together to share ideas. You'll find each state's listings of craft fairs and meetups, which are great opportunities to score marked-down supplies.

Office Supplies: If you happen to work from your apartment, don't skimp on a comfortable desk, chair, filing cabinets and the like, advises U.S. News (and we couldn't agree more). Again, here's a case of one person's loss is your gain -- as more offices shut their doors, used office furniture is readily available. Don't miss online sources, including The Office Guild, which has an extensive range of accessories like lamps and wastebaskets in addition to larger furniture. You might even find what you need at Habitat for Humanity's ReStore.

Pets: Adopting a furry friend is sometimes free and almost always less expensive than buying a brand new critter. You've just missed the Humane Society's Adopt-a-Cat month in June, but you can still take advantage of the cat adoption tips we doled out to mark the event. Learn how to locate your nearest animal shelter, and find online resources for pet adoption – cat-specific and otherwise. Also try the ASPCA website for adorable, love-starved kittens and pups in need of good homes.

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