September Mortgage Update and Furnishing an Empty Apartment for a Year

This month (August):
Years left: 1.583333333
P =$1,125.48, I =$88.93, Escrow =$809.48

This month (September):
Years left: 1.5
P =$1,129.93, I =$84.47, Escrow =$809.48

One month’s prepayment savings: $0

In the end we decided to move out here with next to nothing– we filled up the car, sent a few boxes, and DC2 and I each checked a bag and did a carry-on on the plane.

And now our 1200 sq ft 2br apartment is mostly furnished.

How did we get here from there?

1.  We bought a couch, dining room table and chairs, large ottoman, bunk beds (and mattresses), king-size bed (and mattress), kid’s bike, shelves, and a few sundries (plates and bowls, cooler, toaster oven, microwave) from some people who were moving out for 1K.  I’m pretty sure we could have bargained her down given how last minute she was about everything, but 1K was less than we would have spent at IKEA on much cheaper versions of the same stuff, so we’re good.  Even though she was a PITA to deal with and kept going on and on about how she didn’t want to sell us things because they were dented.

2.  IKEA has a lot of very inexpensive stuff.  We bought three small tables (one for the living room, two to use as nightstands), a set of odd silverware (that cost less than the same partial sets of silverware at goodwill– our goodwill sucks), and a few skirt hangers.

3.  The apartment has some built-in shelves and cabinets.

4.  We have some friends who were happy to give us the crappy stuff they bought back in 2000 that they have since replaced with much nicer stuff but hadn’t gotten rid of the crappy stuff even though they never use it.  Yay generous packrat friends who were saving this stuff for just such an opportunity!  Here we got some not great quality pots, pans, bakeware, measuring spoons and cups (the kind where you have to guess the size because they’re so well-loved), and so on.  They have dibs if they want it back at the end of the year, but they’re hoping they won’t.

5.  The same friends are letting us borrow some shelves and a card table they were keeping in their garage because they want to clear out the garage to organize it.  Also they’ll want them back at the end of the year.

6.  We got a card table and chairs at Walmart for $55 that we’re using in the dog-run for outdoor dining.  DH also got a bike for himself at Walmart.

7.  After trying to work in the eat-in kitchen and being defeated by the heat of the sun, DH decided he really needed a desk, so we got one for $60 off a neighborhood list-serve.

8.  Target filled in more kitchen and bathroom odds-and-ends, as well as things like envelopes and printer paper.

9.  Amazon filled in for some bigger items like a printer, extra ink, a bike for me (after waiting too long to buy one locally so all the students have cleared out anything under $300.  If only I’d bought the first time I looked!  Also, what is going on with Forge bikes not actually having any bikes in stock anywhere?)

10.  I ended up getting a laptop as I didn’t realize work wouldn’t come with a computer and my old laptop is giving up the ghost.

11.  Another friend has a piano lying around that the previous house owners left that she said we could have for the year if we pay for moving.  Paying for moving there and back puts it still at less than the cost of renting or buying a new digital piano.  (We really did want to bring our own piano but just couldn’t fit it in the car and it would have cost more to move than to rent one for the year.)

12.  We got some black-out curtains from Kohls (online, clearance).  The place did come with curtains, but the bedroom curtains didn’t block out any light and the living room curtains only covered about half the window, exposing the world to streaking toddlers who don’t want to get dressed in the morning.

13.  (Update)  Scored another set of shelves and very small chest of drawers that someone in the neighborhood left out with a free sign.  Now DC2 can keep hir shirts and pants in separate drawers and I have a place to put hir winter clothing and too big stuff, which means there’s room in the closet for their toys.

We’re doing a lot of “making do”… like, we don’t really need a casserole if we have the knock-off le creuset for some tasks and a mason jar for other tasks.  We don’t need a pyrex 13×9 if we have a metal one.  And so on.  We’re using long flat bowls instead of small plates for a lot of things (the plates we have are enormous).  But it’ll be fine for a year.  Things that aren’t fine we’ve eventually bought (like an ove glove– way better than the towels system we’d been using).

How much did this all cost, I dunno, something between 2K and 3K?  Closer to 3K if you include the bikes.  How does it compare with shipping?  We’re ahead if we don’t ship stuff back at the end of the year, but we’re about even (since we’d have had to buy bikes anyway) if we do a Pod at the end of the year.

How did you furnish your first place/most recent place?

13 Responses to “September Mortgage Update and Furnishing an Empty Apartment for a Year”

  1. hollyatclubthrifty Says:

    Buying used furniture in your new destination is smart because hiring movers and shipping your stuff is so expensive! Plus, you can probably resell the stuff for what you paid for it when you’re done.

  2. M Says:

    Sounds just like college. I remember carrying donated end tables and bookshelves down the street from my friends’ houses (since I also didn’t have a car). When I left, I gave everything away for free (even the few nicer items). If I moved temporarily, I think I would have brought more of my kitchen stuff though. Actually, even when we moved in to our current house, I think all my husband really bought was a king-size mattress (new – mid-price) and washing machine (used – cheap). Got a used couch from family. Tables as desks from work surplus. A few other pieces of furniture (couch, extra chairs, dresser) from used furniture stores. I am in my thirties and have still never purchased a couch.

    • Leah Says:

      Also in my thirties and have never purchased a couch! I’ve lived in several furnished places. With my husband, we’ve gotten hand me downs. I’ve also never bought a bed (tho our guest bed is one he bought in college). We are currently sleeping on a hand me down queen from a friend who moved. The first piece of furniture I ever bought was a bookshelf. Buying furniture just gives me the heaves because it is so darn expensive.

  3. Steph Says:

    I scrounged family basements (furniture and a few linens and kitchen items) and yard sales/thrift shops (everything else) for my move to grad school. Then we rented a small uhaul truck (in the end, we could have done it with a van) and my mom drove the 6 hours from my parents’ house to new city.

    The only big new thing I bought was a mattress, which I bought after arrival (I slept on an air mattress for the first few nights). When I moved to a new place a year later I also used freecycle to find living room furniture.

    I think I now lean towards the get-everything-there idea. If I have to move more than 4-6 hours to a postdoc, I’m selling all/most of the furniture and just craigslisting/freecycling it up in the new place. That mattress/box spring is probably the only big thing I would take.

  4. Linda Says:

    My move westward is a permanent one, but I also took the opportunity to lighten my load, so to speak. I did purge some of kitchen stuff, and got rid of things like the rice cooker, bread machine, and other appliances and gew gaws I thought I could live without. I also purged most of my books, which you may find horrific, but I realized I was keeping some of them just because of what they said about me and my reading tastes and were less about me wanting to re-read them. Plus if there was an ebook version readily available, I thought I could always get it that way.

    I knew I’d be moving to a much smaller place so I purged most of the furniture, too. There is no room for a dining room table, sideboard, or lots of living room furniture here. From my old living room set up I had planned to bring only the TV; I ended up bringing the couch and loveseat only because they didn’t sell in the estate sale and I knew they would fit in the shipping container. I’m still looking for replacements for them, but haven’t found anything I really like yet.

    I also kept my Tempurpedic mattress, but not the bed frame. I purchased a new bed frame here, as well as a very nice cherry wood night stand from Room and Board. Those two pieces, plus the cherry wood entertainment console in the living room were my big splurges when I moved here. I kept a small chest of drawers/dresser that has been in my family for something like 40 years. It’s not an heirloom piece of furniture, but it is a “just right” size in many places I’ve lived and we all need somewhere to put our clean underwear, right?

    I picked up a couple side tables from a consignment shop for the living room, but generally have had bad luck finding any used furniture that fits within my rooms, taste, and budget. That is the main reason why I’ve had to purchase things like book shelves (for the remaining books I have), storage cube/coffee table, and kitchen/dining table new.

    The only other piece of seemingly useless furniture that I’ve brought with me is a small china cabinet/hutch that used to belong to my grandmother. This cabinet dates from the 1950s or 60s, I think. It simply sits in the guest room and isn’t even organized. I just have random stuff sitting on the shelves collecting dust. I don’t know why I can’t part from it.

  5. Ana Says:

    make do make do make do. I had very little in my med school place for years. I had no living room furniture and just watched tv on the ground with pillows until i bought a cheap futon about 6 months in. I’d even have friends over, and we’d just lounge on the carpet—no one cared! I had a card table & 2 chairs from family friends I used for studying. I had a mattress & frame but no bed. I did have a computer & desk (desk top computer, as was the norm in those days)–my parents bought me that when I moved in. odds & ends of dishes my mom gave me & I scrounged on clearance at target & kmart. When I graduated I bought a couch & a kitchen table from IKEA. it was luxurious.

  6. chacha1 Says:

    My husband and I went on a years-long buying spree after we got married (at ages 35 and 41 respectively). We’d both been living with big-box, curb-mart, and thrift-store furniture for most of our adult lives up to that point.

    Our style of choice is Chinese and the first thing we bought was a vintage lacquer cabinet. We shopped for one thing at a time, paid it off, then shopped for the next thing. Bed came first. :-)

    We may not have to move out of our current place until we actually leave L.A. If so, we will not have to seriously downsize before that point. If we do move, it will surely be to someplace smaller than our huge midcentury 2-BR, 2-BA flat. I know the bed and the dining table + chairs for 10 will not be making any moves. In the future I want a king-sized bed, and we won’t be having big dinner parties after a certain point.

    We will do some repurposing. One of my glass-fronted bookcases will become a china cabinet in our retirement house (so we don’t have to budget for upper cabinets in the kitchen!), a reproduction storage cabinet will become a powder-room vanity. We spent approximately a boatload of money on all our furniture, but for the most part we still really like it and it suits our needs.

  7. Katherine Says:

    I went on an Ikea spree when I moved to grad school city. My husband had a bunch of hand-me-downs/loans from family for his first grad school apartment. When we combined we mostly kept my stuff and either returned to family or handed down his stuff to other grad students. He didn’t have things like mixing bowls, whereas I had graduated college with a strong need to be a “real person” and set up my kitchen accordingly: I had service for 8, some of my grandmother’s china, a kitchen aid mixer that my grandma bought me as a college graduation gift …

    I think a lot of what I bought furnishing that apartment will come with us on our next move. I actually really like Ikea stuff, and a lot of it is actually quite solid (like our dining room table with a leaf and 8 matching chairs). We do not have a bed frame, but I want to acquire a nice one with storage after the next move.

  8. notofgeneralinterest2 Says:

    How did you find the neighborhood listserve?

  9. Debbie M Says:

    Almost all of my furniture is hand-me-downs of one kind or another. I did buy a bed, a desk, a bookcase, and some tables. My roommates always have their own couches! But I have also inherited many bookcases (one of which is being used as a headboard), a stereo cabinet, a bench/coffee table, and a deacon’s bench, plus I found my great dresser next to a dumpster. Oh, and I just found a computer stand/dresser on bulk trash day and carried that home for next to my desk. (Or most of it–it needs fixing up but is the perfect size and shape.)

    After it was too late, I got the idea that it might be good to use cheap patio furniture for your starter furniture, and then as you can afford to replace those things with stuff you love, you can then move your old stuff outside.

    I used to move all the time and preferred things that could be easily disassembled and re-assembled. I haven’t moved since I bought my house 19 years ago, but I still have this bias. I can’t stand heavy things! My boyfriend, however, has no problem buying heaving things–and then asking me to help him move them into the house. :-(

    When you move back, it will be great to have some of your old things back (like small plates and readable measuring spoons), but I wonder if you’ll find that you’re ready to declutter a few things.

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