I recently moved to another home, and in the process of moving and documenting all my belongings, I realised that the majority of my furniture pieces were obtained FOC (free of charge). No, they were not given to me, at least not knowingly. I’ve never met any of the previous owners. In the course of 5 years, I’ve collected 14 pieces of furniture, which account for nearly 70% of all the furniture I have in total, along with a myriad of other knick-knacks that I’ve salvaged. What does this have to do with #OOTD? Well in my world, #OOTD stands for Out Of The Dumpster. Want to see my #OOTD collection?
I’m fortunate to stay near a few newer condos where the tenant turnover rate is very high. Whenever these occupants leave, they dispose of their furniture and some of their belongings in a nearby dumpster which I pass daily on my way to the MRT station.
What I’ve Found
What Else I’ve Found
In addition to furniture, I’ve found clothes, suitcases, pots & pans, picture frames, crockery, a rubbish bin, an ironing board, and a few vases. Here’s what I usually do with them.
What I Do with These Finds
- Keep them – One of the most useful (non-furniture) items I’ve found were a set of stainless steel Balti dishes. I also have some bath rugs and sofa pillows that I salvaged from the dumpster (of course, it is wise to thoroughly clean them and if possible, put them in a hot dryer to get rid of any bedbugs).
- Sell them to Cash Converters – Because Cash Converters is on my way to the MRT, I’ve been known to “walk” the newfound items to Cash Converters. The majority of the items which I’ve sold to them were not bought by me but rather found by me. I carry a small cloth rag/towel with me at all times. It comes in handy when there are spills/stains but also when I need to spot clean an item that I’ve found before selling it to Cash Converters.
- Gift them – I once found a set of very large picture frames (16 x 20 inches). When one of my friends was getting married, I reprinted a couple of her pre-wedding photos, framed them, and gifted them to her.
- Post to the “Free Section” on Craigslist – When there are items I don’t want to keep and they are too large to carry (to Cash Converters), I snap a photo and post them to the “Free Section” of Craigslist. I once posted this solid wood coffee table and received 10 replies in a span of 20 minutes. The coffee table was then collected in less than an hour. It felt good helping someone while at the same time reducing the waste that goes to the landfill.
How You can Find Your Own Free Furniture
- Check the “Free Section” on Craigslist – You can access it here. I just did a search as I was writing this and found a LCD TV listed! Gumtree also has a free section.
- Search Nearby Condos – Go for newer condos where the expat population is more likely to be high. If you don’t regularly pass by condos, the best things to do is find some nearby/conveniently-located condos in your area and befriend the condo guards. The guards will usually know when tenants are about to move out since nearly all condos have mandatory move-out forms that tenants must fill out. Immediately prior to the move-out date, the rubbish bin area will be filled with leftover items. If you befriend the guard, you might ask if he/she can inform you as to when something good has been left behind.
- Search Uni Hostels and Dormitories – Near the end of the school term, I’ve seen many uni students toss perfectly functioning used items in the hostel dumpsters, including older models of electronics.
On the down side, if you come to visit me, you’ll find that none of my furniture matches, but on the plus side, none of the pieces ended up in the landfill or incinerator. Furthermore, I’m not emotionally attached to any of the pieces, and if one of them accidentally gets ruined or stained, I don’t fret because they were all free. I’ve also made a couple hundred dollars selling used finds at Cash Converters over the last 5 years. So what are you waiting for? Show me your #OOTD Instagrams!