The Furniture Dilemma

Que?My wife and son and I currently live in a tiny apartment. I mean tiny. It nominally has two bedrooms, but the second one (used as a nursery) is only slightly bigger than a closet, and our living room has a love seat in it – a love seat about to fall apart, no less. Our only furniture (besides beds and dressers) is our wonderful dining room table, which was a wedding gift.

In short, when we move, our house is going to look painfully empty. We’re debating whether to take the love seat at all – if we do, it will likely wind up in the garage as neither of us thinks it will hold up for much longer. It has fundamental structural issues and I’m fairly sure a carpenter couldn’t fix it and reupholster it for a cost that would make it worth while.

That means we’re going to need at least some furniture, and so we’re canvassing for ideas on how to fill a house with furniture that is of at least some quality. Here are our options:

Buy lots of new (or close to new) stuff that will have a long life. We have the cash on hand to do this right now, but it would be a very large expense. We have a furniture outlet near us with very reasonable prices (that’s where we got our bedroom stuff) and we also have a card there that lets us get 25% off all furniture purchased on one visit, which definitely helps. There are also several options in Des Moines or Albert Lea for furniture wholesalers and liquidators, but they won’t deliver more than a half-hour’s drive outside of the metro, so that means we’d have to find our own transportation for the stuff and probably spend a day hauling stuff back and forth. This option almost seems like a gigantic waste of money to go do this, though. The big advantage we see is that this furniture would last quite a while.

Buy the best of Goodwill/consignment. In other words, look for good used furniture. Again, we have a few outlets near where I live, but most of the good options are either in Des Moines or Albert Lea, which again adds in the travel factor (both are more than an hour away).

Right now, my wife and I are leaning towards a mix – new furniture for the living room, Goodwill-type stuff for the family room (mostly because of kids and the likelihood that they’ll run amok there) and guest bedroom (because it won’t be used that much, although we will be having about 38 guests in the first six months of owning a home). We have the cash on hand to handle any of these options, but obviously the less expensive ones appeal to us more.

This goes out to my homeowner readers: how did you solve the furniture question when you first moved into a larger home?

Trent Hamm
Trent Hamm
Founder of The Simple Dollar

Trent Hamm founded The Simple Dollar in 2006 after developing innovative financial strategies to get out of debt. Since then, he’s written three books (published by Simon & Schuster and Financial Times Press), contributed to Business Insider, US News & World Report, Yahoo Finance, and Lifehacker, and been featured in The New York Times, TIME, Forbes, The Guardian, and elsewhere.

Loading Disqus Comments ...