August is here, which means the countdown has begun for cooler weather (frown) and the start of a new school year (yippee, right?)! Though it’s sad seeing summer come to an end (especially our short-lived summers in Minnesota!), it can be an exciting time, especially for a new or returning college student.
If you have a new college student in the family just finishing up preparations, or returning for another year, you know how costly it can all be. One way to save money is to think thrifty when it comes to furnishing your dorm or apartment, so here I’ve partnered with Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity ReStore Home Improvement Outlets to provide some tips!
1. Plan ahead. Whether you’re in a dorm or apartment, make a list of everything you’ll need. Include furnishings like furniture, lamps and linens. Some common needs include:
- Pillows, sheets, pillowcases, blankets
- Mattress pad
- Towels, washcloths
- Shower curtains
- Window curtains
- Clothes hangers
- Laundry bag/basket
- Laundry detergent
- Storage bins
- Bulletin board
- Trash cans
- Alarm clock/clocks
- Plates and silverware
2. Check with the college. If you’re living on-campus, find out what you can and cannot bring. Some items may be considered fire hazards (like candles), and some items like wall hangings may not be allowed.
3. Talk to your roommate(s). What will they bring? Can you split costs of furnishings? Does one have decorations while the other has more practical basics to bring?
4. Know how much space you have to fill. Get measurements ahead of time. Of course, if you’ll have an apartment instead of a dorm, you’ll have more space to fill, and your list will likely include larger items like furniture.
5. Talk to others who are already in college. What do they recommend purchasing and bringing? What items could they not live without, and which ones are never used?
6. Set a budget. It’s easy to go to your favorite store and just throw in the cart everything that looks fun and stylish. But this could cost a lot fast – it’s best to determine what you need, how much you have to spend, and then how you can stretch your dollars the most.
7. Get furnishings and decor secondhand. Visit the Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity ReStore for budget-friendly options! They have two locations – one in Minneapolis, and one in New Brighton. Both have their own unique assortment of furniture, decorations and other handy items for your new place.
I visited recently and found so many items that would be perfect for a college student (and for just about everyone). They had couches, dressers, tables, chairs, wall decor, lamps and so much more. And it was all cheap! Many couches and other furniture items were under $100. While it’s all donated, and some items are newer than others, there was a great selection and I love that it all goes to a good cause!
8. DIY. Use simple materials to create useful items for less. For example, plywood is great for making into a shelf to hold those heavy college books. Cork can be a practical wall covering for hanging up important papers and reminders. The ReStore blog has info on how to use extra building materials to make various projects. Of course, you can find these materials and many more at their stores for cheap!
9. Be creative with decor. Think thrift! Decorations don’t have to be expensive. Get ideas from Pinterest and browse around secondhand stores like the ReStores for lighting, pictures and other decorative items.
10. Maximize your space. Make the most of the space you have by displaying and storing things on walls, under the bed, and even inside of furniture. Create a bench or coffee table with built-in storage. Build your own cubbies and use them as bedside tables. Add bookcases and shelves along the walls. Think creatively to conceal some of the stuff and free up your space.
Overall, with some planning and thrifty shopping you can decorate your college dorm or apartment for a minimal cost! You’ll need to save that money anyway to pay the big costs like tuition…
SAVE EVEN MORE MONEY
The Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity ReStores have even more ways to save besides their already low prices.
- Subscribe to ReStore Hot Deals emails on their homepage: https://restore.tchabitat.org/
2. Be a ReStore VIP! Joining the club means that you get instant notification when ReStore sales are announced, which will be one to three times a month. Instructions/info: https://restore.tchabitat.org/about/restorevipclub
Sign up for both to get special offers!
Also, pick up a copy of this year’s Hennepin County Choose to Reuse coupon book! The ReStore is part of it with a coupon inside! Or get free coupons on the Choose to Reuse website here. Coupons are valid August 1 through October 31, 2018.
Plus, stay updated on their latest inventory. They post regularly on their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/TCHFHReStore/
Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity ReStore Outlet stores are located at:
New Brighton Address: 510 County Rd D West, New Brighton, MN 55112.
Minneapolis Address: 2700 Minnehaha Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55406.
(Disclosure: This post is sponsored by the Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity ReStore Home Improvement Outlets, but all content and opinions are 100% mine.)