There are a few ideas which I gathered over time how you can buy and sell things you need for your new place. Most of us arrived here with 2 pieces of luggage. That means, that most of the time you need to buy the most basic furnishings and household stuff. This is sometimes quite frustrating, since at home you had all of this. The first shop I encountered here was Saveway. This is mostly a grocery store. Household things, such as brooms, pots, buckets are rather limited there. A better shop for this sort of stuff is Target or Walmart. This is one of the big department stores which are available throughout the country and you can find most of the household items and more there. And Ikea is a big hit here. You can get fantastic furniture which are designed for a short stay.
However, if you don’t feel like buying new things, there are 3 ways to go about buying used items. You probably came across craigslist.com already. This website is very important in America, many purchases are done via Craigslist and I am sure we are going to blog more about this amazing website. I bought most of my furniture from Craigslist. Be aware of scams, but when you buy locally, you should be fine. We got fantastic furniture for little money. Depending on the time you arrive in the Bay Area there are many people/students who are leaving and you can buy used items for a fraction of the price.
My husband and I were very lucky, we found a Danish couple on Craigslist and they needed to get rid of all their furniture and household stuff. We ended up with all we needed and more.
Another source, which I only found out later is supost.com. This is a classified website just for Stanford, meaning students sell all their stuff there just before they leave. You can get great deals throughout the year, but especially in June/July.
And then throughout the year you can see signs for the so called Garage sales. People clean up their flats and sell everything in their garage. In summer when cycling around, there is almost 1 garage sale per street. It is fairly safe to go to these sales. Also you get to know the real California people. Another word for cheap household items is estate liquidation. I have been to one and learnt that companies basically sell the household off of deceased people. It’s pretty sad when you walk around the house and still see the bed where the person probably died in.
Another interesting thing happens in the suburbs, when people want to get rid of old furniture they just put it out on the street and write “for free” on it. Then you can just take the couch and move it to your place.
Tips & Insights:
- you can get great bargains and real treasures second hand in the Bay Area
- when students are arriving and leaving it is the best time to buy/sell
- check websites versus going to the shops