I HAVE FURNITURE.
The bed and mattress are all thanks to my amazing mom, who went to Ikea with me to buy it. Three months into living in Seattle, I have a nice comfy bed that feels oh so good to fall asleep in. Sometimes I roll around on it just to feel the luxuriousness.
As someone just moving into a new place without bringing any furniture, I thought I'd give some tips on how to procure furniture for any that might find themselves in the same situation.
1). Friends -- I have a couch/futon because a friend of mine was moving out. I also have maybe five pots because various people have hand-me-downed them. Nothing wrong with having a few extra saucepans to bang around and feel all important in the kitchen.
2). Yard sales -- Seattle (and probably any neighborhood in general) is rife with these in the summer. I've taken to bringing around my big canvas bag instead of a small purse whenever I go walking/exploring because I almost always stumble upon a yard sale...and yard sales are my weakness. They always have books for really cheap...or small knick-knacks...And if you come upon them near the end of the day, sometimes they're desperate and practically giving away things.
4). Street corners -- This may sound sketchy, but sometimes people just leave stuff on the side of the street. I've picked up a few items this way -- a couple chairs, a mug, and my coffee table. I'm always afraid that someone might leave something at the side of the road because they're coming back in a few minutes to load it into their truck...and so I'm unwittingly stealing something (if that's the case, maybe I'll see that scene in my greatest hits replay as well and we can all have a retrospective laugh about it)...but thus far, I haven't had anyone come running after me with cries of "Thief!! Asian ninja thief!!!" so I think I'm okay....I think.
A digression on this last point -- it always helps to have big muscles. I found the coffee table a couple blocks away from where I live, but it's good it wasn't any farther. The table is almost as tall as I am, and I had to muster all of my puny strength to carry it home (and up three flights of stairs). On my way home, I must have cut a pathetic figure because a stranger asked me worriedly if I needed any help with that because "that looks awfully heavy". I replied back (after setting down the table for a quick breather...and also because I didn't think I could hold it and talk at the same time): "No...it's not heavy, I'm just weak. But thank you anyway."
5). "As-is" section in Ikea -- Ikea is a pretty magical place. And you can find Ikea furniture anywhere - when people are moving out for the first time, when new couples are furnishing their first home together, when guys are fixin up their bachelor pads. Why? Because it's pretty darn cheap for furniture and not too shabby to the eyes. And while Ikea usually gives you a pretty good deal anyway, you should always always check out their "as-is" section which has all of their furniture for huge markdowns...sometimes it's because the furniture has some defects (ie scratches or it may be missing a part) or because it was used in the display, or if it was returned with some marks. In any case, that's where I got both my bedframe and my mattress....both marked down to less than 50% of their original price.
The challenge to this is that sometimes the furniture is already put together and can be rather cumbersome to move (and impossible to fit into certain vehicles). But if you find a set or many different pieces, you can just get Ikea to deliver for you. Their base delivery fee is $60, regardless of how much you want them to deliver...and then you can get all the big muscled guys to traipse up and down the three flights of stairs for you instead.
7). The kindness of others -- When I first moved in, I mentioned that my neighbors were kind enough to temporarily lend me a table, an air mattress, and a chair. I've since returned all of the items except for the one chair. It's just...so comfy. And I don't need it...but it was just folded up in the closet of my neighbor, so maybe she doesn't need it either? Kind neighbor, if you're reading this, you can have the chair back if you want...but if you don't want...can I just keep it?...
Well, that's all the wisdom I have to impart for today. And always remember, kids: nothing beats the price of free.