Over the course of our first recent move, my fiancé and I moved from one side of Canada to the other. This past month we moved right on back. This included taking all of our belongings and condensing them from the full two-bedroom apartment we had to everything that would fit in our vehicle with our 80lb dog and the two of us. The result was that a lot of our belongings were sold or given away. The fancy table that we had bought thinking that “this was going to be our table for the foreseeable future” was sold off, my videogame systems, many of our books, and significant portions of our wardrobes. We were down to the necessities and were still getting rid of things.
It was with our vehicle full of what belongings we were unable to part with for sentimental or practical reasons that we arrived at our new apartment. We moved everything into our new apartment in a single day with just the two of us. Faced with having to secure, at the least, a new bed to sleep in and maybe a comfortable chair or two, we took a different tact than before. Having just gone through the process of “investing” in furniture only to be forced to part with it, we decided to see what we could find for cheap or free.
Scouring Craigslist, Freecycle, Kijiji, talking to people we met, and, yes, even the occasional find in a back alley or on the road with a “free” sign on it, we were able to fill our entire apartment; three couches, a comfortable reading chair, two mattresses with box springs, book shelves, an ottoman, a desk with an office chair, a stand-up freezer, a coffee table, and more for the grand total of $40. The furniture we were able to secure has all been “previously loved,” and there was a period that we were using a very beaten up couch that has since become the dog’s bed, but the majority of it is in incredible shape. The mattress is comfortable and clean, the couches are beautiful and leather, and we are far happier having gotten second-hand furniture with the extra work we put into it rather than dropping a few hundred dollars at Ikea.
We then, after filling another one bedroom apartment with wonderful furniture, went and did it again (for work reasons). We're low on furniture again, but we've already made a few awesome finds since moving in here. I think its pretty unlikely that we'll be spending money on furniture any time soon.
The experience we’ve been through has also taught us some amazing lessons about basic furniture care and repair, and about how we live our lives. Looking at potentially making the move back across the continent in a few years, I suspect that it will be far easier to downsize again. The things we will keep will be the things that are inconvenient or impractical to get rid of and replace, like clothing and a few nice kitchen things, but many of the things that made the trip with us will likely stay here and be handed off to someone else to enjoy.