Dumpster Diving Is Still Alive and Well In NYC
As the rents continue to rise in New York City, residents have to become more creative about acquiring household furnishings and designing their living spaces. From tiny micro apartments that might consist of no more than 250 square feet of living space, to regal Brooklyn Brownstones, perfect sized furniture is needed to make your home in NYC feel inviting. There are thrift stores that sell plenty of gently used furniture, but you won’t believe how expensive it is to get that kind of stuff delivered just a few blocks. Then there are the super ritzy furniture places that are outside of most New Yorker’s price ranges. Thankfully, there are websites like diyexperience.com that show local residents how to reupholster their furniture, decorate on a budget, and even organize their pads on a really small budget. You really can find your next favorite piece of furniture by dumpster diving in NYC.
Where to Find the Really Good Stuff
First, you have to realize that the term ‘dumpster diving’ is a little-in-cheek. It isn’t actually recommended that you seek out or get into a dumpster to find furniture. In New York, you can simply walk down the street on any given night and come across entire bedroom sets, coffee tables, bookshelves, vases, books, and other items that would look great in your living room. Some will be antiques, and others will be rather new, but if you know what to look for and have a plan on how to get it back to your apartment, you will be all set.
What to Do with Found Furniture
So once you find something worth keeping, you will likely want to spruce it up and make it your own. Wooden furnishings can be sanded down, stained, and then sealed so that they look amazing. Items like couches and lounge chairs are trickier. First, remember that any upholstered furniture being thrown out in New York - especially pieces that look perfectly good - might be infested with bed bugs. For this reason, you should really stick to dumpster diving for furniture made only of plastic, wood or metal, so that it can be sanitized and inspected for bugs prior to bringing it into your home.
Making Dumpster Diving a Habit
Whether you are starting off with an apartment that is completely bare, or you plan to keep on adding odds and ends until you get the perfect look, you have to be consistent about searching for new and unique pieces. You can walk around town with a hand-truck, which will make it easier for you to pick up heavy furniture and haul it back home on your own. Also, look for new pieces on trash night, which is when you are most likely to find some truly amazing furniture.
Paint it, stain it, add stickers, or shellac it - when you find a piece of furniture that is free for the taking, you can do whatever you want with it. Repurpose bookshelves into a headboard so that you get extra storage in your bedroom, or find a great cart that doubles as a butcher’s block in your kitchen. If you live in New York, you can find almost everything you need for your apartment on the street.