How to Put Together Your Apartment Ethically + on a Budget

I recently moved into my first Adult Apartment ™! I live in a one-bedroom efficiency model on my own and I absolutely love it. One of my goals when moving was to decorate and furnish my apartment almost exclusively with second hand pieces in an effort to live in a more sustainably, ethically and economically smart fashion. Furniture and home decor production is extremely taxing on our planet, producing high amounts of single use plastic for packaging and carbon emissions from production. This production is often on the backs of people (often women or people of color) being paid meager wages in harsh conditions. And on top of it all, furniture is expensive!!! Here are a few ways around the treachery that is companies like Wayfair:

  • Facebook Marketplace
    • This has become my newest form of entertainment. I got to a point where FB Marketplace was the first thing I checked when I woke up in the morning to the last thing I checked before bed. I purchased several chairs, tables, a shelf and a vintage trunk from FB Marketplace. My advice is to check often and save items for later if you’re slightly interested. You can also extend offers that are less than the asking price and often people will accept that because they just want stuff out of their house. When going to pick up, I always recommend bringing a friend with you and making sure that someone knows exactly where you’re going for safety.  
  • Thrifting
    • This can be a slow process because you typically can’t walk into a singular thrift store and find every single thing you’ve ever wanted because this ain’t Target. But it’s better than Target because you’re not destroying the world in the process. I started thrifting for my new apartment months in advance. I think the key to thrifting is patience. We have been raised in such a fast-paced environment with such short turnovers. I’m addicted to instant gratification too so don’t feel bad. It’s a real thing with the environment we’ve become adults in. But this thing can’t be rushed. My main tip for thrifting is to thrift early, thrift often. This will often be long trip with small hauls because that’s how this game is played. Be dedicated to the time and process of thrifting. It will be a billion times more satisfying when you can look at your apartment and know I FOUND this. 
  • Curated Resale Shops
    • These are the key if the other two processes seem too time-consuming or difficult. Some of my local favorites are Dabl and Little Hawk Shop. These types of shops stalk Facebook Marketplace and dig through thrift stores for you. They sell the items at a profit obviously but they are always still comparable or less expensive than if you bought the item new plus the added benefit of supporting a local business. If you’re not local, Etsy is an incredible international option for curated secondhand items or your local flea market/antique stores.

There are a few items I bought new for my apartment such as towels, kitchen utensils, a trashcan, sheets and my couch for various reasons ranging from my personal comfort and preference to availability. It’s okay to mix old and new. An all or nothing mindset is defeating and not a sustainable way to approach sustainability and anyone who tells you anything different will drive people from the movement rather than bringing them in. Just found one thing thrifting? Great! Thrifted an entire bedroom set? Amazing! Went thrifting for the first time and found nothing? Cool! This is not a win or lose game. You are winning as you try to grow, evolve and do less harm. Revel in your wins. And your new apartment. 

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