Furnishing your first apartment can be super fun (for most of us, this is the first time we’re making large purchases that are just ours). However, buying furniture can also be a huge hassle if you don’t do it right. Here are some questions to think about before you whip out the credit card.
How is it getting to my apartment?
I had all my furniture picked out from IKEA’s website until my mom asked me how I planned on fitting everything (including a couch and mattress) in my tiny car. Not a problem, I thought, IKEA delivers. Then, I calculated the cost of shipping my order. So much for that plan. If you’re planning on doing store pick-up, figure out beforehand if it will fit in your car. How many trips will you have to make to and from the store? Does anyone you know have a truck or SUV you could borrow? If you’re getting it delivered, look into shipping cost. Is that couch still a good deal if it costs $200 to ship it? Are there hidden shipping costs for large items? Will you be there to receive the delivery?
Can I assemble it myself?
Nothing stinks more than using a cardboard box as a dining table except finally getting your real table delivered, only to discover that you’re missing the tools to assemble it. Before buying anything, check if it comes with tools. If not, do you have the tools it requires? Are you handy enough to put this together, or will you need a friend to help you out? If you’re buying online, read product reviews and see if other people struggled with assembly.
Can I get it inside my apartment?
It doesn’t matter how easy assembly is if the box your furniture comes in is too big or too heavy for you to get it in the door. Most products online will tell you how much an item weighs, as well as its dimensions, so make sure you check these stats. If you’re shopping in the store, come prepared with a list of relevant measurements (like the height of your ceiling, the width of your hallway, any tight turns on the stairwells, etc.) Always ask yourself: Will I need a friend to help carry this? Will it fit through my doorway? How am I going to get it up the stairs? Just to be sure, also ask about the store’s return policy. If you measure wrong and the sofa does not make it through the door, will you then have to pay return shipping and restocking fees?
How many stores am I buying from?
You’ll have to coordinate delivery or pick up from every company you order from, so the fewer details you have to organize, the easier it will be. Not to mention, most places will charge you a flat delivery fee per order, regardless of the size of your order. Instead of paying to ship ten items from ten different stores, try to limit yourself to two or three stores to save money. Walmart might have a table you like more, but if you’re ordering everything else from Target, save yourself the hassle and get the table from Target, too.
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