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Back to school: the students’ guide to moving

Back to school is a busy time, with students attending college for the first time and others moving into the workplace and onto new locations. This is when our sites become a hub for great furniture finds with students passing on bargain items. There are lots of great deals to be found.

For those students who are moving into a dorm or moving out of their family home, here are our expert tips for saving money, furnishing a new place, and scoring the best deals.


Moving in

Look for used items before you buy new

Make a list of what you need and always consider buying used first. Many students are selling good condition items that have only been used for two semesters. Set up email alerts to be notified when items you’re looking for go on your local site. Be prepared to pay half the retail price (or less) dependent on quality of the item and its age.


Ace the timing

There are two main times in the year that students are on the move, and these are the best times to look for items on our sites. From late August into early September, and all throughout April are the most popular times for buying and selling furniture. If you can buy and sell in these months you will likely find what you need faster, while selling your own things more quickly.

Research the seller

If you find a great item that you need, we recommend that you also check the seller’s list for other useful items or ask if they have anything else for sale. If they are a student moving, they will likely be selling a few items – it doesn’t hurt to ask.

Kitchen appliances

Used kitchen appliances are a great area to save, just make sure they work before you part with your money. A kettle and late night ichiban noodles can make all the difference when studying hard. Remember to check with residence services to see what is allowed in your dormitory. For example, it is common for kettles to require an automatic shut off.

Get a mini-fridge

For those living in a dormitory, a mini-fridge will come in handy to keep some food and drinks cold and ready in your room, rather than relying on food services. A new mini-fridge can cost between $80 and $200, whereas lightly used mini-fridges can sell on for around $50. Check what size is allowed in your dorm room, then look for a mini-fridge to suit your needs.


Get your coffee fix

It’s an excellent idea to save money by making coffee at home. Invest in a coffee maker, or a Keurig and get in the habit of bringing coffee to go (in a reusable mug of course!).


Dorm rooms usually lack good lighting. Look for used desk lights, or standing reading lights for appropriate lighting when studying into the night.

Multi-purpose furniture

To make the most of your space, look for items that are multi-purpose. Futons, desks with shelving, and bookshelves. Comfort and storage will help keep your space homey and organized.

Make it yourself

Who doesn’t love a DIY project to get away from the books and never ending readings? This coffee table was handmade from old pallet wood. Hint: find the materials for free on your local site. Free pallet wood is extremely popular on our sites. Check Pinterest for inspiration.

Utilize your space

To keep your things organized for an easy and clean room, utilize all the space you have – yes, even the walls and the floor. Get set with shoe racks and door hangers, these are handy for storage.

Add your favourite things

When moving away from your family, make sure to bring something that reminds you of home. It’s no secret that you will miss it, but a comforting item can help with the transition to a home away from home.

Decorate your dorm

Depending on the rules with regards to decorating your room (no paint or holes in the walls), there are simple ways to add character to your space. Think posters, funky memorabilia, or sparkly lights to liven up and personalize your room.


Moving out

Sell what you don’t need

When you are ready to move on, sell the items that you no longer need. Someone else can use your secondhand items while you make some of your money back, especially if they are still in great condition. Place an ad on your local site to get rid of the things you no longer need without sending them to the landfill!

Fair price

When pricing your items, keep in mind that reasonably priced items always make for a quicker sale. The used price should be at least 25 percent less than the new price, if not the asking price is overpriced. See our retail versus used price chart to help you set a fair price.

Get rid of your books

Sell your books, and do it right away as they will be worth less the longer you leave them.

Look for boxes

When moving your things it makes sense to reuse moving boxes, rather than buying them, as you will just be recycling them when finished. Make sure you label your boxes to keep things easy and organized.

Whether you are moving in or moving out we wish you the best of luck with your school endeavors.

Useful links

Top 10 back to school budget tips

Back to school shopping for the younger set

Buying used kids’ clothes: back to school tips

Back to school essentials: how to buy used




Chatter from the UsedHQ. We're the number one Canadian online classifieds, passionate about keeping items out of landfills, preserving unique curiosities, crafting, upcycling, anything vintage and SAVING MONEY!

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