Forget Free Love, this is about Loving Free! Kirstie Allsop shares her top tips on how you can totally revamp your home, without breaking the bank.
In the UK alone, a staggering 10 million items of furniture are thrown away every year, with the clear up costing a massive $AU58 million a year. The stats her at home are just as shocking - Australians are the second biggest waste producers in the world, after America. Every year we throw away about 10 million tonnes of waste; at least half of this could be reused.
To halt this throw away culture, Kirstie is enlisting the help of inventors and designers to transform homes by recycling, reusing and repairing furniture – with barely spending a cent.
With some imagination, an open mind and some hard graft you can salvage almost anything that will beat anything you’ll find new – on price and quality.
Here are Kirstie’s top tips on where you can find the best finds for free - as seen on Kirstie's Fill Your Home For Free on The LifeStyle Channel.
1. Zero price tag doesn’t mean zero quality
Finding what's right takes patience and plenty of research. The most important thing when trying to fill your home with bargains is flexibility, you can't have a fixed idea of what you want, or what you need if you're trying to get it for free. You have to embrace things, you have to really try and have vision and imagination and see that almost anything is improved with a bit of elbow grease!
2. Where to start
Websites offering furniture for free are everywhere and the kerbside has become a shopping mecca.
Offline, kerbsides, house clearances and skip diving can uncover some real gems too. Get to know when neighboring suburbs are having council clean up days – you’re bound to find something. Keep your eyes open for skips with roadside finds, or simply ask friends and family.
3. If you're a beginner, start virtual
Plugging into the world wide web is one of the best ways to source free furniture. But there can be perils attached – if you snooze, you lose. Good stuff goes fast, it's as simple as that. You've got to respond quickly. The reason people are giving stuff away is because they want to get rid of it, and they'll give it to the first person who comes along.
4. Find Give and Take events – or start your own
Give and Take events are an increasingly popular way to recycle and pick up a bargain. No money changes hands and unloved items find new homes. Check out council websites to see if they're holding one near your or why not host one yourself - all you need is a local venue, a few willing volunteers, a post on a social networking site and heaps of enthusiasm.
The world of free is a community - it's not just about taking, it's about giving too. It may be that there's nothing you need, but there's almost certainly something you can give.
Many large cities and regional centers will have warehouses such as Reverse Garbage where you can pick up any assortment of things for next to nothing.
5. Keep your eyes open for skips with roadside finds
If you’re looking for building materials, skips can be a gold mine. Just be sure to ask permission before you take anything.
PHOTOS: Raise The Roof Productions
6. Be on the look out for House Clearances
House clearances are great for sourcing free stuff. Just like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're going to get.
House clearances are not clearly advertised so you need to keep your eyes peeled for people posting more than one item for free on websites such as Gumtree or Ozrecycle.com. Get in touch and ask if they're having a clear out.
7. Measure everything before you go hunting
Measure every room in your house, every wall, every space, every alcove and have those measurements with you. You can't benefit from free furniture unless you are able to say then and there, yes I'll take it, it fits, it's right for me.
8. Think outside the box
Look at everything that comes your way and think, can I put that to a different use? When looking for volume – be selective. Take chairs for example – they’re everywhere – and they don’t have to match, eclectic mixes can look chic. Often a bit of paint and some basic upholstery can work wonders.
9. Don’t’ just take, give too
If you get involved in finding things for free you need to realise that part of it is swapping. Before you fill your home with free finds, de-cluttering is the name of the game and giving away things for free is at the heart of upcycling.
Sign up to your local groups, get the emails, get the reminders and get your friends and family involved. This is a community thing, there are people who want things and there are people who don't need things.
Before you pay out to skip it, please advertise to see if someone would like to take it off your hands. If it finds a new home, you save time and money.
10. It’s free! But do you really need it?
Just because it's free, it doesn't mean it's right. Of course there are some things which people are giving away, because they can't be bothered to take them to the skip themselves.
If you don't need something or you don't really love it, don't take it just because it's free. Free clutter is no different from any other kind of clutter. It gets in the way.
Watch 'Kirstie’s Fill Your Home For Free' on The LifeStyle Channel