Or the recycling bins in your area.
Other advice is to check out the nearby thrift or discount stores but nothing really beats free.
A lot of great pieces get thrown out instead of sold or donated. This is especially true in college towns. Several stories of great items being thrown out are found in these types of towns. Instances of expensive jewelry and the like. However, most often furniture or housing items will be found.
Of course, when picking these items up you have to make sure they are not harboring insects or a broken.
Many of my items currently and in the past were dumped by their initial owners. Prior to moving to graduate school in the U.K., I received an e-mail from one of my housemates saying he found us some dishes. Pretty normal for an e-mail, and we told him that we would pay him back. He said it was not necessary, because he found the plates on the side of the road.
It is safe to say that we were all shocked, but it worked well. They lasted the entire time and we gave them away when we were done.
Since then, I have checked out the dumpsters and recycling bins first. My most recent find was a mirror. I have been looking to get one but I did not want to buy one and then carry it home. So, instead I checked out the recycling area of my building every so often. Recently, a mirror was placed there and I picked up. A quick cleaning made it as good as new.
Is it weird?
Yes, it is weird, but as Dave Ramsey says, ‘Don’t be broke, be weird.’