After moving to the new apartment, I became busy finding the right furniture and appliances. Right means, within a budget but trusted brands and can fit on the allotted space. This is again something new to us. We had never shop for furniture and appliances before because we rented fully furnished HDB units in Singapore. Thanks to AU-NZ trips last year and the airbnb where we stayed. They gave me the idea of what to put in the small apartment and how to use a dishwasher. I even messaged the owner of the airbnb property to ask where she bought those items in their unit. Hehehe! She was very helpful. If ever you decided to visit Melbourne, I will recommend this airbnb listing: Cosy, light-filled with harbour view Lynda and David are wonderful hosts and their property is within the free tram zone and the station is right on your doorstep.
Back on the furniture and appliances hunting, I list all the items we needed and compare prices. I would say that the furniture is difficult because there are so many suppliers and shops online and around Melbourne. For appliances, we only have 2 options: Harvey Norman or JB Hi-Fi. My first goal is to buy bedroom furniture which can be delivered as soon as possible. I had to frequently go out to check the shops I saw online. I went to Ikea Richmond and the other shops in Victoria Gardens, DFO South Wharf, Target in Bourke Street, Factory Outlet near us and QV Mall.
Sometimes I will ask my husband and daughter to go with me on weekends. One day when we were heading to Ikea, my husband commented that the place was too far. Oh well it was his first time to go out of the free tram zone and going to Ikea takes more than half an hour. Only then he realized how far I traveled to find a house. We managed to complete the important furniture and appliances in 2 weeks.
Some tips I can share for beginners like me are:
1. Buy a tape measure. Measure the allotted space for each item, take note of them and bring the tape measure when going out.
2. Measure the width, height and depth of the allotted space. Normally shops will display or include the dimension of the item.
3. List the important stuffs and consider your budget without sacrificing the quality. Necessary furniture and appliances are investments.
4. For renters, don’t forget that you are renting. Buy stuffs which can be installed without breaking the tenancy agreement and it can fit in the door once you move out. The last one is specifically for those furniture that you assembled by yourself.
5. If you have a small kid, choose kid-friendly furniture as much as possible and leave enough space where your kid can play.
It has been 3 months since we purchased the following items and we they are still as good as new. If you need ideas where to buy, here are the things we bought and where we bought them.
Regal Sleep Solutions South Wharf – bed frame, mattress, headboard, pillows, pillow and mattress protector
JB Hi-Fi South Wharf – fridge, washing machine, dryer, rice cooker, TV (but they have lots of products)
Harvey Normal (QV Mall) – vacuum (just happens that the vacuum we wanted was cheaper in this shop so better compare with JB Hi-Fi)
Adairs DFO – quilt cover, fitted sheet, pillow case, bath towels (Adairs is more expensive than target but the quality is better so watch out for sale)
Target Centre Melbourne – quilt and other small stuffs in the house like clock
Ikea Richmond – kid’s table & chairs, shelves, storage container, dining set, kitchen utensils, bath mat, rugs
Kogan – shoe rack, coat rack
Although starting a new life will hurt your pocket but it’s a wonderful experience. Since I do not have a job yet, there are more factors to consider when getting money out of your pocket. The joy of hearing the intercom because it means new items are coming. The satisfaction of seeing the transformation of the empty space into a livable one. We learned a lot of things and it started to feel like, you’re home.