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Furnishing your apartment on a college budget? Check out these Philly thrift stores.

Buying furniture is expensive, especially on a college student’s budget. These thrift shops around town can help get the job done.

Uhuru Furniture & Collectibles on North Broad Street, one of the local thrift stores that can help college students furnish their apartments.
Uhuru Furniture & Collectibles on North Broad Street, one of the local thrift stores that can help college students furnish their apartments.Read moreTOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer

The time to start thinking about furnishing your college dorm or apartment may be right around the corner. And let’s be real: Buying furniture is expensive, especially on a college student’s budget. You can hope for the best and pick up some cool furniture from someone’s curb. But, if that doesn’t work out, check out some of these local thrift stores around Philly:

Near Temple University


This Black-owned community thrift store has been helping Temple Owls set up their apartments with upcycled furniture since 1994. As the summer ends, Uhuru is holding a back-to-school event. During August, the store is offering 15% off and “buy one, get one” on all lamps, mirrors, art, and single chairs.

At Uhuru, you can find futons, couches, dressers, tables, chairs, dining sets, rugs, desks, mirrors, nightstands, kitchen items, art, and more — for less than $100. To make it more convenient, they have a digital catalog where you can check for new items. And they go live on Instagram every Thursday at 12:30 p.m. and Saturday at 10:30 a.m., so you can see the furniture, its condition, and the price.

All of Uhuru’s items come from donations, and profits go to the African People’s Education and Defense Fund, a nonprofit that supports Black community economic development and self-determination programs such as doula training, community gardens, and women’s health centers.

📍832 N. Broad St., ⏱️Wednesday-Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., 🌐, 📞215-546-9616

Circle Thrift

Circle Thrift is a Frankford Avenue store maintained by Christian church Circle of Hope. Recliners, like-new Ikea furniture to be assembled, bed frames, cushions, dressers, rugs, mirrors, lamps, record players, and keyboards are among the inventory. The store offers a 15% student discount on Thursdays, all year. Top that off with its color rotation discount system, and you can furnish and decorate your apartment without breaking the budget.

Browse for furniture and decor on the shop’s Instagram, where you can find new items, prices, and sales. Circle Thrift will hold your purchased furniture for up to three days, so you have time to pick it up or deliver it to your place.

📍2233 Frankford Ave., ⏱️Tuesday-Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., 🌐, 📞215-423-1222

Thunderbird Salvage

Looking for clothing racks, console cabinets, shelves, fans, outdoor furniture, silverware, sofas, and vanity desks? Check out Thunderbird Salvage. This Fishtown thrift store has new and used furniture to equip your apartment for as low as $30.

Although they sell in-store, you can virtually claim items through social media. They use their platforms to post what is available, furniture dimensions, and prices. If you find something you like, message them, pay through Venmo, and pick it up at the store within five days or get it delivered.

📍2441 Frankford Ave., ⏱️Monday-Sunday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., 🌐Instagram, 📞 267-250-7995

The Resource Exchange

If you are living for the aesthetic of your wall art and decorations, The Resource Exchange is one bus stop away from Temple’s campus. They have environmentally resourceful and sustainable items that align with their mission of keeping useful materials from landfills.

Although they do offer household items such as cabinets, lamps, chairs, and tables for $20 to $200, the shop’s main focus is on upcycling art and fabrics. They have paintings donated by local artists, print posters, picture frames, tapestries, hand-braided rugs, light filtering curtain panels, and more. Plus, you can get art and film school supplies, and $1 binders and bulks of pencils.

You can buy in-store or shop online with curbside pickup. Check their social media channels to see what’s new at the store.

📍1800 N. American St., ⏱️Wednesday-Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sundays between noon and 4 p.m., 🌐, 📞267-997-0060

Near University City

Something New Thrift Store

Established in 2011, this West Philadelphia thrift store is a Black-owned and women-owned business. They have kitchen appliances, cookware, dining table sets, curtains, bed frames, headboards, dressers, sofas, lamps, and decorations at a fraction of the price of new. But, since they don’t have an online shopping option, you have to go to the store to purchase. While you are there, enjoy free Danishes — every Monday, except for the first one of the month.

If you want to have a sense of what is at the store, check their social media for updates. Currently, they have couches starting at $45, and pots, pans, and dishes for as low as $3. And if you buy furniture you can’t carry home, or if your college campus is far from the store, they offer delivery service. If you or some friends can do the heavy lifting, they will drive it to your house for free.

📍5248 Market St., ⏱️Monday-Saturday, 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., 🌐, 📞215-941-3787

The Second Mile Center

Located within a 15-minute walk of University City, this Christian faith-based nonprofit has been a community thrifting spot for 36 years. The shop runs on donations, so you might need to do a little digging to find what fits your needs or aesthetic the best. But their constant discounts of up to 70% make their furniture college budget-friendly.

Here you can get love sofas, coffee tables, dinnerware sets, desk chairs, desk lamps, bookcases, dressers, nightstands, vanity desks, and more. If needed, the store can hold the furniture for you for a few days, or deliver it straight to your place. Plus, by supporting this local nonprofit, you are helping them continue to offer a second chance for previously incarcerated people.

📍 214 S 45th St., ⏱️Monday-Saturday, 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., 🌐, 📞215-662-1663

South Philly

Philly AIDS Thrift

At Philly AIDS Thrift, “aimless browsing is strongly encouraged,” so you can spend hours looking through the two-story store for furniture and unique artifacts to decorate your apartment. Plus, they have daily discounts, as well as a monthly rotating color-coded discount system to make items more affordable.

Although you won’t be able to get bed frames or futons at this store, they do have a wide variety of donations, such as televisions, stereos, artwork, unique artifacts, plates and cups, lamps, ottomans, and chairs. And all their profits go to Philly-area HIV service organizations, including Congreso de Latinos Unidos, GALAEI, and Philadelphia Fight.

📍 710 S. 5th St., ⏱️Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sundays between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m., 🌐, 📞215-922-3186

Habitat for Humanity ReStore

For folks looking for discounted appliances and furniture, the Washington Avenue Habitat for Humanity ReStore might be the place. They have a wide inventory of gently used items ranging from table lamps to TVs for a fraction of retail price.

They don’t sell online, but a trip to the store can help you find affordable air-conditioning window units, heating units, fans, dehumidifiers, sofas, kitchen appliances, cabinets, bookcases, dressers, dining sets, and more. Their inventory changes quickly, but you can keep up with when new items arrive on their Instagram. Plus, 100% of the profits go to build and repair homes for Philadelphians who need assistance.

📍2318 Washington Ave., ⏱️Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., 🌐, 📞215-765-6000