The Sofas: and the highs and lows of shopping at thrift stores

One of our hurdles in the move has been furnishing our new apartment. Replacing the bed was fairly straight forward, but the rest has been a struggle.

Initially all we had was a beach chair. It was mine, and I am somewhat selfish, so I had a seat and Joshua would sit on a box of books. Our tv was balanced on another box of books.

For a few weeks we had a twin air mattress set up, which functioned as a sofa like piece which could be used as a sofa-like object. Then Murphy bit it, and it deflated instantly.

For my birthday Josh purchased an armchair and ottoman I had paired together and really loved from the consignment shop on our block. So, I sat in my arm chair and Joshua sat in the beach chair and we watched our tv on a box of books. Our roommate sat in his computer chair in his bedroom.

Things worsened when Murphy took to sitting in the beach chair in Joshua’s absence, and in a poorly executed leap of an exit ripped two long strips down the middle of the seat. I duct taped it.

Our roommate purchased a pub style dining set I found on Craig’s List for a hundred dollars. More seats! We moved the tv to a pub seat. We could unpack the boxes of books, and stack all the books on the pantry shelves!

I continued to look for furniture via Craig’s List, which predictably didn’t really produce ideal sofa options. Understandably, Josh cracked. “I’m so sick of being uncomfortable. I come home and I either have to perch on this chair six feet off the ground or go to bed. We’re getting a sofa today,”

To be fair, he often sat on the cushioned ottoman, but I encouraged this outburst, “The oppression ends today!”.

Then the conflict began. Josh set a budget of $150 for the new sofa, including having it delivered. I had aesthetic  guidelines, that I could only identify in the moment. We went to no less than a dozen thrift stores that Saturday. There were plenty of sofas one of us approved, but none we were both on board with.

A week later Josh called from a sidewalk sale at the AmVets down the street.

“I found our sofa! It’s only twenty dollars!”

I was immediately skeptical. When I arrived Joshua was standing proudly in front of a green grey monstrosity. There were white paint speckles on the back of the sofa. The color was warped, having obviously been in the sun for more than just today.

“I don’t like it,” I stated simply, already envisioning the debate that would ensue.

“Sit on it. Come on. Sit down” Joshua countered.

“I don’t want to sit on it.”

“Toots, c’mon, sit down.” He looked at me firmly.

I sunk into the deep expanse of green grey sofa, “It smells”.

“It’s twenty dollars. It’ll be a transition sofa.”

“No because if we get this we won’t get a new sofa. I don’t want it. I don’t like it. It smells weird.”

Josh abruptly turned and walked into the store. When he returned a small elderly woman was following him with a neon “SOLD” sticker. I watched in disbelief as she explained our time table for picking up the sofa.

I glowered as Josh called our roommate to come help him hoist the sofa onto the car. Being less than two blocks away they planned to  balance it on the car before lugging it up the stairs to our living room.

Bitter, I went to the bedroom and pretended to be sleeping. Far be it from me to offer any assistance bringing that beast into my home. From our floor to ceiling window I watched the spectacle of them loosely carrying it into our apartment complex. They were drenched in sweat and the behemoth sofa appeared to swing them back and forth with it’s own life force.

Eventually I came downstairs. Josh was stretched across the sofa, which now bordered an entire wall of the room, forcing my adorable arm chair in front of the window. (It should be noted that this is the window which is beside the train tracks and a horrible seating arrangement.) I began to vacuum the sofa around Josh. The white flakes fluttered into my attachment. Josh stirred, and understanding this was the best way to make peace, began flipping cushions.

“We could get some spray stuff to make it smell different,” he offered.

“I guess we’ll have to.”

Over the coming weeks the condition of the demon sofa only deteriorated. In my cleaning I discovered random cigarette burns only visible once you were really submerged in the sofa. Murphy had taken to barreling down the staircase and racing toward the living room, leaping into the pillowy sofa gleefully. He was unstoppable in this pursuit. The back cushions ripped forward and stuffing began to explode into the air with every landing. Murphy snapped his jaws through the air, as if he were catching snowflakes. Toxic snowflakes. I was forced to duct tape the back cushions into their original placement.

IMG_4510One weekday, shortly thereafter, I snapped. Merlin had coughed up a rather horrifying hairball in the center of the couch. As I cleaned the mess I realized that the cushions themselves were discoloring the paper towels. I shoved the sofa into the kitchen. I pulled all the cushions askew. I envisioned stabbing them with a fork, pouring ketchup and mustard all over them, doing whatever I could to render the sofa as intolerable to Joshua as it was to me.

I texted him, “The sofa is gone. I got rid of it. #strongman”

He quickly responded, “Lol, no u didn’t”

“I did. I was really angry and my adreanaline was up.”

IMG_3968“Send me a picture.”

I sent him a picture of the empty living room.

“Wow. Ok then.”

We agreed that we would purchase a new sofa and have the same delivery men take away the demon sofa from outside our door.

Obviously when he got home he learned the truth, and had to move the sofa back to the living room, but a deal is a deal!!! ALRIGHT, ALRIGHT, ALRIGHT!!

ikea-ps-organizer__71352_PE186737_S4In JoshuaLand the major issue was our lack of a dresser. We have an ikea shelving contraption in the closet which was his daily undoing.  It is called “Ikea PS Organizer” and it was a steal at $25. Except after it took me TWO ENTIRE DAYS to put it together I suspect the PS stands for piece of shit.

Anyway, Josh spilled his clothes from the slippery plastic cloth shelves into the cat food and water which is also kept in the closet on a regular basis. Thus, the following Saturday we set out to get a dresser to appease him.

Then something beautiful happened.


I found a gently used spring green Ethan Allen sofa for $130.

It even matches the ottoman from my birthday chair.

Insisting this would qualify as my anniversary gift, I stretched across the sofa until Josh returned with an employee and a “Sold” sign. Luckily, this was a brief stalemate.

“Well, you have your sofa! We just won’t do the spa pedicure part of our anniversary.”


And we still continued on to Ikea for our dresser!

Within two days everything had been assembled/delivered and my arm chair was moved back to it’s appropriate nook, away from the window of deafening train noises.


Slowly, slowly, this homestead is coming together!

What furniture/decor disagreements have you had with your roommates/significant others?



  1. Pingback: Murphy Graduates, Again | To Love and Adventure!

  2. Win! I’m about 2 days from murdering Greg if he doesn’t get us a new table. We have one he bought at Ashley Furniture 4 years ago and it’s falling apart. The table is fantastic, everyone compliments us on it. But the benches and chairs were not made very well and thus are almost worthless after only 4 years. My advice is to not buy anything from Ashley. Hopefully soon I will have great furniture success like you.

  3. Pingback: The summer of my discontent (part 1). | To Love and Adventure!

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