Flowers are blooming, street-side patios are opening, and bike lane traffic is again becoming a reality. And closer to home, the change in seasons beckons your annual swap-out of sweaters for summer dresses and Sorels for flip flops. You might be doing a bit of spring cleaning, too, and after all the dust has cleared and the clutter is put back into its place, it’s the perfect time to spruce up your pad. While decorating can definitely cost you a pretty penny, you’d be surprised at how much you can do with very little. All it takes is some crafty upcycling and a bit of hunting around.  

Swanky hood scavenging
Spring is the perfect time to scavenge some of the more well-to-do parts of town for curbside finds that are otherwise headed to the landfill. Moneyed folks across the city are doing their own spring cleaning, too, and are getting rid of unwanted pieces of furniture. The items are usually well maintained and there’s a lesser chance of unpleasant pest surprises. We recommend Rosedale, The Annex, and Forest Hill, but any fancy neighbourhood is fair game. Check here to find out when garbage day is in the neighbourhood you’re hitting.  

Freecycle, Craigslist, and Trashswag
A slightly more organized version of the above comes in the form of “free stuff” postings on Freecycle, Craigslist, and Trashswag. The latter is our favourite, as it does the scavenging for you in the form of a crowdsourced map where users take photos of curbed items and post them for Trashswaggers. At any of the above websites, you can score pieces of furniture as well as materials like scrap wood to make your own creations. Since free is, after all, the best price, these items will go quickly—so keep your eye on the above sites and pounce when you spot a find.

Thrift store finds
For smaller-scale items, head to your local Value Village or Salvation Army to pick up bits and pieces that catch your eye. Check out this website for some cute ideas to upcycle cheap vintage finds. We love the idea of turning vintage fabric from scarves, bedsheets, or whatever else you find in the second hand shop, into art by stapling it over a canvas. Don’t forget about vintage clothing stores as well—places like The Public Butter have some cute knick knacks and decor pieces for pretty cheap.