Free and Low Cost Items

Neighborhood Giveaways

Many Boston and Cambridge-area apartment buildings have a designated area for giveaways. For instance, at Botanic Gardens, there is a free cycling area by the garages near the corner of Linnaean and Garden Street. Similarly, Peabody Terrace has a free recycling area next to the recycling containers by the parking garage.

Also keep a look out for items left out on the curb during move-out periods (e.g., early September) or on trash days.

"Allston Christmas" is the colloquial name for September 1st, which is the move-out day for many apartments across Greater Boston. On Allston Christmas, you can find tons of free furniture and home goods on the sidewalks in Boston. You've got to see it to believe it.

One open cardboard box stacked on top of two other boxes with the word "DONATION" written on the side in sharpie.

Thrift stores

There are many local thrift stores with low-cost items.

A smiling group of young adults shopping for retro and vintage clothing styles at a second hand thrift store.

Online platforms

In addition to physical thrift stores, there are online platforms you can use to find free or low-cost items, including Craigslist Free Items and Freecycle.

A young businessman working in front of the laptop looking at the website



  • Harvard Recycling & Surplus Center
    Harvard's Recycling and Surplus Center makes furniture, supplies, equipment, textiles, and a wide-variety of other items available free to anyone on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Harvard Grad Market
    Also check out on Facebook, a group created to help grad students buy, sell and donate goods.


  • Reuse at MIT
    You can find information about how MIT supports reusing on the Reuse at MIT webpage, which also includes instructions for joining the MIT reuse email list.
  • MIT Student Furniture Exchange
    The MIT Student Furniture Exchange ordinarily sells used furniture and household goods at bargain prices and is open to MIT, Harvard, Suffolk, and BU communities.
image of furniture stacked up, presumably donated.

Social Media Resources

When searching for used items, keep in mind that used furniture—particularly upholstered chairs and couches—can potentially bring bed bugs into your home. If you find a bedbug in your home, please contact your Property Management Office immediately.

Please note: Neither Harvard University nor Harvard University Housing manages any of the sites or groups referenced on this page.