Furnishing your apartment entirely and free of charge from classified ad websites and Facebook groups is possible. Alain Bernard and Caroline Provost, a couple of eco-responsible travellers, even did it in two days. Our journalist Dominic Brassard met them.
When they returned to Canada after a long journey, Caroline Provost and Alain Bernard had no money, no decorations, no accommodation, no furniture. They have therefore decided to change their lifestyle to adopt a more eco-responsible and, at the same time, more economical behaviour.
To furnish their new home, they turned to the Facebook group “Do you have that?” and the Kijiji classifieds website. In just two days, they got their hands on three sofas, a stove, a refrigerator, a bed, a dresser and a kitchen table, quality furniture that people wanted to get rid of.
A new way of life
For the couple, it is a way to escape the consumer society. “All we do is work to pay. By removing the pressure created by debt, you feel lighter, you sleep better at night. We don’t need to have the big luxury,” explains Alain Bernard.
The couple suggests that people who have extra furniture stored at home should donate it. “It tears my heart out to see that there may be someone who is in pain because they don’t have that piece,” says Caroline Provost.
Towards a shared economy
With social networks, this form of sharing economy has developed. However, it is not new.
“We must never forget that the world of overconsumption and waste we have today is a relatively new world. Not so long ago, an older generation kept its furniture all its life or exchanged it,” says Colleen Thorpe, Équiterre’s Director of Educational Programs.
In order to be eco-responsible, she believes that you have to rely on well-constructed furniture even if it costs more.
“Today, with the arrival of many pieces of furniture from Malaysia, the quality of the wood and the assembly[leave something to be desired]. The furniture] is much less resistant,” explains Jocelyn Tourigny, owner of the Centre de rénovation du meuble JT, in Longueuil.
He believes that it is imperative to have the reflex of giving furniture a second life instead of throwing it away. “These are trees that are being destroyed. … I’m sure someone somewhere will love these pieces of furniture and keep them,” he adds.