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October 15, 2012 6:41 PM   Subscribe

Moving with nothing, where should we shop for pretty much everything?

We are relocating back to the mainland US from Hawaii after being here for almost 11 years. Besides books, a few clothes, and very few tchotchkes, we are leaving everything behind since nothing is really worth shipping. It has been awhile since we've had any options, and I imagine there are a bunch of cool places to get household goods (kitchenware, furniture, kids toys, warm clothes) that weren't around when we left.

Specifically, we'll be in the Seattle area, so extra points for local stores but internet sites are good too. We aren't quite at the Williams and Sonoma level, but we do prefer less things of higher quality. Furniture-wise, we are a strange mix between clean lines and cool vintage.

Where should we shop? What cool kitchen items can we not live without??? Brands/models would be helpful! Where in Seattle can we get cool furnishings for the kids' rooms (that is the incentive for the 5 year old to move!)?

Thanks in advance!!
posted by lil' ears to Shopping (18 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
The University Village mall has a huge Crate and Barrel, Room and Board, Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Kids, and Land of Nod (kid furniture and stuff). There is also one of those organizing stores that sells tons of cool shelves, hampers, trash cans, etc.

IKEA also has a ton of kid furniture stuff and will be cheaper, for the most part.
posted by k8t at 6:49 PM on October 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

This is what IKEA is for.
posted by Rock Steady at 6:50 PM on October 15, 2012 [9 favorites]

I would rather go to the dentist than shopping but ( I hate to say it ) I have been won over by IKEA for design, simplicity, value and selection. Welcome to the main land.
posted by rmhsinc at 6:50 PM on October 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

I would figure that Target is the canonical "buy all the things" stores.
posted by madcaptenor at 6:52 PM on October 15, 2012

Ikea does not have (generally) good quality, so if you're shopping for things that you plan on replacing again in a few years, they're okay. If you'd rather invest in furniture to have for the next 20 years, don't bother.

Assuming they have second-hand furniture stores in Seattle, like they do here in Philly area, they normally have a good selection of good quality furniture for a really good price.
posted by DoubleLune at 7:09 PM on October 15, 2012

Yeah Ikea is good for this. I moved cross country with nothing and went there for all the basics the day I moved into my new place. Their stuff is not quite "nice", but if you have nothing and need a mattress to sleep on, somewhere to sit, and a pot to cook in it'll do until you do find nice things. My strategy was to just get stuff that would work, and then spend time at second-hand furniture stores and slowly replace everything with stuff I actually did want when I found the right thing.
posted by bradbane at 7:20 PM on October 15, 2012 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Ikea does have hits and misses, but there are some gems. I have some Ikea Gynnsam knives, and some Wusthof knives. I always reach for the Gynnsam for the serious chops Their mattresses and comforters are pretty good, but not so much for bed linen (super low thread count) and towels that shred easily.

For furniture (online), try Home Decorators for a good selection spanning different price ranges. Mostly-clothing stores often have some decent furniture and decor pieces at reasonable prices - from LL Bean to Urban Outfitters.

If you're handy or crafty, there's always Craigslist and Freecycle to spruce up some pre-owned furniture (I would avoid buying used cushiony things like sofas though).
posted by raztaj at 7:20 PM on October 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

For kitchen things & toys, Amazon is probably the easiest and cheapest option. Get Prime, it's worth it if you're buying a lot.
posted by insectosaurus at 7:34 PM on October 15, 2012 [2 favorites]

Best answer: If you want affordable, I prefer Fred Meyer's over Walmart. Also, there are many large Freddie's in the city, whereas you have to go north to Lynnwood or south to Federal Way to get to a Walmart.

I second University Village as a nice place. They have a kitchen store there that is, IMO, more expensive than Williams and Sonoma. But you can definitely get good ideas.

West Elm is better than IKEA (again, IMO) and there is one downtown-ish near the Denny triangle. It has limited stock, but you may be able to order to get it delivered there. And anyway, you get to see the items in person.

If you really like vintage/antique stuff, there are stores scattered all over Seattle, and a whole street of them up in Snohomish if you want to drive that far.

Bed Bath and Beyond, Pottery Barn, West Elm, Crate and Barrel, Lowe's, and Home Depot (and others) will all give you new mover coupons a few weeks after you change addresses with the post office. It's usually good for the whole purchase. I bought all my window treatments from BB&B using that coupon.

Of course, if you didn't know already, Kent is the new-furniture district (including IKEA). But they also have nicer places like Dania. (And La-Z-Boy.) But those stores are either cheap-quality or too-expensive.

Lastly, Seattle has a teeming Craigslist culture. Use at your own risk, as of course it takes longer. But you can get really good deals on Craigslist.
posted by ethidda at 7:43 PM on October 15, 2012

I don't live in Seattle, but I did move from the UK to USA with just books, clothes and a few things. I also tend towards clean, modern looks. I think IKEA is a great place to start (especially for kids furniture), and has some great stuff at reasonable quality. They also have some cheap crap, but a little inspection is all that's needed to sort the wheat from the chaff.

In terms of kitchenware, I think you can't beat their crockery, cutlery and glassware (except maybe at a restaurant supply store). Their pots and pans are dreadful though. For furniture, you have to inspect the item carefully to see what its made of. I have bought some fantastic shelving, couches and beds from IKEA, that last and last. They were made mainly of actual wood. Some of the particleboard stuff is total crap though, so just have a look and see what you are getting and how sturdy it is (similarly, if you ever do a kitchen remodel their kitchen cabinets are awesome, but appliances are cheap crap). I like their duvets, but not their pillows, I like their duvet covers but not their towels and sheets. I had an IKEA mattress that was great, and IMHO is of comparable quality to the stuff Sealy, Serta et al are selling now, but cheaper than them.
posted by Joh at 8:03 PM on October 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

A restaurant supply should have sturdy cookware etc., at reasonable prices. Not all of them sell to the public, so it's best to call ahead and check.
posted by annsunny at 8:20 PM on October 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

Dont neglect going to to goodwill, st vincent de paul or just plain craigslist first. It is hit or miss but you often get commodity stuff really, really cheap and sometimes of surprising good quality. I woundn't buy anything soft that could harbor bugs or such but hard stuff like tables, cookware, utensils, chairs and such are usually available and often cool vintage. I would second Fred meyers for all the stuff you could buy at wal mart, usually better quality at not much more and costco/sams club is really good for home furnishing but not usually a wide selection. I don't care for particle board furniture but it is cheap and if you are going to be moving around a lot why not?
posted by bartonlong at 9:02 PM on October 15, 2012

posted by bardic at 10:19 PM on October 15, 2012

Best answer: I am also a quality-over-quantity person. Last time I did a move like yours, I used the Cook's Illustrated equipment reviews (subscription required) to source all my kitchen equipment, and then bought it all on Amazon. I also bought all my ordinary household basics there -- like, the clothes hamper, trash bin, bathmat, towel racks, handheld vacuum, cleaning supplies, etc. Pretty much everything except furniture and personal items.

I did this *after* doing a ton of research. I made a spreadsheet with 30 specific items I knew I'd need, and researched what they cost at six stores (Amazon, Target, Walmart, Bed Bath & Beyond, and I forget the others). I was amazed that 90-95% of the time, Amazon was cheapest. So I ended up just buying everything there. I wasn't in a rush, which meant I could use the free shipping option, and the whole thing was ridiculously easy.

(Sometimes Amazon is wildly over-priced though -- like, $12 for body wash over-priced. So you can't be totally on autopilot. And there is also this article, which was information I didn't know at the time.)

For furniture, Room and Board is not cheap, and some people find it too minimalist for their taste. But the quality is great, and they have regular sales. Their Pratt tables topped in quartz or granite are pretty much impossible to damage, although they may be dangerous for kids.
posted by Susan PG at 11:41 PM on October 15, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks for the ideas. We are looking forward to IKEA (mostly for the kids furniture) and good to know about the knives, raztaj! And thanks for the new mover coupons hint, ethidda...that will really help.

I guess big boxstores are the way to go, but if any one knows of other interesting specialty stores, please let me know. Also, if anyone has experience with things like or other sites...

....oooh, Susan PG, I wish I was as organized as you were! Room and Board is looking good, on cursory look. Thanks!
posted by lil' ears at 12:00 AM on October 16, 2012

A few people have mentioned thrift stores, but I have not had any luck finding decent furniture in thrift stores in Seattle.

Another place to check out is World Market. Decent furniture and household items.
posted by lunasol at 6:03 AM on October 16, 2012 [2 favorites]

I also think IKEA is strong for dishes and probably also for cutlery.

If I were starting from scratch, I'd probably focus on Crate & Barrel and Room & Board for furniture, especially if I wanted to touch it first.

I have found Overstock good for bedding and slipcovers and I know others who like it for clothes. I'm in Canada, so shipping it is prohibitive.

Another option is the "deal" sites like Joss and Main, or its parent company, Wayfair

Good luck
posted by Heart_on_Sleeve at 10:47 AM on October 16, 2012

Response by poster: Follow up: We are finally settled in after a few months, and my first log in to AskMe reminded me I should do a follow up and let you know good places we found.

First and foremost, we found a place in Fremont called Ten22home which is an awesome antique store and we've bought some amazing mid-century pieces there.

We love Room and Board (thanks again Susan PG). We actually bought a bed there, but then found a local woodworker who could make a similar (but sturdier) version for a little bit less. We are waiting on delivery, so we'll see how the quality is. If anyone is later interested in who this was or how it turned out, let me know.

So while our kids' rooms look like ads for IKEA (which they LOVE), we have found some super cool stuff around town, and particularly at Ten22.

Thanks for all your help!
posted by lil' ears at 10:51 AM on February 13, 2013

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