July 28, 2009
Settling In In Ann Arbor
So you're here, you've found that dream(ish) apartment but...it's kinda empty. How's a grad student to outfit their digs and get the stuff they need in a new city?
First and foremost, know that Ann Arbor is rife with second-hand marketplaces, way too many to name here. That initial shopping trip (the one where you find the dishes, furniture and other things you weren't able to fit into your hatchback and drag across the country) can cost a bit if you try to buy everything brand new. However, with a little resourcefulness you can lower your moving costs through smart second-hand shopping. Here are a few resources:
Craigslist - Of course. It's a win/win, right? You want things, people want to get rid of things, everyone's happy (given the price is right)! The University marketplace website has recently gone the way of the dodo due to the power of Craigslist, so take advantage of this resource and respond to an ad (or place one yourself).
The ReUse Center - Great for general housing goods, furniture, and the occasional bicycle. Some items need a little care, but they usually put a pretty fair price on things.
Salvation Army - Ann Arbor has a huge Salvation Army center just south of campus, with a LOT of kitchen wares and furniture.
The Kiwanis Sale (Saturdays Only) - Open Saturday mornings (9am-noon) but full of great stuff! This resale center is a popular Ann Arbor scrounging spot for furniture, electronics, and whatever else you're really hoping to find somewhere for cheap.
Value World - Value World is a great resource for cheap housewares, clothing (or Halloween costume materials). They usually don't sell furniture, but I've found a few cheap kitchen appliances (blenders, crock pots and other things you may want as a self-sufficient grad student who cooks for his or herself.
UofM Property Disposition - Where does old UofM property go when it's been replaced by newer, sleeker editions? To property dispo, where the general public can grab it up at a reduced price. Worth a try if you're looking for home office gear, or even a computer or printer.
If you get here with enough time to explore, I recommend taking a day to ride around on the city bus, see what stops are closest to you and where those routes will take you-specifically, if there's anything useful along the way. Find out where the local post-office and public library branches are, also.
Also, find out where the grocery stores are. If you plan on cooking, and like things like fresh produce and meals with more than two ingredients, it helps to know what places are close, and what they sell. Ann Arbor is a town that very much caters to food enthusiasts, so it has a number of specialty markets and places with varying levels of quality and price. Don't get stuck shopping at an overpriced corner store if you don't want to/have to.
Kroger, Meijer, Busch's, etc. - Large chains that usually sell not only a LOT of different foods but household goods as well.
Arbor Farms, Whole Foods, Plum Market - Catering to those who are willing to shell out a few extra clams for a specialty item, high-quality produce/meats and a wide variety of organic or vegan options. Good for a special dinner, but sometimes out of fiscal reach for poor grad students.
Trader Joe's, People's Food Co-op, local farmer's markets, etc. - Still offer great organic and locally-grown options, but at a price more in line with shallower pockets.
Once again, there are way too many options to cover them all, but here are some rough categories to help you figure out which businesses offer what. For some people, a bus to the local Meijer will take care of some of their needs, but if you're concerned with finding specific foods (such as organic, vegan, or locally-produced options), it can help to know what your options are.
Posted by messelti at July 28, 2009 02:36 PM