Starting again

I’ve spoken before about what we bought over with us from the UK. Pretty much just clothes and a few basic bits. Our first home here was an AirBnB, fully furnished and had everything we needed. It was nice but it never really felt like home. We had to find a place to live after the first 3 months and we were both determined to have an unfurnished apartment so we could make it our own and feel at home. Plus using someone else’s furniture with a baby and three dogs is a ticking time bomb!

Finding accommodation in Canmore when you have pets is not easy. Which is strange because it feels like everyone here has a dog. Also rent is high here. It’s a very affluent area and the housing and rental prices reflect that. Finally, we found a place. A brand new 2-bedroom 2-bathroom apartment on the outskirts of town on Palliser Trail. Perfect! And it was great. Everything was brand new and there was a lot of space. But, being unfurnished we had to pretty much start from scratch with everything. We had nothing, no furniture, no china, no cutlery, nothing.

We found the place a month before we had to move out of the B&B. This gave me 4 weeks to completely furnish an apartment for the 6 of us (3 peoples, 3 dogs)

If you find yourself in the same situation and without the benefit of a huge budget here are my recommendations in the Bow Valley to get yourself set up. I like to think of myself as pretty thrifty and love a bargain and have no issue with anything second hand. In fact, I pretty much insisted on it for everything for the apartment.

  • Facebook Market Place. – I’ve sung it’s praises before and I will do it again. Canmore is quite a transient town; people come and go a lot so there are regularly “Leaving town” sales. I picked up roughly 75% of our stuff from facebook. We managed to get a great fold out sofa, all our kitchen essentials, our bed frame, I could go on!
  • Crossway community thrift store – This is my favourite place in Canmore. It has EVERYTHING. There are two stores, a clothing and a home and it’s amazing. So much choice and quality items. There’s everything from decorative items, kitchen bits to full furniture sets, sofas and lighting. I strongly recommend everyone finds this store in town.
  • Go to Cochrane – Canmore is beautiful but if you are on a budget you need to hunt around. Calgary isn’t too far away but Cochrane is closer and there’s some great resources there. Another big thrift store (Cochrane home treasures) There’s a Dollarama, Walmart. All the bargains you need. I’m a big fan of shopping local and small but sometimes you just need these stores to give you a fighting chance.  

There were however a few things I insisted on getting new, so I will tell you where I got them from. If you’re still reading this, I’m assuming you’re a little like me so this advice might help.

  • Rockets crib – Walmart I’m sad to say. But you know what, it’s great, he loves it. And if you use top cashback you can buy it online and get a % back on your purchase – Just remember to use Walmart Canada.
  • Matress – Matresses are a minefield in any country I think! But I wanted us to have a good one so we didn’t have to replace it in 6 months’ time. We got ours from Matress Matress in Cochrane. If you go in to the shop they are keen for a haggle and offer a huge selection. We bought one of the ones that comes in box and it sprung out great. I’m happy to say it’s still great
  • Rugs –If you have kids or dogs (or both) I highly recommend buying rugs from www.ruggable.com You can actually put them in the washing machine and they come out great. They are two layers, a heavy velcro base and then a patterned top layer and you can get a load of different styles. I LOVE my rugs. They added much needed personality to our super modern apartment and also the peace of mind that Rocket could wipe his jammy hands on it and it wouldn’t be the end of the world. They deliver really fast and have excellent customer service and don’t break the bank!
  • Structube – I treated myself to kitchen chairs. They are great value and so many interesting styles. I have a real thing for chairs. I want them to be interesting and Structube fills that breif!

One thing I have found whilst living in the mountains is that home goods are not very easily accessible. Back in the UK you have everything on your doorstep weather you realize it or not. Even if you live in the middle of nowhere, most places will still deliver to you next day. If not, you are never more then an hour away from a great selection of shops. Here in Canmore it’s not like that, there are home stores in town but they are fairly pricey and only really for those special purchases (unless money is not a factor in your purchasing decisions) You do have to travel to find what you want. And if you are shopping online you are far more limited then the UK. Most things come from the US and then there is a chance you have to pay an import duty, so just be careful when you are online shopping. Here’s a couple of online stores I have found to be good if you are surfing for home wares.

All these stores are fine for the essentials, but those personal touches take a little more hunting.

Make the most of it, and enjoy setting up your new home. It’s an opportunity for a fresh start and you can find things you really like and will use.

It took a little adjusting for us, moving from a big three-bedroom house to an apartment. But now I love it! We live a simpler life. We have less “stuff”. And I know Rocket and the dogs are safe in a small place with good heating and no stairs! (sausage dogs and stairs don’t mix)

If you need any help with finding a place in Canmore feel free to get in touch. I can give you the contact I have. Alternatively join all the home finder groups on facebook. It’s a great way to find private rentals in town which may be far easier for you to get in to then a big company.

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