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Students – take home hidden treasures at the TMU free store

From vintage bar stools to cool electronics, gently used goods are available free of cost for students
August 25, 2023
Three students gathered around a table with secondhand items.

Save money and reduce your environmental impact! Come by the Free Store and take home gently used items like office supplies, electronics, home decor, kitchen supplies, books and more, all for free!

TMU’s free store pop-up is back with another collection of gently-used items looking for a new home. If you’re a fan of saving money (and our planet), this is a chance for students to stock up on essential and non-essential items, completely free of charge.

From Tuesday, Aug. 29 to Thursday, Sept. 7, students are invited to drop by the free store and discover unique treasures like a turquoise mini fridge, some vintage bar stools, a striking multi-coloured organizer, some nostalgic board games and a series of hand-painted dog portraits! 

The Free Store event during Orientation Week 2022 offered students a chance to pick up household items, clothing and more, all for free.

First-year medical physics student Brienna Solas and former Sustainability Office ambassador attended two Free Store Pop-up events over the past year where she snatched up a very practical plastic drawer organizer for her stationery items, a grab-and-go utensil travel case containing a fork, knife and spoon for student commute life and the perfect picture frame.

“I had a poster at home that I didn't want to put a hole in because it was very valuable,” says Solas. “I took home this big frame I found at the Free Store and it was exactly the right size. It saved me a lot of money.”

A cultural shift

The Free Store came out of TMU’s annual donation drive, Eco-Move Out, which was organized each year by the Sustainability Office in collaboration with Housing and Residence Life during student move-outs.

“Initially, the items collected during Eco-Move Out were directed towards external charities. But we soon realized that an alternative approach would be more effective – redirecting these items back to the student community,” said Sharmilla Raj, sustainability manager.

Over the last year, the free store has made a big impact. 4,161 students have visited the free store and 5,635 items have been rehomed. This has resulted in almost 5,000 lbs of items diverted from landfills. The total value of free items picked up by students so far is estimated to be around $50,000.

Signage for the pop-up reads ‘Free Store’.

Many international students have taken advantage of the Free Store after having just arrived in the city and shared with organizers how the useful finds helped them get set up.

The free store is bringing about a culture shift at TMU as more students and staff work together to help reduce carbon emissions associated with the production and transportation of new goods. At the same time, it’s also supporting the equitable distribution of resources within our campus community and easing the financial burden that so many students face.

“We've observed students who selected items from the initial Free Store and then, upon leaving the residence, donated those items back this year, allowing other students to enjoy them. This practice truly shows the development of a circular sharing culture at TMU,” said Raj.

With donations continuing to pour in, you don’t want to miss out on discovering new treasures! Come be part of the movement to disrupt throwaway culture and contribute to the circular economy.

The TMU Free Store pop-up runs from Tuesday, August 29 to Thursday, September 7, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at VIC 403 (excluding weekends).

Make a donation:

To make donations, drop off gently used items at the donation bin located in VIC 403 or by VIC-800. For  large or fragile items please contact the Sustainability Office directly at

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