And now, a quiz. Does your apartment décor rely heavily on gaping blank wall spaces? Do you believe a row of beanbag chairs lined up against a wall is a reasonable facsimile of a couch? Are you aware that none of the folding chairs around your kitchen table match? If you answered "yes" to any of the above, you're poor -- or close to it. But that's OK. There's no shame in poverty, so long as you can hide it. And this is where St. Vincent de Paul's comes in. This church-run thrift store stocks all the home furnishings a Dickensian urchin could want. Used sofas? They have several rooms stuffed solid with them. Love seats? Ditto. Coffee tables? End tables? TV stands? Standing lamps? There's not floor space enough to display them all. Remember, all the goods are donated, so don't let a scratched surface or ripped lining discourage you. They're also very chea economical. We picked up a very comfy couch and a matching (well, we think it matches) glass-topped coffee table for $100. And all sorts of knickknacks are lying around: candlesticks, paintings, paperweights, lava lamps, gifts -- even appliances. We bought a used toaster-oven for $8, and it works great. The one thing we haven't found yet is a velvet Elvis, but we haven't given up hope.

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