Anyone can tell you Japan is expensive. In an earlier post, we showed you how to skip some of the expensive realtor fees when renting an apartment in Japan. However, the realtor fee isn’t necessarily the most expensive thing about owning an apartment, furnishing it is. Between pots, pans, beds, cabinets, tables, and storage containers in the tiny closet, making your apartment “livable” can cost a small fortune. This is where Off House comes in.

Photo by Grace Buchele Mineta

So far, we’ve taught you Mode-Off, Hard-Off, and how to sell something at an Off chain stores. So naturally, it is time for the fourth installment: Off-House.

Off-House is, like the name suggests, one of the Off chain stores that specializes in used home appliances. This can be anything from clothes to backpacks to dishes to takoyaki makers. Off Home carries a pretty wide variety of products with prices arbitrarily decided based on condition of the item, whether it has a box, and how “cool” it looks. Most of the smaller item, such as an electric kettle, frying skittle, electric fan, ice pitcher, or cooking supplies cost 525yen – 700yen.

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Some of the bigger items, such as a plastic drawer, a lava lamp, a small rug, a heater, or an elephant shaped dish holder cost 700yen – 1000yen. It is rare to find something that costs more than 2000yen, regardless of quality.

Photo by Grace Buchele Mineta

As I mentioned before, what Off-House carries really depends on the location. I’ve found brand bags such as Chanel, Louie Vuitton, and Marc Jacobs for a fraction of their price (without any desire to buy them – as a Cheapo at heart, a bag is just a bag). I’ve found baby strollers, baby clothes, summer yukatas, business suits, snow-boots, collectible action figures, good china dishes, and a giant One Piece themed comforter with Luffy’s head in the center of the spread.

A trip to Off-House doesn’t have to just be a trip to Off-home; to save space and money, more than one of the “Off” chain stores are housed in the same building. This Off-House was paired with Hard-Off (selling used electronics and instruments). Other Off chains to check out are Hobby-Off (cheap figurines/stuffed animals and collectible cards), Garage-Off (large appliances that would go in your garage), Book-Off (cheap, used books), and Mode-Off (cheap clothing). One thing they all have in common is harsh factory lights, cheap prices, and mountains of stuff to dig through.

Photo by Grace Buchele Mineta

I never go to Off-House with a shopping list; instead I like to go when I have free time, a couple good friends, and a strict 2,000yen budget. I’ve found all sorts of fun treasures.

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