Calling your trash removal company and requesting a bulk pick-up for your furniture is the last thing you want to do. Or roll the dice on the public sanitation folks hauling your bulky stuff away. First, you may have to pay a fee. Seriously? Who wants to pay to get rid of something they don’t want anymore? Not to mention, millions of tons of furniture end up in landfills every single year. Do you know how long it sits there? Well, a simple pair of leather shoes takes 40 years to decompose, and if those shoes have rubber soles that number doubles. So, yeah, your leather sofa will be sitting there for your children and grandchildren to deal with. You don’t want to throw it away, but keeping it isn’t an option, so how do you get rid of old furniture? Before you make a move, read this post!
Clean Your Furniture Without Damaging It
First, the furniture needs to be cleaned, even if you are giving it away for free. Is there a law somewhere that mandates it? Nope! It’s just a little common courtesy. Just because someone may be getting it for free does not mean they want to flip the cushion of your sofa and find a hairball your cat left a week ago, but you turned the cushion over instead of cleaning it up. Vacuum off pet hair, and use the attachment on a carpet cleaner to freshen it up. Use furniture polish on tables and entertainment centers, and tighten loose screws.
If you have pieces that are really stained, scratched, or wobbly, or if the coffee table is practically standing on three legs because the dog needed something to chew on, these items will need to go somewhere special. Some nonprofits take furniture that has seen better days, or a person may still want it fixed up. Just make sure you disclose the blemishes or missing pieces.
Non-Profits Want Your Unwanted Furniture
If you ask friends and family were to get rid of old furniture, you will likely have at least a few people who will recommend their favorite nonprofit. It doesn’t matter where you live, you probably at least have The Salvation Army or Goodwill near you, but these are not your only options.
Use a search engine or Internet directory to find homeless shelters or senior centers in your area. Get in touch with a charity that helps victims of domestic violence start a new life. Some nonprofits provide furniture and other household goods to victims of fire and natural disasters.
If you have some of those “special” pieces that are looking pretty rough, a local animal rescue might love to take them. Many have “rooms” where the dogs can hang out with volunteers to soak up attention. The dogs certainly won’t mind some scratches and stains. Here are a few resources you might also find helpful.
The National Furniture Bank Association (NFBA) – This organization provides furniture to roughly 100,000 struggling families in the United States and Canada annually. The NFBA website can inform you of local donation centers, many of which will happily pick items up.
Donation Town – There are hundreds of charities listed on Donation Town. Each listing tells you what type of furniture the charity takes and how to schedule a pickup.
Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) – Items donated to this charity are sold to fund programs for veterans. VVA will schedule a pick-up for you.
The Salvation Army – This is one of the most popular options because there are so many locations across the country. Most donations are sold in the resale stores, but The Salvation Army does use some furniture in its homeless shelters.
Goodwill – This charity sells donated furniture to fund its many programs for unemployed and low-income heads of households. The organization helps people find employment, offers temporary assistance to families in dire need, and provides work training assistance.
The United Way – The easiest way to find a local homeless shelter is by using the United Way directory.
On a side note, it should be mentioned that you can request a receipt for your donated goods. Charities use market value and conditions to determine their worth. Hold onto the receipt, and you can claim that donation when you file your taxes. This means more money for you; less for your least favorite uncle!
Send Your Old Furniture (Off) Broadway
If you have a community theater group by you, this is the perfect place to donate furniture that members can use for props in productions. High schools, colleges, improv schools, etc. are all great options, too. They will often just buy or make furniture covers and spray paint old scratched-up tables. Even people in the first row are not likely to notice stains or scratches on anything. In some cases, these donations are also tax-deductible.
Turn Furniture Into Cash; Or Pay It Forward
There is a ton of sites online that allow you to sell or donate, or both. Just because you have a new favorite chair does not mean you can’t make a couple of bucks off your old one. Of course, donating does always leave you with a warm fuzzy feeling, though. Check out these options:
Freecycle – More than 7 million members make up The Freecycle Network. Freecycle’s focus is to keep things out of landfills. You can join for free, and then you post whatever you want to give away. Other browsers see you have something they need and arrange a pickup.
FreeSharing Network – This international recycling network is very similar to Freecycle, but not nearly as big. That being said, it was founded in 2005, and there are already more than 400,000 members, so it is growing quite quickly.
1-800-GOT-JUNK – Since 1989, 1-800-GOT-JUNK has prevented more than 1.5 billion pounds of “stuff” from ending up in landfills. You call and make an appointment, and someone will come to get your furniture and make sure it gets donated, recycled, or disposed of properly. If you want to know how to get rid of furniture quickly, this may be your answer. In many cases, same-day service is available.
Yerdle – Be warned, Yerdle can be a little addicting. You take a picture of what you have and you earn Yerdle Reuse Dollars when you give that item away. You can then spend the dollars on something you want from the Yerdle Store. Yerdle can arrange a meeting with an interested local party. Also, although not furniture-related, if you have clothing or odds-and-ends weighing less than 10 pounds that you want to list, Yerdle will send you a prepaid UPS shipping label to mail to the interested party.
Nextdoor – This is a private social networking platform that connects you with people in your specific area. There are more than 62,000 neighborhoods active on Nextdoor. Join the platform, and let folks know what you have to offer.
Upcycling Furniture Is Fun!
Instead of asking how to get rid of old furniture, perhaps you should be looking for ways to upcycle it. Upcycling is using something you have to make something else. So, you are recycling on your own. You just need to get a little creative. For example, the cushion of your old favorite chair could be covered with a small blanket and used as a dog bed. Then, you could have a piece of wood cut to put where the cushion once went, and you have a cool new table that looks like a chair. An old headboard can be turned into a bench, too. You may have things that can just be refurbished, as well. New paint, fabric, knobs, stain, etc. can transform something old into a new masterpiece.
There is never a reason we should see abandoned furniture on the side of the road! Give your old furniture new life by using the list of options above. And when the time comes to move, and you’re wondering what comes first, the floors or the walls, keep in mind that no matter which you choose, that old furniture has to be removed. Just don’t drag it on your new or old lawn!