How to Help Customers Properly Dispose of Furniture
That couch is really old. And really big. It’s got to go … but how? Furniture owners are sometimes faced with disposal dilemmas. This is especially problematic when pieces are run-down, out of style or cumbersome. Thankfully, there are actually quite a few furniture removal options. Some even turn a profit, but all meet the most basic requirement: Get it out of the way! Make Some Money If your customer’s furniture is in decent condition, it’s possible for them to make a few bucks — maybe even a few more if a piece is really high-end. Antique, unique, brand name and flawless furniture sells best. It’s a good idea not to get your hopes up too high, though. Most furniture sellers don’t make a killing, because the market for used furniture is declining. Older-style brown furniture is especially unpopular. Generic furnishings bring the most on websites like Craigslist. Posting a good photo is a must. If an owner just wants the item to disappear, a low price helps enormously. In some areas, an old-school newspaper ad is useful, especially when the announcement is also posted online. With a significant number of items to sell, a garage sale quickly clears out numerous unwanted items and brings in a little money. Advertising the sale is critical: Online, in the newspaper and with large posters. Some areas have group rummage sales or flea markets that let owners drop off a couple of items and hope for the best. It’s possible to have successful furniture sales simply through word-of-mouth or word-of-social-media. People invite Facebook and other friends over to sort through unwanted items. It’s a combination casual get-together and indoor sale. Consignment shops take in really nice pieces of furniture. If and when they sell, owners get paid. Antique dealers might want vintage furnishings in excellent condition. Make Someone Happy Sometimes money isn’t a priority, but getting rid of furniture is. Freecycle is a widespread organization offering online forums so items can find new homes. There are over 5,000 local groups, and the service is free. Giveaway parties are another option. This is like a Facebook sale, but the furniture owner just hands out unwanted furniture to friends in a fun social setting. Sometimes, family members have soft spots for their relatives’ items. Or they have a real need: Think college students furnishing their first apartment. Recipients might be so grateful they’ll even arrange transport. And speaking of those college kids: A flyer tacked up near a college that advertises furniture often gets a bite. Items should be low-cost or free. The kicker: The students do the moving. Make a Difference Donating used furniture helps out others and sometimes provides tax deductions. There are many possibilities: Churches, local theater groups, senior centers and regional and national charities such as Goodwill and the Salvation Army. It’s helpful to do a little homework, first. Some charities send trucks to pickup donations. This is convenient and helpful, because it’s tough to get large pieces to an organization’s location. Commuting long distances can cause spikes in blood pressure, and that stress only increases if there’s a sofa strapped to the roof of a car traveling 65 mph down the interstate. Make It New If a piece of furniture is unwanted only because it’s out-of-date or unattractive, it’s possible to breathe new life into it. Do-it-yourselfers refinish or paint wood furniture, giving it a more modern look. Reupholstering adds fresh fabric and cushier cushioning. For covered furniture, this option is often more affordable than buying new. If a piece of furniture can’t be resuscitated, maybe it can be reincarnated. Repurposing removes an undesired item while filling a gap. For example, small end tables topped with cushions become stools . An unneeded dresser finds new life as a kitchen island. A heavy old secretary transforms into a linen cabinet. Make It to the Curb Putting unwanted furniture at the curb with a “Free” sign induces takers. Some municipal trash collectors take almost anything, even if it doesn’t fit into the garbage bin. Just keep in mind there may be a fee involved. It’s important, though, to learn the local pickup rules, since breaking them can lead to fines. Even if refuse trucks won’t pick up extra-large furniture, dumps or recycling centers sometimes allow owners to drop pieces off. Make a Deal Sometimes, furniture dealers take old furniture off their customers’ hands when they make a purchase. When the new piece is delivered, the old piece is whisked away. Done and done. If a buyer is very lucky, the switch is handled like a car deal. The old item has a little trade-in value, which earns credit toward new furniture. Make a Payment In extreme cases, furniture is unsalvageable and unwanted by everyone (even refuse collectors). There’s no way to get it to the local dump. It’s time to call in the specialists. A junk removal service hauls away furniture for a fee. Therefore, it’s often the last resort — but it may just save the day. Alternatives for getting rid of furniture run the gamut from making a tidy sum on antiques to paying a company to drag items away. There are so many possibilities that a dump should be at the very bottom of the list. Best-case scenario: One wooden table takes 13 years to decompose in a landfill. If the furniture has plastic components, they’ll be sitting around for hundreds and hundreds of years: An undignified — and eco-unfriendly — ending.