From paying a lower price for higher quality furniture to reducing your ecological footprint, purchasing used furniture has some serious advantages.
In this post, we highlight the main benefits of buying used furniture and offer tips and tricks for what to look for when you’re in the market for used furniture.
The Benefits of buying used furniture
Buying used furniture is often more cost effective, sustainable, and ethical than purchasing brand new items. Learn more about the benefits below.
More cost effective
Even compared against fast furniture, which can run ridiculously cheap, when you purchase a used furniture item you will likely spend less money. Oftentimes used furniture has entered the marketplace because someone just wants it out of their home! Individuals will generally price the item to sell. Plus, you’ll have negotiating power.
Supports your local economy
When you buy from a thrift store or individual that lives in your neighborhood, you are directly supporting your local economy. By making a local purchase you are putting money directly back into your community, and a strong local economy means a healthier, more vibrant community.
Better bang for your buck
In general cheap furniture is well, cheap. It’s not made well and won’t last very long. However, high quality new furniture can be unaffordable. When shopping for used furniture, you can often find reasonably priced, high quality items. Although it may be someone’s trash, it can truly be your treasure.
The furniture industry is one of the least sustainable, most pollutive industries on the planet. Each year Americans discard more than 12 million tons of furniture and furnishings, 80 percent of which end up in the landfill. Additionally, producing new items means harvesting and creating new materials, such as wood and plastic. Purchasing new furniture directly contributes to the fossil fuel industry and to deforestation. If you purchase a used item, new materials need not be generated.
Defends human rights
It’s probably pretty clear by now that cheap furniture actually comes at a pretty high price. Not only is it often low quality furniture that doesn’t last long and which wreaks havoc on the environment, but cheap furniture also comes at a human rights cost. Cheap furniture means cheap labor. Furniture production can involve unfair wages or even child or forced labor. You can avoid supporting human rights violations, by purchasing a used item.
Tips for buying used furniture
There are many places where you can buy used furniture. You can often find high quality used furniture at yard sales, estate sales, or online, such as through the app Offerup or Facebook marketplace.
Before making a purchase, consider the tips below. You can also download this helpful used furniture buying checklist to make sure you cover all of your bases.
- Avoid items that smell
- Always check items for bed bugs
- If you know the make and model, check that the item hasn’t been recalled
- Make sure the item is as pictured or described
- Test it out by opening drawers, sitting in it, or putting some weight on the item
- Bring a measuring tape
- Consider how you’ll use the item, maybe you can restore or even upcycle it
Check out the graphic below from Apartment Guide, which highlights the benefits of buying used furniture.