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Furniture Rehoming, Recycling, and Disposal: A Tiered Approach to Dealing with Unwanted Furniture

With new years come new resolutions, and many people look to declutter or get rid of extra furniture. The tempting thing to do, is to stick it on the curb, but this post aims to provide alternatives. Here is a quick tiered guide to help you navigate excess furniture.

It’s Like New. Now What?

This first tier gives you space to work with. The furniture in this tier has little to no damage or use. Selling “like new” furniture is a great way to keep it off the curb and make a quick buck. You can also donate “like new” furniture. (You will find more information about donations in the next section.) When selling, you can use whatever platform you prefer, but if you are new to this and would like a place to start, try Facebook marketplace or Nextdoor marketplace.

Facebook Marketplace can be found here. You will need to make an account or already have one to sell items. Don’t worry, making an account for these websites takes about five minutes. Nextdoor can be found here. Again, you will need to make or have an existing account to offer your furniture. If you prefer another site, use what you are comfortable with.

A quick word about safety when selling items online: Buyers will likely need to come to your home to pick up the furniture. Proceed with caution whenever and wherever personal information is involved, giving out only what is absolutely necessary. It is also a good idea to have someone you trust with you when the buyer comes to your house. For more information on selling your furniture online, including safety tips, click here.

It's Pretty Good Shape. Now What?

With a little more wear and tear on your furniture, this tier focuses on donating furniture, giving it away to family or friends, or using a helpful site like FreeCycle. Donation is a wonderful way to rehome unwanted furniture. After all, “another person’s trash is another person’s treasure.”

Here are a few places to donate in Pittsburgh:

  • Construction Junction is a great spot. You’ll find more information about their accepted items and other donation information here.

  • City Mission is in Washington, Pa. They have a wonderful set up, and you’ll find more information about donating here.

  • Habitat for Humanity Greater Pittsburgh Restore is in Swissvale. This is another great option, and you’ll find more information about HFH here.

If you’re looking for more options, click here for a complete list of over twenty places accepting donations in Pittsburgh and the surrounding area.

It's Kinda Rough. Now What?

Ask yourself two questions: One, can you repair the piece so you can boost it to the next tier, “pretty good shape”? Two, can you repurpose it and use it for something else?

Let’s explore the first question. Repairing furniture can lead to more options. With it repaired, you can now try avenues like donations or giving it away on places like FreeCycle. You may even be able to sell it, depending on how well you’ve done on the repair job.

It’s important to remember that the goal is to prevent items from ending up in the landfill. However you are able to do that is a win. If you can’t repair the furniture, that’s okay. You can still break it down and recycle the parts, or you can try and repurpose it and continue using it in another form around the house. If you’d like help with ideas for repurposed furniture, Pinterest is a great place for inspiration.

It's Unusable. Now What?

Here, you’ll most likely have furniture that has been repaired before and is no longer able to support further repairs, or furniture that has been exposed to something like mold or hazardous chemicals. These pieces of furniture can’t be sold or donated, but there are still parts that can be reused or recycled. Reusing sturdy parts of furniture for creative projects you’ve found on Pinterest (see above) can extend the life of whole pieces. Recycling parts, though, is another option. While parts like upholstered fabrics and foams may not be recycled easily, metal can be quick and easy to recycle. Some towns have individuals who drive up and down the streets on garbage day, looking for scrap metal treasures. It may be possible to ask around and even get a name and contact info for these individuals to arrange a pickup. If not, here are three options for metal recycling in Pittsburgh:

Untreated wood (that hasn’t been painted or stained) is often found in furniture, and that can be recycled, too. Here is a helpful website giving more information about wood recycling in Pittsburgh. You can also find wood recycling here.

Furniture rehoming, recycling, and disposal can be confusing and overwhelming. Hopefully, this post has given you enough information to at least get started.

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