The conundrum of dealing with old furniture

JoHome & Garden, Lifestyle

Rocking chair - keeping old furniture

Last year I went about the huge task that was clearing out my childhood home. Along with boxes packed full of childhood memories, toys and games, one task really stood out as a tricky one to solve: what to do with the furniture. Most of it was in really good condition, even the older pieces, and I’m not someone who takes easily to throwing things away if they can be saved. The problem was, unwanted furniture is also really tricky to keep hold of. It doesn’t exactly fit into a corner of the living room whilst waiting to be sorted like a box of books.

Over the past few months I have realised that I am far from alone in this furniture related dilemma. Just what should you do with it?

I discovered that there are a few different solutions. Here, I am sharing the four main things you can do with your old furniture. 

Writing desk
Photo by Charlotte May from Pexels

Scrap it

If furniture is damaged and unlikely to be of much use to anyone, as sad as it seems you may as well scrap it. Ideally, you should try to dispose of it in an eco-friendly way in which it will be recycled. If the furniture will fit in your car, you could consider taking it to your local recycling centre yourself. Alternatively, you may be able to ask your local council to collect it for free. If those options don’t suit, you could even look up house clearance companies which might be able to help move the larger pieces to wooden or metal recycling for you.

If you’ve got lots of stuff to get rid of, a better option might be to hire a skip. There are companies such as Sheridan Skips that will let you hire a skip for a few hours to a few days, removing it for you and disposing of your rubbish in an eco-friendly way. This is a lot more convenient than having to lug lots of items to a local recycling centre yourself, and might be more cost effective than hiring alternative help.

Sell it

If your furniture is still in pretty good condition, you could try to sell it. There are so many websites and apps that you can list used furniture on. Gumtree, Facebook Marketplace and Shpock are popular options for selling locally. 

There may also be local second-hand shops that you can sell your furniture to. Some of these stores may even be willing to pick up the furniture from your address. Car boots sales and yard or garage sales are another option for smaller pieces.

Furniture needs to be cleaned before you sell it and you need to be absolutely transparent about the condition though. When selling online, make sure to take good quality photos from different angles – buyers are more likely to trust you if you provide clear pictures. If there is any damage at all, or any marks, make sure that you mention these in the listing.

Donate it

Giving away furniture for free is another solution. This is ideal for furniture that’s not in great condition but still usable. 

If you want to go down this route, you could use online local selling sites (just be prepared for a flood of messages!). Alternatively, you could look into local charities such as the Salvation Army, Furniture Bank and Greendrop that accept donated furniture (some may be prepared to pick the furniture up too). We have used the British Heart Foundation previously as well.

Don’t forget your friends and family when donating items either. If younger relatives are just moving out for the first time, or someone is moving to a different house, they may welcome free furniture. Just don’t try to offload all your stuff onto them!

Repurpose it

Could your old furniture be creatively re-used for another purpose? This post at WooHome lists a few examples of great ways in which people have repurposed furniture. Wooden furniture is particularly versatile. You can break it down and turn it into shelves, wooden supports for outdoor plants, or create a piece that you are missing from something you have two of (a bed into a chair, or a cupboard into a table, for example).

Old shelves turned into a shoe rack
When we moved house, we repurposed these shelves into a shoe rack with extra space for hats, gloves and scarves

Final thoughts

When I finished clearing the house last year, there was only one set of furniture which I wished, even looking back now, that I had tried harder to save from the recycling option. Otherwise I am content that it all went to the right place. It’s nice to think that it was moved on mindfully, with all the different options considered.

N.B. This is a collaborative post, meaning that I have had input from others. To find out more, please visit my disclosure page.