One of the biggest hassles and costs during moving is lugging your old furniture to your new place, especially when you live in NYC. In many cases, it might not even make sense to bring any large furniture because it might not even fit through the door of your new place! And unless you took exact measurements of your new apartment and furniture, even if you get it through the door, it might not physically fit in the apartment.
Even if space isn’t an issue, there might be other reasons you’d want to spring for new furniture. Maybe your sofa is on its last legs or perhaps your tastes have changed. Whatever your reason, you need to figure out what to do with your old furniture. If you’re in need of some ideas, the following list should help you out.
The convenient option for getting rid of unwanted furniture is just to throw it out. Many build-your-own furniture nowadays are made out of cheap materials and aren’t meant to last. In many cases, cheaply constructed furniture might not even survive a move. Of course, even with more expensive furniture, if you’ve had it for years it will experience wear and tear. If it looks like there’s no way to salvage your old furniture, it’s time to toss it.
However, dumping furniture in NYC isn’t exactly simple. For example, if you want to get rid of mattresses and box springs, you need to cover it with a mattress bag in order to prevent the spread of bed bugs. Many buildings also will have certain rules around throwing out large items. If you’re unsure of the rules, make sure you reach out to your building manager and ask about bulk trash disposal. They will not only tell you what you need to do but also give you the correct days you can throw large items out. You can also reach out to the NYC Sanitation department directly and set up an appointment to take up to 10 items per pickup day.
If you’re making a last minute move, you might not be able to follow the stipulated rules. In this case, you might have to reach out to a junk removal service. While this will cost you more money, it also comes with professional furniture removal so you don’t have to even carry your sofa or dresser downstairs.
If your furniture is in good condition but you don’t want to bring it with you for whatever reason, you can recoup some of the moving costs by selling it. Of course, how you price it should be based on the quality and condition of the furniture. You probably can’t get away with selling an Ikea desk for $500. However, you might be able to get away with selling a John-Richard sectional, you could probably price it at a couple thousand dollars.
Selling does take more time and effort than just tossing it. Before you put your furniture up for sale you should:
- Clean the pieces so they look presentable
- Do research on how much used furniture goes for in your area and then price accordingly
If you have space, you can organize a moving sale to sell whatever items you are not moving with you, including furniture. Garage and yard sales are great for earning a little bit of extra cash although it also means having a slew of strangers at your house. For best results, plan on having the moving sale on the first Saturday of the month on a sunny day. Don’t forget to publicize the event either by telling everyone you know.
There are a variety of sites you can post to, such as Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, OfferUp, and Nextdoor. Heck, post to all the sites to reach as many people as possible. Make sure you have quality pictures of your furniture. Try out different angles and lighting options to make sure people see exactly what they are getting. Make sure to take pictures of any scratches or other issues so the buyer knows exactly what they are getting.
Whether you’re having an in-person sale or selling online, you should be ready to negotiate. Remember, your primary goal is to get rid of your old furniture. Most people will not want to pay whatever price you posted. Since the primary goal is to get rid of items you don’t need, you should match reasonable prices. You will never recoup the original cost you paid when these items were new. However, remember that you are saving plenty of money on moving costs since you won’t have to bring these large items with you.
If you don’t want to go through the hassle of selling your unwanted furniture, then consider offering some of these items to friends and family. Of course, before you do that, decide if you’ll give them the pieces for free or at a significant discount. Take into account how close you are (especially with friends). For best friends, it might make sense to simply offer some furniture for free if they want it. However, if they are friends’ friends or acquaintances, a large discount might make more sense.
In the event that no one shows an interest in you can instead offer the furniture for free. You can again list it on sites or, if you live in a heavily trafficked area, you can leave it on the curb. Just make sure to check with the Department of Sanitation to check their Collection Day schedule. That way you can make sure your furniture doesn’t go directly to the dumpster. If your furniture is in good condition, it will definitely be snatched up.
Many charities like Habitat for Humanity are more than willing to take used furniture. In many cases, they will even pick it up for you along with other items such as gently used clothes, old musical instruments, and more. This is a great way to dispose of items you no longer want while also doing a good deed. Plus, your donations are also tax deductible. Just make sure to get an itemized receipt!
While your furniture doesn’t have to be in pristine condition, most charities will want it to be at least in good condition. That means no broken legs, loose springs, etc. Most charities prefer light furnishings such as coffee tables and chairs, however they might accept heavy furniture. Still, it’s a good idea to call beforehand to see what they accept. You might need to work with several charities to get rid of everything. While a quick search should turn up charitable organizations in your area you can definitely reach out to the following:
- Salvation Army
- Housing Works (for high end furniture)
- Hour Children
You can also ask around at local schools, animal shelters, churchs, theaters, and more to see if they would need some furniture.
If none of the above works for you, then it’s time to get creative. If the only reason you’re getting rid of your old sofa is due to dirty or out-of-date upholstering, you can always get it reupholstered. Not only is it cheaper than buying a new sofa, it also allows you to choose exactly how you want the new upholstery to look. While you’re at it, refinish some of those wooden pieces so that they look brand new. Sure, it might not be cheap, but again it’s cheaper than buying new!
If you’re really strapped for cash, you can try the DIY route. For sofas, loveseats, etc. you can find affordable slipcovers or oversized blankets/quilts to hide the old upholstery. DIY refinishing is more time consuming and will require a work space as you’ll need to use chemical strippers and sand down any dents and scratches. Still, if you have the time and space, you can upcycle your old piece of furniture with just a little effort and some wood stain.
Do you have a lot of old Ikea furniture? If it’s still in good condition you can, you can reuse the boards to create something new. In fact, there’s a whole website dedicated to Ikea hacks so you can turn your old furniture into something that’s more suited to your current lifestyle. It might be as easy as repainting or you can get even more creative and turn it into a completely new piece of furniture!
Moving is incredibly stressful. So why not take some steps to make it easier for yourself by getting rid of your unwanted furniture? Not only will you save money on moving costs, you’ll also have a much more decluttered new home. Just make sure you don’t throw out too much as you’ll have to replace it when you get to your new home!