When you’re ready for a new look in your home (or you fall in love with a new piece of furniture) it’s tempting to drag your old, run-down pieces to the dumpster and move on. Coming up with eco-friendly solutions takes a bit more work, but it feels so good!
If you’ve ever wondered how to get rid of broken furniture or find a new use for damaged items, read on. We have useful tips for donating old furniture pieces, creative ideas for upcycling and responsible disposal and recycling tips for items like mattresses, couches and more.
How to Donate Furniture You No Longer Need
Styles, needs and preferences change over time. Maybe you’re transitioning from solo living to a family-friendly home, or you’re looking for a fresh design concept. Either way, it’s time to find a new life for that older couch, bureau or dining set.
Here’s the good news: deciding what to do with old furniture pieces is often easier than you think. If you want to find a new home for your furniture, donating to someone in need is always a win-win.
Donate Furniture to National Charities
Charity thrift stores are an excellent resource for shoppers on a budget and for furniture recycling.
Nationwide organizations like Goodwill, the Salvation Army and Habitat for Humanity ReStore usually accept all kinds of furniture, from couches and bedframes to dining sets, coffee tables and armoires. As an added bonus, you can even write off your donation on your taxes.
Keep in mind that most charitable organizations only accept furniture donations in good condition. Rips and tears in the upholstery or broken legs are often a deal breaker. You should also fully clean items before donating.
Local Furniture Donations
The quickest way to donate your couch or other furniture to a local charity is to do a web search for “donate furniture near me.”
If you live in a major city, see our list of urban resources at the bottom of this article.
Create a Furniture Donation Listing on Social Media or Sales Apps
One easy way to donate furniture directly to another user is to list it on Craigslist or other social media marketplaces. There are plenty of people out there who need to decorate on a tight budget, and your old items can make a big difference in their lives.
How to Repurpose Your Old Furniture
Just because you fall in love with a new desk or dresser doesn’t mean you have to ditch old favorites entirely. In fact, repurposing, flipping and upcycling old furniture is a popular art form among crafters.
Creative Furniture Recycling
Finding a new use for an old piece is a smart way to save money and keep it out of the landfill. If an older furniture piece no longer suits your style, you can turn it into something new by updating drawer pulls, hinges and other hardware.
Instagram, YouTube and other social media channels are full of impressive furniture flipping ideas and innovative ways to recycle old furniture.
Reupholstering and Refinishing
You don’t need to dispose of an old couch just because it looks worn or starts to sag. Instead, consider couch recycling and repair through a reupholstery service. Experienced furniture builders can tighten seat straps, restuff cushions and replace worn components and fabric.
If you’re an aspiring DIYer, you may prefer to try your hand at home reupholstery. Tufted headboards and fabric-covered chairs are among the easiest furniture pieces to update. With a little new fabric, a staple gun and a bit of time, you can make old furniture look good as new.
Some furniture flippers will even use special fabric paint for home chair and sofa recycling to match your new decor and style.
Find a New Use for Old Furniture Items
Sometimes the best furniture recycling doesn’t even leave your house. Consider reusing worn-out or slightly damaged furniture for more utilitarian purposes.
Recycle a table from your dining room as a worktable for the garage or workshop, or as a surface for folding laundry in the basement. A layer or two of varnish or outdoor-rated paint makes it easy to recycle chairs from the dining room into patio furniture.
With a little creativity, it's easy to breathe new life into old pieces so you can happily reuse furniture for years to come.
Proper Furniture Disposal for Broken Furniture or Damaged Pieces
When your furniture is beyond repair (or damaged past the point of donating) it's important to dispose of it responsibly. Recycling couches, beds and other furniture is often as easy as breaking it down into its materials.
Metal furniture components can go to a scrap metal dealer or hauling service. They’ll melt the metal down so it can be reused. These companies may even give you money for your old furniture.
Use wooden furniture components for kindling, composting or other projects around your home. You can also compost natural fabrics like cotton, wool and linen.
Mattress Recycling and Disposal
If you live in California, Connecticut or Rhode Island, getting rid of an old mattress can be tricky because of special mattress recycling legislation in those areas. Fortunately, Parachute Home has partnered with the nonprofit organization Mattress Recycling Council to help residents of these states correctly recycle their old mattresses.
For more information, see our helpful guide: How to Donate, Recycle and Dispose of Old Mattresses 2022.
No matter what kind of furniture you want to recycle, checking with your social circle is a good way to find out about local furniture recycling options. Put a shout out on Facebook or do a search online for “furniture disposal near me” to find a local rubbish hauling service.
Select New Furniture That’s Built to Last
Many shoppers on a budget purchase inexpensive furniture from big box stores and discount retailers. Unfortunately, many of us learn the hard way that those pieces aren’t designed to last.
Though mass-produced items have a lower price tag, they also come with cheaply made components. Inexpensive pieces from bookcases to side tables are often made of plastic, particleboard and heavy-duty cardboard, or they feature flimsy fabrics that tear and stain.
What to Look for in New Furniture
Investing in high-quality furniture pieces ensures your furnishings last longer, which is good for both your wallet and the environment.
When possible, shop for high-use furnishings in a store rather than online. This approach lets you check for quality joints, materials and fabrics. If a floor model looks flimsy or shows signs of wear or defects, it likely isn’t worth the money. And if the original price tag on a piece of furniture seems too good to be true, it almost always is.
Here’s a helpful resource on Living Room Furniture Essentials for some tips and inspo.
Select Brands That Prioritize Sustainability
Peace of mind is an important part of furnishing your home. You’ll feel better every time you purchase furniture and home decor from brands that prioritize sustainable practices, safe materials and protections for their workers.
Look for companies that invest in carbon offset and neutrality credits and follow safety guidelines created by international organizations like Oeko-Tex, GOTS, and Climate Neutral. Parachute’s commitment to sustainability offers climate neutral products across the board, carbon neutral shopping, as well as a variety of GOTS and OEKO-Tex
Here’s a snapshot view of the best Oeko-Tex, GOTS, and sustainable home products:
When Is It Time to Replace Your Furniture?
Even our best-loved items will eventually reach the end of their lives. While most wooden furniture like tables, chairs, bookcases and dressers often last for decades, other items like mattresses, couches and recliners may have a shorter lifespan.
Above all, pay attention to comfort. If a bed or chair starts to cause you pain because of compressed springs or floppy stuffing it’s time to invest in a piece that supports your spine and joints more comfortably. When you’re ready to invest in a new sofa set, donate your couch so it can benefit someone else.
Is It Time to Replace Your Couch, Chair, Bed, or Other Household Furnishings? Read on to find out.
Furniture Recycling and Donation in Your Area
If you live in a larger urban center or community and you’re ready to recycle furniture or donate furniture near you, there are plenty of options to choose from. Here are a few helpful resources to explore when deciding what to do with old furniture
Renewing Your Commitment to Sustainable Living
Furniture recycling, reuse and donation are easy ways to live sustainably by eliminating a common source of waste from many households. Celebrate that same eco-consciousness by exploring the sustainable collections at Parachute Home.
Between our Climate Neutral Certification, our commitment to responsible materials and our diversity, equity and inclusion practices, we provide consumers with comfortable, high-quality products like bedding, mattresses and bath essentials you can feel good about.