How to Donate your Furniture Responsibly

Sep 07, 2018

Your home may be filled with furnishings that you have used for many years, but you now may no longer want or need some of those pieces. Perhaps you are relocating to a new home, and you will not have space for specific furnishings. You may be remodeling, and you may be ready to dress up your interior with more modern or trendy furniture. Regardless of why you have decided to get rid of your furniture, you may now be exploring the options available to remove them from your home.

In some instances, your furnishings may be in such excellent shape and still have enough modern appeal that you can easily locate a buyer for them. This is a great way to generate some cash, but many people struggle to find buyers for their furniture unless they set the asking price very low. Some people may also not be comfortable with strangers coming into their home and viewing their furniture. With this in mind, your primary two options may be to donate your furniture or to toss your items into the trash. It is important to make a responsible, informed decision when getting rid of unwanted furniture.

Sorting Your Furniture

There may be times when you want to get rid of a single piece of furniture, such as when it breaks or is severely damaged. However, moving, remodeling and other major projects often result in the need to get rid of many pieces of furniture at one time. In order to get rid of your furniture responsibly, you need to carefully review a few important details. For example, you should consider these factors about each item:

  • Style and overall appeal
  • Condition
  • Value

You may discover that you have no real choice other than to toss out some items, but there may be other items that you could donate or even sell. It is helpful to use a relatively empty space in your home, such as the garage, to cluster items together based on how you plan to get rid of them. This will help you to stay organized.

If you plan to sell some of your unwanted furniture, create an online listing as soon as possible. Individual listings for each piece usually work best. You may also host a garage or yard sale if you need to get rid of many items. However, if your items do not sell within a reasonable period of time through these methods, a smart alternative is to think about donating them.

Junk or Donate?

If you are like many other people who need to get rid of pieces, your primary options are to donate them or to junk them. There are a few benefits associated with making a charitable donation rather than tossing out perfectly good pieces. These include:

  • A potential tax deduction
  • No need to pay for haul-away service
  • The knowledge that you are helping someone in need

While charitable organizations will happily accept items in good condition regardless of their style, many people unfortunately try to donate items that are in very poor condition. It may be reasonable to donate an item that only requires a little work and that is no longer needed. For example, a coffee table with a few scratches on it may easily be fixed through refinishing. However, if your sofa cushions have huge gashes, it is best to toss the item in the trash.

Where to Donate

If you intend to toss your furniture in the trash, be aware that curbside service will not usually pick up large items. Some curbside services pick up large items on select days, but you need to keep your eyes open for these days so that you do not miss them. Otherwise, you will need to pay for haul-away service.

For items that you believe would be useful to someone else, you can usually expect the charitable organization to pick the items up for you. This is not universal, so always inquire about pickup service first. You may be able to request pickup service for a donation through the organization's website or by calling them directly. Some of the leading organizations that accept furniture donations include:

  • Goodwill
  • Habitat for Humanity
  • Salvation Army
  • Vietnam Veterans of America

You may also contact local churches or even place a comment on your social media accounts. Some people have friends in need who could benefit form the items, or friends of friends may be in need. If you intend to use the donation as a tax deduction, remember that you will need to donate to a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. You also should obtain a receipt for the donation to store in your tax records.

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