Lesson 12: Free online downsizing course

Rehoming excess furniture can be challenging.

We find it’s useful to tackle excess furniture early in the process (alongside tackling sales) as it can be quite time consuming.

Depending on the item of furniture, it can be genuinely disappointing for people to let go of a much-loved piece that’s in good condition but is no longer fashionable.

Not only can furniture be hard to sell, donation of furniture can be difficult as well, depending on the style and quality of the item..

Pine and dark wood furniture

It feels like a waste that solid pine and dark wood items in excellent condition, which happen to represent an outdated design, are undervalued and often end up being discarded.

I find that items like kitchen hutches and many older desks can be impossible.

Even reproduction Victorian dark wooden furniture has fallen out of favor and doesn’t command the same prices as it has in the past, if it can be sold at all. However, there is light at the end of the tunnel, as some furniture styles are sought after by collectors.

What is saleable?

Retro furniture, such as tapered leg Parker furniture or slightly ostentatious upholstered furniture like red novelty-shaped sofas or French-style chaise lounges, can be easier to sell.  If it wouldn’t look out of place in an Andy Warhol photo, chances are it’s saleable.

Also, anything which is a more contemporary style in excellent condition can retain more of its purchase price.  Especially “brand name” furniture such as Freedom or Nick Scali furniture.

Functional furniture such as bookcases and filing cabinets can be easier to rehome or sell, depending on the condition.

If you’re considering selling excess furniture, it’s a good idea to send photos of the furniture to auction houses and dealers in your area to get their opinion. Alternatively, you can attempt to find a good home for it.

Donating to migrants and refugees

Donating furniture to migrants and refugees is a popular wish among downsizers.  This is also easier said than done, but is possible in certain circumstances.

Our clients have often donated their furniture to migrant and refugee households through church groups or personal connections with good success.

When I’ve tried to do this, I’ve run up a bit of a brick wall, as our local organisation who supports migrants and refugees doesn’t have the staff on-hand to follow up with furniture donation offers.

Using platforms like Givit can also help connect furniture with charitable causes, but requires a little more time and effort.

We’ve also noticed that migrant families make up a fair percentage of the clientele on Gumtree and that the tip shop in our area may also be helping many newly arrived families set up their households.

What to do with un-donatable furniture

Unfortunately, when furniture is outdated, in poor condition or beyond repair, it may be best to consider it as landfill.

In such cases, hiring a rubbish removals firm can be beneficial as they are insured for the work they do and have a better chance of handling the furniture with care, minimizing the risk of damage to your property.

Ultimately, if you simply want to get rid of excess furniture quickly, using a rubbish removals firm can be an expedient way to dispose of it.

Starting early is key

The more time you leave yourself for this process, the more likely you are to find alternative options for rehoming furniture.

My recommendation is to be systematic and explore the options you’d like to explore, and then bite the bullet and take other items to the tip shop and/or landfill.

In downsizing projects where you have a tighter timeframe and you’ve had no interest from auction house or the Salvation Army, I would recommend going straight for the tip shop & landfill option as the “least worst” option.

Once the excess furniture has gone, you can really see what’s left and the rest of the process can feel less overwhelming.

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