Here’s Who Will Pick Up All That Furniture You Konmari-d (For Free!)

published Mar 12, 2019
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Moving can be a giant pain in the butt. Yet, while you’re packing up your entire existence, it’s a great opportunity to assess which of your possessions you no longer need or want (and perhaps those that don’t spark joy?) including furniture.

While it’s tempting to kick old furniture to the curb and let the garbage man take care of it, it’s much more sustainable and useful to donate such items to a charity, such as Goodwill or The Salvation Army. The best part? Many organizations are more than happy to come and lug your old sofa away.

“At The Salvation Army, we’re always grateful when someone wants to donate their gently used furniture and other items,” says Lt. Col. Ward Matthews, the organization’s secretary of national community relations and development. “The money we raise in our stores funds local programs that help more than 23 million people in need every year. That wouldn’t happen without the generosity of the American people.”

But, because not all donations are desired by these groups, there are some things to keep in mind when giving away furniture. And, just a note, both spokespeople from The Salvation Army and Goodwill highly recommend checking with your specific donation site before scheduling a pickup to make sure your item is something they’ll take.

Organizations that offer pickups

Across the country, there are many national charity organizations–in addition to Goodwill and The Salvation Army–that will come pick up your furniture donations. These include The National Furniture Bank Association, Vietnam Veterans of America, AmVets, and Habitat for Humanity ReStore. (Availability will vary based on location, of course, so do your homework.)

Don’t forget local charities, either, many of which may need merchandise for thrift shops in your town. Donation Town is a website that will help you find a local charity that will do a no-cost pick up for your furniture donation.

Unfortunately, things are different in big cities. In New York, for example, garbage pickup restrictions make leaving furniture out on the curb a tricky prospect. However, according to StreetEasy, the following organizations will pick up your furniture in New York for free or a fee: Housing Works, City Opera Thrift Shop, The Salvation Army, JunkLuggers (for a fee), Goodwill (for a fee), and Habitat for Humanity ReStore. Due to demand, pick-ups will have to be scheduled weeks in advance.

Donation Dos and Don’ts

Once you’ve scheduled your pick-up, it’s time to prep your furniture. Here’s what to keep in mind:

Do make sure the items you’re looking to donate are in good working condition, requiring little or no repair, says Bill Parrish, senior consultant of donated goods retail at Goodwill Industries International.

Don’t donate items that are damaged, broken, or badly soiled, Parrish says.

Do thoroughly check your furniture for personal items before donating, including under cushions and inside pockets, Matthews says: “It’s not uncommon for our teams to find cash, TV remotes, and other valuables inside the cushions of a donated couch.”

Don’t donate old-fashioned “box TVs,” Matthews says. They simply aren’t wanted in the age of flat-screens. (Many electronics stores like Best Buy offer pick-up of these TVs for a fee.)

Do consider each and every type of furniture as fair game, from chairs and sofas to dining tables, and even antiques, says Parrish.

Don’t donate mattresses–many organizations, like Goodwill, won’t accept them, says Parrish.

Do clearly label your furniture if leaving it outside for a pick-up crew.

“Be sure to clearly mark them for donation with the organization’s name, so the pick-up crew doesn’t get confused. If you’ve got other things on your porch as well, it wouldn’t hurt to mark those, ‘Not For Donation,'” Matthews says.

Don’t attempt to donate anything that has been recalled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, says Parrish. Review the group’s recalls and announcements beforehand to be sure.

Do take time to consider whether the item is truly in resalable condition, Matthews says. Would someone feasibly want to buy this? If not, the charity may wind up losing money on your donation.

“Repairing and/or disposing of items that don’t/can’t sell becomes prohibitively expensive, and for The Salvation Army, that means spending money that would’ve otherwise gone to local community service programs,” he says.

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