Everyone needs to replace their furniture once in a while. Sad thing is, most of the time, the old stuff ends up in a landfill. In the United States, about 9.7 million tons of furniture ends up trashed every year.
Turns out, however, there's a better solution to throwing out your old furniture, and it's about giving it a new home — while putting a little extra cash in your wallet.
Reselling furniture is a huge market; it's expected to be worth more than $16 billion by 2025, according to Market Watch. In the past, reselling your furniture either meant you posted flyers around the neighborhood or you made a listing on Craigslist. Nowadays, more potential sellers are using online thrift marketplaces to conduct business.
One such marketplace is Kaiyo, founded by Alpay Koralturk, which takes the furniture off your hands and photographs, lists and ships the pieces you're trying to sell. One glance at the site makes it easy to see why the secondhand furniture market is so huge.
"By making it super convenient to sell great furniture with our fast, free pickup and allowing buyers to shop a curated collection of well-produced pieces from trusted sources, we are encouraging our customers to lessen their global footprint," Koralturk says. "Many of our customers are looking to save money, and we provide them access to designs and brands that they may not otherwise be able to afford at full price. This encourages them to move away from cheaper, less sustainable, single-serve furniture brands."
We asked Koralturk for some tips on selling old furniture whether you go the old-fashioned route or rely on a service like Kaiyo.
Prep Your Furniture for Selling
This is your furniture's time to shine, and it has to be photo-ready for anyone to want to buy it. Give whatever you're selling a good wipe down, and make sure it's as photogenic as it can be.
That being said, don't try to hide any defects or damage, and be sure to be forthcoming with any flaws that may decrease the piece's value. If you're going to be selling your furniture the old fashioned way — say on Craigslist, Etsy or any other online marketplace — make sure you take photos in a well-lit area and include as many angles as possible.
Koralturk says sellers should be sure to clear out any personal items from drawers or compartments — it's great when you find something nice when you're buying a used piece of furniture, but being on the flip side isn't that great.
You Can't Sell Everything
Just because it's furniture doesn't mean you can sell it, especially when some things are illegal to sell. "It is illegal in many states to sell cribs and certain types of baby furniture, Koralturk says. "Mattresses typically cannot be sold for the same reason, so daybeds or pull-out sofas where the mattress cannot be removed pose an issue."
While wear and tear is expected with used furniture, don't try to sell anything that's on its last legs or should really be sent straight to the trash heap. "Most marketplaces will not accept items with structural flaws, so stick to things that are well-constructed," Koralturk says.
Don't Expect a Huge Payout
Listen, you're selling your furniture to give it a new home and out of a landfill, and not to make an easy fortune. Be happy with whatever money you make off, but there are some ways to maximize how much you put in your pocket. Koralturk suggests sharing your item's original price. That means proving exactly how much you paid, and not offering something in the ballpark.
"It’s helpful to share your purchase receipt if you still have it, so that we understand the item’s original retail value," he says. And if you're selling something from a well-known brand, make sure to play it up by highlighting any logos, tags or other distinguishing branding.
Know What People Want
Just because you bought a piece of furniture doesn't mean everyone else is going to want it, especially after it's been in someone else's home. Brand-name recognition is huge in reselling furniture. "Customers tend to want items from brands known for their durability," Koralturk says. "Reselling items from fast-furniture brands is not typically successful, and likely won’t yield much of a return."
Instead, try to resell items from higher-end brands that people trust. At Kaiyo, some top brands include RH, Design Within Reach, Room & Board, CB2 and West Elm. Buying those brands at retail is expensive and as Koralturk mentions, "people want a specific aesthetic but at a more accessible price point than buying new."
As taste and trends change, so will the value of certain pieces of furniture. For example, modern is hot right now, so it'll fetch more on the resale market. Lean into what's in vogue, and you'll be depositing a little more into your bank account.