- Used mattresses. These can be bad for your health as you don’t know how clean (or dirty) they are. There’s also no way to see all the dust mites, mold, bed bugs, and other health hazards that have already made their way into the fabric. Also, say no to secondhand crib mattresses for infants.
- Heavily used upholstered furniture. Saggy pillows and lumpy sofas are uncomfortable to sit on. And while they can be replaced, it can cost a lot to have done it professionally and will cost more trouble than they’re worth.
- Anything that smells. It can be difficult to get rid of bad smells, e.g. thirdhand smoke, and pet or urine odors can seep through many pieces of furniture, especially on upholstered items.
- Anything that’s high-priced. When the price tag of an item does not reflect its condition, and it may cost more money and time to make repairs to, then simply skip such an item.
- Thrift stores
- Goodwill or Habitat Restore
- Instagram or Facebook Marketplace
- Apps like Craigslist, LetGo, Carousell, NextDoor, and OfferUp
- Yard sales and estate sales
- Consignment shops
- Hotels and offices that are doing major renovations
- Auction sites
Getting the most bang for your buck is probably your main goal in buying second-hand furniture. By checking tags and labels, you can avoid spending money on something that's not worth it or something that you can also buy inexpensively. You want to know where the piece came from to help determine its quality. If ever you encounter a brand you’re not familiar with, it’s better to do some quick research before making a purchase.
Smelly furniture is definitely a deal-breaker, no matter how fantastic it would look at your place or how cheap you can get it. And while there are some smells you may be able to get out, other stenches can linger for too long or may even be difficult to remove, especially pet odors and smoke. So make sure you smell the piece before purchasing to save you the headache of removing the odors, which could take even more worth than you want to put in just to save a few dollars.
Because there's nothing worse than finding out that the piece you’ve come to love at the store doesn’t work after you bring it home, you have to test the item right then and there. A lot of used furniture is also sold as-is with no return policy, so there’s no way you can return it for any reason once you’ve purchased it. Just remember to ask about the store’s policies when it comes to testing out items at the store. And do it after you’ve already checked its quality and cleanliness.
Not all sellers are willing or able to help you carry and deliver the secondhand items you purchased, which means it's critical you make a plan on how you’ll get it home. The good thing is that many stores will hold your merchandise for a few days to give you time to pick it up. If that’s the case, make sure your vehicle can handle the furniture piece you’re buying, and bring help in getting the item in your vehicle. If you prefer a rental especially if the item wouldn’t fit in any of our vehicles, just calculate the costs to make sure the total will still be way less than buying new.