If you’re moving into a new place or have just been wanting to give your New York City digs a makeover, but you’re worried about budget or sustainability, we’ve got great news: you can absolutely get the Instagram-worthy space of your dreams while being mindful of the environment and your wallet. All it takes is some preparation, flexibility, and creative thinking. Here’s a helpful breakdown of everything you need to know about how to dispose of furniture in NYC, plus how to replace it with affordable and eco-friendly options. And if you need more apartment shopping and decorating tips, check out our list of new apartment essentials.
How to Dispose of Furniture in NYC
First thing’s first: if you want new furniture, you’ve gotta make room for it. Take stock of any furniture that is old, outdated, unused, or doesn’t “spark joy” (if you know, you know). Then, honestly assess it, and decide on the best way to dispose of it. Generally, your options are to sell it, donate it, or trash it.
Selling Used Furniture Online
Is your furniture in good condition, with solid structural foundations and little-to-no surface blemishes? If so, you might want to consider listing it on a resale website or app, like Craigslist, OfferUp, or Facebook Marketplace.
Selling on these platforms requires some work on your part, such as taking quality photos of the furniture, writing a clear and accurate description, and coordinating with potential buyers. But on the plus side, it’s a way to dispose of furniture in NYC that could result in some extra cash to put toward new stuff. If you’re not so tech-savvy, we have a helpful guide to selling used furniture in NYC that includes a myriad of in-person selling options, too.
If the furniture you’re trying to dispose of is not in great condition, but you still want it to go to a good home, you can list it for free on these same platforms. There are Facebook Groups and sections of Facebook Marketplace devoted to exchanging free stuff in NYC, and it can be an easy way to take something off your hands.
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If making a buck isn’t necessarily a top priority, you could also donate used furniture to places such as Goodwill, Housing Works, or the Habitat for Humanity ReStore. These nonprofit organizations not only accept furniture and sell it at affordable prices for those in need, but many also donate a certain amount of their proceeds to a specific charity or cause. They can usually provide a tax-deductible receipt for you as well. Use our handy guide to find more donation options across all five boroughs.
Recycling and Trash Disposal
If you have a piece of furniture that’s broken, stained, or otherwise unsalvageable, you may need to consider recycling or truly disposing of it. The general rule of thumb is that if something fits into city-provided recycling or trash bins, it’s fair game to be collected with your usual weekly waste. Just be sure to double-check what kinds of materials are recyclable before your collection day.
And don’t fret if you have a piece of furniture that is bigger than your bins. You can still kick that massive credenza to the curb – literally! – by using the city’s free bulk item pickup. Read the website carefully to determine which days of the week you can set out your extra-large items for pickup. Note that specific guidelines exist for items such as electronics, mattresses, and appliances that utilize CFC or Freon.
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How to Buy Affordable Furniture in NYC
So, you’ve learned how to dispose of furniture in NYC while being thoughtful and thrifty. Now, onto the fun part: buying stuff to replace what you’ve gotten rid of! If you prefer to buy your furniture totally new, here’s a few places where you can get quality pieces without overpaying:
- IKEA: Everyone’s favorite Swedish furniture store sells ready-to-assemble pieces that are modern, consistent, and affordable. Finding your way to and from the Red Hook IKEA is a New York City rite-of-passage, but if you want to avoid lugging the tell-tale blue bag onto the bus or train, you can always order online.
- Wayfair: An e-commerce destination for all of your home needs, Wayfair supplies seemingly endless furniture options across different styles and exclusive designers.
- Target: In addition to stocking daily necessities like clothes and toiletries, Target also has a sizable home goods and furniture section. You can find staple pieces for great prices.
- Overstock.com: Another online-only retailer, Overstock.com frequently hosts massive sales and limited-time deals. Plus, everything always ships for free. Score!
- Amazon: You really can buy anything on Amazon — and that includes furniture!
If the upfront cost is too much to swallow, many furniture sites offer financing options, either directly through them or a third party like Affirm or Afterpay — sometimes with little to no interest.
Renting Furniture in NYC
If you’re not ready to commit to new furnishings (or their price tags) quite yet, you could try filling your apartment with rentals instead. For nominal monthly fees, you can rent things as small as lamps and as large as bed frames, and even try out different aesthetics and styles. And if you fall in love with something you’ve rented, most companies offer convenient lease-to-own options. Here are a few furniture rental companies that service the New York City area:
- The Everset: This NYC-based company allows you to choose individual pieces or bundled packages, with the option to extend your lease at a lower monthly rate if you love your furniture too much to let it go. Plus, expert assembly is always included with delivery.
- CasaOne: Competitive pricing and varied inventory makes CasaOne stand out. They even offer pet accessories for rent, such as cat scratchers and dog beds.
- Feather: Feather was designed specifically for city-dwellers whose tastes and addresses change frequently. They offer memberships or shorter leases, curated design packages, and free delivery and assembly in a week or less.
- Aaron’s: Aaron’s allows you to rent not only furniture but also large electronics, name brand appliances, and even exercise equipment.
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Buying Secondhand and Vintage Furniture in NYC
If you have more eclectic taste, you might want to consider buying secondhand or vintage furnishings instead of filling your home with something more typical from a big box store or rental company. Buying previously-owned furniture is a great way to be eco-friendly as well, since you’re choosing to extend the life of something old instead of contributing to an unsustainable demand for new things.
Below is a non-exhaustive list of places to comb for well-loved treasures of the past in NYC. Delivery services vary widely across shops, so be prepared to rent a vehicle or order an Uber XL if necessary (and tip well!). A shopping buddy may be helpful, too, for loading your finds in and out of the car.
- Otto’s Vintage: Located on Greenpoint’s bustling Nassau Ave, Otto’s Vintage stocks incredible used furniture and home decor at super low prices.
- Remix Market: This popular-on-TikTok store receives new inventory daily, making it perfect for repeat visits.
- Furnish Green: Every piece of furniture that comes through this impeccable Manhattan store undergoes an extensive cleaning and care process, ensuring lasting quality.
- Facebook Marketplace/OfferUp/Craigslist: While not necessarily curated by vintage experts, these websites allow you to buy interesting furnishings directly from other people…which means you could find yourself in possession of a stranger’s cool family heirloom or unique travel souvenir. Neat!
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It’s crucial to stay curious and cultivate patience when hunting for secondhand furniture. Be open to scouring different areas and new-to-you shops in order to find unique goods. Visiting a friend in a different neighborhood and a thrift shop catches your eye? Pop in – you never know what hidden gems could be waiting for you in the most unlikely places. And don’t despair if you can’t find the perfect patio chair or the dining set of your dreams right away. New York City is full of people cycling through one-of-a-kind furniture every single day. Stay persistent and before you know it, you’ll have curated a swoon-worthy vintage home collection.