“I have a solid timber dining set that is too good to throw away. Can you take it?”
Variations on this question come in regularly on our contact page. So, we decided to put all the resources we can find on rehoming and selling secondhand furniture in Australia into one big post. We might not have all of them yet but you can let us know what’s missing. Every state has resources that take a little searching to find, if you’re in Sydney one of our favourite organisations is The Bower.
Decluttering, downsizing, upgrading, replacing… if you have unwanted furniture you want it gone quickly. Ideally without having to find a ute, a few strong guys and a tip voucher.
If you have something you paid good money for, it also feels wasteful to send it straight to landfill.
So what are the easy options for selling second hand furniture to someone who can use it? Firstly, have a realistic look at the piece. Is it cheaply made and falling apart? Is it ripped, cracked, stained or broken? Some things don’t have a second life in them. If someone can buy the same thing brand new for very little money you might be better giving it away or putting it out for your next council junk collection. You can also pay someone like 1800-Got-Junk to take items away.
If the piece is well-made and sturdy, the focus moves to fashion and utility. How dated is it? Is it useful? Could it be painted, resurfaced or reupholstered? Is it back in vogue as a collectable? Could a worn piece have a different life as storage in a garage or kids playroom? Spend a little time in a marketplace like Gumtree to see what people are selling for what price. The amount you paid for something new and what someone will pay secondhand can be quite different. Just remember your original goal of getting rid of furniture quickly and easily. If someone comes and takes it away, and gives you a bit of money for it, you save time, energy and tip fees.
Gumtree – One of Australia’s largest secondhand buy/sell platforms. Simple to use on desktop and/or the mobile/tablet app. Ads are mostly free but you can pay for extra perks. Now owned by Ebay.
Facebook Marketplace – Free listings and easy to take photos and post ads on your mobile Facebook account. Starting to get really busy and move more quickly than Gumtree. There are also hundreds of buy and sell groups on Facebook. Type ‘sell’ into the search box and click on Groups to find ones near you.
eBay – Moving slowly to new items but still a big market for used goods. Ebay takes a commission of the total sale price, currently 10.9%, which tends to remove lower priced items.
Cash Converters – Quick cash but requires several forms of ID. Expect to get significantly less cash-in-hand than selling yourself. Good for smaller items like electronics, appliances, tools, sporting goods.
Sell4You (Melbourne) – The Sell4You team help people sell house lots of unwanted furniture and building materials. They photograph, advertise, manage enquiries and organise delivery of items for a commission on the sale. Melbourne metropolitan area only.
Like all of us, second hand buyers don’t like wasting time or money. A few extra minutes taking photos from all angles, and including condition, measurements, features and blemishes in the description, saves lots of pre-visit questions from potential buyers. Your ad will also be found, clicked or skipped on the words you use in the headline and description. For example: ‘Kids Bike’ may be better as ‘Southern Star 20” Girls Bike, 7 Gears, Excellent Condition’. Include plenty of searchable keywords, categories and filters to make your ad easy to find.
Marketplaces like Gumtree and eBay sell items at all price points. But to access more status-conscious buyers, have a look at consignment businesses. They take a commission from each sale but save you the trouble of meeting buyers, negotiating sales and providing a high end shopping experience. Consignment furniture is usually expensive labels and designer homewares with interior design cachet. Vintage designer may also be on the list. Many items on the sites below are in the thousands price range.
Home Furniture on Consignment (Sydney) – Top designer brands. 45% commission.
Design Consigned (Melbourne) – Authentic, privately owned design objects. 40% commission.
This is one of our favourite ways to rehome furniture. It’s a great option for reducing waste and helping those who have less. And it helps upcyclers who like repurposing.
It is NOT the way to have a pile of junk removed for free. Charities waste a lot of money sorting out ‘donations’ that should have gone straight to the tip. If it’s going to charity make sure it’s something you would be happy to buy or receive yourself. Juliette Wright from Givit puts it this way: “If you would give it to your mother, your sister or friend – it’s good to give.”
People in reduced circumstances deserve dignity. Charities that supply goods directly to clients make sure they’re clean and in good condition. If you’re using a non-charity platform like Freecycle, list anything in reasonable condition and see if someone wants it. You never know what art practice or upcycling project needs weird materials!
Facebook – Look for groups like Buy Nothing New or Pay it Forward or Waste Not Want Not in your area. These are ultra local groups and goods are shared around your community. Join the group, post photos and description and see who’s keen to come and collect it. You can private message your chosen recipient with address details rather than making them public.
Freecycle – A slightly dated global platform that’s been sharing resources since 2003. Join your closest Freecycle group and post an item. Communications are via email and your chosen recipient will pick up the item.
Givit – A national not-for-profit platform that matches donated goods with items charities are looking for. Givit supports all Australian agencies, services and charities that work with impoverished, marginalised and vulnerable people. They also co-ordinate donations for disaster relief. You communicate with the charity that wants your donation to organise delivery.
Donate Direct – (Mostly Victoria) – Another not-for-profit matching donations with charities that need them. You can also check the ‘what’s needed’ list to see if there is anything lurking in your cupboards that someone could use.
Ziilch – (Mostly Victoria and NSW). Free to list and pick up.
Gumtree – Mainly a sell platform but you can list items as free. Has a huge user base so items may move quicker than other platforms.
Generous and Grateful (Sydney) – Helping those who are seeking asylum, fleeing domestic violence, recovering from homelessness or are youth at risk. Best if you can deliver items to their storage space or contribute to delivery costs.
CharityBay – An innovative online marketplace that supports the environment and charity fundraising around Australia. Allows you to buy and sell unwanted useful items while directing the proceeds to your selected charity.
Note: Before you load the ute with heavy furniture make a call to see what your local charities accept. Some can send a truck to your house to collect items, and all second hand businesses require clean items in good condition.
Charities with shop fronts, like Salvos and Vinnies, sell goods to everyone and use the money raised to help disadvantaged people. Giving a scrappy piece of furniture for ‘someone who has nothing’ doesn’t work. If it can’t be easily sold, the charity won’t take it. Mattresses and electrical items can also be excluded for health and safety reasons. We give options for those below.
The Refugee Council website has a long list of charities and the type of goods they accept.
The Bower in Sydney has a Reuse Database that can be searched by type of donation and location. (Doesn’t cover all of Australia yet.)
Enter your location and the type of item you’d like to recycle on Recycling Near You to find drop off points for a wide range of household goods.
Old mattresses can be heavy and awkward to move, but they have a lot of recyclable components. Where possible it’s great to get old mattresses to a recycling centre rather than a tip.
If you’re a home owner, some councils include a free mattress pick up in their rubbish collection services so check there first. There are also a number of private mattress recyclers in Australia who charge a small fee for mattress collection and disposal (you may pay less if you take it to a drop off point yourself).
Check Recycling Near You for more options.
If you have larger items or fittings to rehome check our How to recycle building materials from your house demolition post.