Have you ever looked around and thought where did all this stuff come from? The fact is we live in a world with a lot of stuff and much of it ends up in landfills. One way to slow down the creation of more stuff – and to help reduce landfills – is to consider purchasing gently used or recycled items.
A great example of a gently used item is furniture. A well made piece of furniture could last many lifetimes, and it might only take some elbow grease and furniture wax to bring the grain of the wood back to a lustrous shine.
Another benefit to purchasing a second-hand piece of furniture, is that usually you are getting a huge cost savings. Shopping second hand will give you the same euphoria as shopping retail with the added benefit of avoiding steep price tags!
From an environmental perspective, purchasing gently used or recycled furniture creates sustainability. With the help of your smartphone you can shop quickly, or just browse for inspiration, while also taking part in the ecologically-friendly circular economy.
At first, one might think that buying furniture on the Internet is a bit of a stretch. We like to touch, feel and experience pieces before we commit. Apps are actually a great way to outfit your home while staying local or completely at home. If you are compelled to see the item in person, shop with apps locally and make the final judgment by visiting the seller. Filtering by location is almost always standard in resale apps today. If you trust your eyes to make the final judgment, delivery and shipping are also offered in many of the apps, usually for a fee.
Do you still need convincing? Well, this is your chance to revamp your purchase into a custom piece to perfectly match your home. The Internet is full of resources that will inspire and teach you how to transform your new bookshelf into a one-of-a-kind item storage piece that you’ll love and take pride in. By buying second-hand, discounted furniture pieces, you won’t be afraid to experiment with paint and a few ounces of creativity. Once you hone your customizing skills, just imagine the unique works-of-art you will create for your home without spending an arm and a leg. Whether or not it’s your primary goal, saving loads of money is always a good thing!
It is important to note that not all resale is created equal. Like with most everything in life, there is something for everyone. Re-commerce, as the more-refined consumers like to call resale, can include a myriad of top-end items as well as the bottom of the barrel. You just need to find the outlet that suits your personal tastes.
Don’t know where to start? It’s easier than you might think. We curated a few popular sites that will help you get started:
1stDIBS – is the Sax Fifth Avenue of resale. You know that amazing couple with the perfect Mid-Century house and original period furniture? This is where they shop! From Art Nouveau to Victorian, and Edwardian to Post-Modern, you can find items from almost any design period at your fingertips. If you have money to spend and a taste for the finest, download this App now! The inventory is world-wide, so you buy European straight from Europe!. At first glance, one can’t find a single item under $1,000, but drill down into a specific category and then sort by price and you’ll find some steals. Even the finest stores have clearance!
CHAIRISH– Out of all of the apps out there, Chairish has the slickest app with filters that just make sense. The “VIEW IN YOUR SPACE” feature makes it possible to instantly try out pieces in your own home. Other pluses for this app are “Make an Offer” and filter by “free local pickup.” Charish runs the spectrum on pricing, but the organization of this app is well thought out and easy to use.
CPLUS FOR CRAIGSLIST – Craigslist has been around for decades, but now has a new Windows-based, officially licensed app that gives you smoother, better searching using the same content found on the original website. For regional searching, CraigsList is still one of the best for variety and quantity of inventory. CPlus takes the Wild-West aspect of CraigsList and makes it more user friendly.
ESTATESALES.NET – Though not a full ecommerce site, estatesales.net will give you up-to-date information on estate sales close to you including pictures of the items at a particular sale. An estate sale is a house-wide sale that usually takes place when the resident is dramatically downsizing. Shoppers are allowed to walk through a home and shop. Some estate sale companies provide bigger bargains than others, so get familiar with the companies in your area. And remember, 90% of the time the sticker price is negotiable.
EVERYTHING BUT THE HOUSE – What makes Everything But the House different from other apps is that every item is in auction format and bidding starts at $1. This unique approach is a bit of a throwback to the early days of eBay when all items were in auction format. Larger items are often cited as “pickup only,” though local inventory was not as plentiful as some of the other apps. The app design and functionality are primo, so hopefully the selection of products increases over time.
LIVEAUCTIONEERS – If you like auctions, this app will soon become one of your favorites (if it hasn’t already). Not only can you search for individual items at auctions across the world, you can also search for live auctions taking place anywhere in the world. The one flaw I found is that when searching for individual items on the app, you can search by country, but not precise region. A more targeted search is available on the website itself. Shipping policies vary between auction houses, so be sure to read the details before committing to a sale.
NEXTDOOR – Let’s not forget our tried and true, neighborhood app. We already use NextDoor to help us get to know our neighbors and bridge the gap between the real world and the digital one, but don’t forget that NextDoor is also a great app to find items for sale in your own community. The “For Sale & Free” section is fully searchable and let’s you choose from your nearby neighborhoods or a broader, local area.
OFFERUP – OfferUp, which recently acquired fellow resale platform LetGo, now has over 20 million active users. The sheer number of users and location settings make this a great resource for resale furniture. The listings are subtly interspersed with paid ads; a search for dining chairs will display approximately 5 resale listings as well as 1 advertisement for the same item for which you are looking. The ads are not garish and are conveniently formatted to look like listings as well, though still water down the inventory.
THE REALREAL – The RealReal, self described as “authentic luxury consignment,” is a high-end consignment business which sells online and also has 4 bricks and mortar locations in Manhattan, LA and San Francisco. This publicly traded company focuses on elite, brand names and also touts itself for making luxury sustainable. The app has easy-to-understand filters and searching.They do offer white glove delivery on large items, though the price varies greatly depending on the item.
VARAGE SALE – This “virtual garage sale” app . Nothing beats the bargain prices one can get from a garage sale, so let’s rejoice in the fact that VarageSale has brought these discount gems to our iPhones! “Admins review 100% of members to ensure everyone has a real name/profile photo.” All items have an “asking price,” which immediately encourages negotiation.
*As with any peer-to-peer sales, it is up to you as the buyer or seller to use caution and “street smarts” when participating in peer-to-peer sales. Take a friend with you, meet in a public location, do not pay in advance.