Buying Secondhand Furniture: What You Should Be Wary About

used furniture store

It is no longer fashionable to buy new. The public has become more aware of how consumerism has led to the destruction of the planet, and many people are doing what they can to minimize their negative impact on the natural environment. One way they are doing it is by buying secondhand.

There is so much stuff that has been produced and sold around the world that there is practically no reason to purchase new. Aside from the ecological benefits, buying secondhand is also often more affordable. You save the planet from destruction and you save money in the process.

However, buying secondhand can be tricky. There are instances when the product is lightly-used because the seller is moving houses or decluttering. However, most of the time, people want to get rid of things around the house that are plain old.

Buying secondhand does not always guarantee that you will get a good deal. Beginners, especially, may have a hard time determining if the item is worth the money or should be binned.

Old is Not Always Good

An old item is not always a valuable vintage piece. Sometimes, it deserves to be thrown away because it is no longer safe or appropriate to use.

Many household appliances fall into this category. Used electronic devices may be malfunctioning. You would not always immediately see the issues of used gadgets. There are problems that only come up after using a device for a while. There might also be problems that are not visible. These are the most dangerous because they can cause electrical shocks or fires.

Moreover, old appliances are not water- or energy-efficient. A toilet made and installed before 1992, for example, uses more water to flush than newer models. You end up paying more every month because your utility bill is so high. You should consult with a plumbing company to replace an old toilet and install a new one. Old refrigerators are also consuming more energy than newer counterparts. A new model that has been certified by Energy Star, a government-backed program, is more efficient and better for the environment in the long run.

In addition, household appliances have a lifespan. They typically require replacements after 10 to 15 years.

man inspecting a mattress

Secondhand Can Have Germs

About 20 million mattresses end up in the trash annually in the United States alone. Lay them side by side, there will be enough to circle the plant. However, while there are a lot of mattresses that are no longer being used, it is not a good idea to buy them secondhand.

If someone else has used it, chances are, it is harboring germs, some of which may be carrying diseases. Mattress, in particular, can be tricky because they are harder to clean. There are too many crevices where viruses, bacteria, and bugs can hide. You can use a vacuum on the surface and remove stains, but there is no way to deep clean it.

If you insist on using a secondhand mattress, you can buy a protective encasement before bringing it home. You should also look for signs of bed bug infestation such as bloodstains, rusty spots, eggshells and shed skin,  and a musty odor.

Children’s Furniture May Be Risky

Parents should also be careful when shopping for used secondhand furniture, especially if it is for very young children. There have been instances when children’s furniture was recalled because the manufacturer used a material that was unsafe or there is a defect that is a safety risk.

Recalls happen fairly frequently. In 2020 alone, 63 products that were aimed toward children were recalled. Of that number, 11 were pieces of furniture that could tip over and hurt the user.

Parents should be vigilant and do their research about the product before buying it secondhand. The original owner may be getting rid of it because it was recalled.

Recruit a Professional to Clean or Fix

There are secondhand furniture items that are still in good condition but might need deep cleaning or minor fixes. If you have a background in refurbishing old furniture, then you can do it on your own. Or, if you are willing to learn and work hard, there are tutorials online. However, it is better to let a professional do it,

Reupholstering a clutch, for example, is a difficult task. It can be expensive because it is labor-intensive. If you DIY, there is a chance that the quality will not be as good. You might end up destroying the furniture.

Cleaning a used carpet would also be better if done by a professional dry cleaner. They know exactly which products to use on the textile and ensure that the process will not destroy intricate details.

Buying secondhand is great for the planet, and you end up saving money without compromising on quality. However, separating the good deals from plain trash is not always easy. Sometimes, you will get some duds, but you can avoid wasting time and cash by knowing what is worth it and what is not.

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