How To Donate or Dispose of Furniture in NYC
New York City is a place of significant excess and great need, making it an Eden for getting rid of unwanted furniture. Instead of hauling your old sofa down to the curb, consider donating it. There are dozens of nonprofit organizations that would be thrilled to take it off your hands. Many of them even offer free furniture pickup and free furniture removal. Here's how to donate furniture in NYC. We also included eco-friendly ways to dispose of your stuff.
According to Lisa Tselebidis, a certified KonMari home-organization consultant, any item that is still in good condition should be donated — this reduces waste while also doing something good for the planet. Two nonprofits she particularly likes are Habitat for Humanity and Housing Works, both of which can always use household donations. But there are plenty of other places to donate or dispose of unwanted furniture.
Where To Donate Furniture in NYC
There’s no shortage of places that accept furniture donations in NYC. Many nonprofit organizations below offer free furniture pickup and provide tax-deductible receipts, so peruse the list and find an organization whose values and mission you vibe with. Because the pandemic changed everything, please confirm guidelines and drop-off times for any place you wish to donate.
- Big Reuse believes that salvaging usable items like furniture helps combat environmental destruction. They accept undamaged tables, dressers, end tables, bookshelves, and small desks. As part of their eco-practice, they will only pick up a large volume of donations, so contact them to see if your stuff qualifies. You can also drop off donations at their Brooklyn location.
- CancerCare Thrift Shop on the Upper East Side accepts furniture donations, but it does not offer a pickup service.
- City Opera Thrift Shop will turn your unwanted furniture into financial support for a venerated city institution. It will pick up donations between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. on business days for free, after a five-to-seven-day wait time.
- Council Vintage Thrift donations support the United Jewish Council of the East Side. Both drop-off and pickup services are available. It does not accept particle-board pieces or furniture in poor condition.
- Goodwill is an obvious choice for many. It no longer offers free pickup for New York residents, but all of Goodwill’s stores accept drop-off donations.
- Habitat for Humanity ReStore, located in Woodside, Queens, will happily pick up your clean, gently used furniture. It responds to inquiries within 48 hours.
- Hour Children provides services to incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women in New York. It operates a few thrift shops in the city that will take some types of furniture — recliners, futons, beds, and bookcases are not accepted — and pickups can be scheduled.
- Housing Works provides advocacy, services, and business to people affected by HIV/AIDS. It accepts furniture in excellent condition, but it cannot take furniture needing reupholstering, particle-board pieces, office furniture, large glass dining tables, or beds. You can schedule a pickup if you have at least two or three pieces (photos are required).
- JunkLuggers is an eco-friendly junk removal company that finds non-landfill homes for your furniture with several trusted charity partners. Much like a regular junk-removal service, it charges a fee for labor based on the amount of space your items take up in its truck. Pricing begins at $218.
- Saint Luke’s Thrift Shop supports the Church of St. Luke in the Fields, a charitable Episcopal church in the West Village. Its Tribeca thrift shop accepts furniture drop-offs (but no children’s furniture).
- Vietnam Veterans of America will pick up used furniture and other donations — schedule a pickup online or by phone.
To find even more organizations you can donate furniture to in NYC, check out donateNYC, the Department of Sanitation’s directory of nonprofit partners eager for your used furniture.
Eco-Friendly Ways To Dispose of Furniture
If you’re in a hurry to get rid of that tufted velvet loveseat and don’t have time to schedule a donation pickup — but you don’t want to chuck the thing because you just know someone will enjoy it — then consider these eco-friendly alternatives to the landfill:
- Craigslist is an easy solution. Make a post with furniture photos, provide details, and wait for an interested party to reach out.
- Facebook Marketplace works like Craigslist in that you can put up your furniture for free. (Using the Marketplace requires a Facebook account, meaning that your posts are not anonymous.)
- The Freecycle Network is a nonprofit movement of people committed to reducing, reusing, and recycling. Find a group in your area and make a post for your loveseat. Someone will want it!
The Best Ways to Recycle and Trash Un-Donatable Furniture
If the desk you’ve been lugging from apartment to apartment won’t survive another move, and it’s in no shape to be donated, then you must junk or recycle it. As New Yorkers, we’re privileged in this regard — we’re allowed to leave up to six bulk items per building on the curb the evenings before garbage-collection days. Here are some things to keep in mind about putting your furniture on the sidewalk:
- Place your items on the curb on the right day; otherwise, you might face a fine from your building or the city. Look up furniture collection days for your address.
- Make an appointment for the Sanitation Department to pick up furniture larger than 4 feet x 3 feet. Appointments can be made for up to 10 items. Leave your furniture on the curb after 4 p.m. the night before your appointment, and make sure to coordinate with your super first.
- Consider using TaskRabbit to get your unwanted furniture from the living room to the curb. It offers furniture services that include disassembly, removal, and disposal.
But what if you think your unwanted stuff is valuable? Let’s say you have an old, wood desk with beautifully crafted dovetailed joints and an original label from a famous midcentury manufacturer. It may be worth money! Here’s how to sell used, vintage, and antique furniture locally.