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Save Money & Go Green With Used Furniture for Your College Student

Save Money & Go Green With Used Furniture for Your College Student
Whether your student is moving into the dorm or their first house or apartment, chances are they’ll want or need a few pieces of furniture to fill their space. 

Whether they live in-state or out-of-state, shipping or moving large items like beds, dressers, and couches across the country isn’t cheap or easy. In some cases, it makes more sense for college students to leave their childhood furniture at home and opt for new items for their dorm or apartment.

But before you grab your wallet and head to a big box store to buy a brand-new furniture set for your college student, there are many reasons you may want to consider going the secondhand route.

Buying used furniture for your college student has many benefits from saving money to saving the environment. Plus, it can even be healthier for your student.

College students are always on the move — to new dorms or apartments, studying abroad, or going back home for summer break. Chances are your college student will only need certain types of furniture for a short amount of time before they’ll be on the move again, too.

And since students are always moving, there is never a shortage of used furniture looking for a new home in college towns. And many of these pieces may have only been used for a single semester or a school year.

Buying secondhand furniture is also a bold step in environmental advocacy. Did you know the EPA reports 9.8 million tons per year in furniture waste? And that’s just in the U.S.

Not only that, but buying used might be healthier for your college student, as new furniture can off-gas unhealthy fumes. As if your college student doesn’t already get enough of a headache while studying for finals!

From going green to saving some green, here are 5 benefits of buying used furniture for your college student.

1. It Saves You Money

Although many college students may take advantage of furniture retailers like Ikea where they can find light-weight, low cost pieces, others may invest in hearty, durable pieces that can stand the test of time.

When it comes to used furniture (especially in college towns), there are many pieces that are still in great condition, and which may have only been used for a school year or even just a semester.

Quality furniture is built to last for years, if not decades. If the frame of a used bookshelf or coffee table is solid, it may only need a bit of refurbishing to look great and last for years to come. And when you buy these pieces secondhand, you’re getting high-quality furniture for a fraction of the original retail price.

From Craigslist to yard sales to local thrift shops, finding used furniture locally means you’ll also save money on moving or shipping costs. Cha-ching!

2. It’s Better for the Environment

Whether it’s clothes or furniture, using or buying secondhand not only saves you money, but it’s an easy way to go green.

Furniture is the number one least-recycled item in an American household. As we’re increasingly persuaded by TV shows and magazines to remodel our homes and replace perfectly good furniture, we’re also adding more furniture to landfills in record numbers.

From the wood to the plastic to the resin coating, it takes a lot of resources to create new furniture. Buying secondhand reduces the demand for these new resources, and reduces packaging, too.

When you buy your college student furniture secondhand, you’re making good use of items that could otherwise end up in a landfill. And when it comes to used furniture (especially in college towns), there are many used pieces that are still in great condition — many which have only been used for a school year or even just a semester.

3. You Won’t Get Attached

Few of us are immune to a sense of guilty attachment to certain items we own. Whether it’s a meaningful family heirloom or a nostalgic relic of our past, there are some things that are hard to let go of.

Studies also show that the more money we spend on something, the more “guilty attachment” we may have to that item. This can make it more tempting to keep things you don’t really use or need anymore, simply because you paid more than you thought you should have in the first place.

When you buy furniture secondhand, you’re more likely to pay a fair price. And if down the road your college student doesn’t want or need that furniture anymore, they should be able to sell it at a similar price to what you bought it for.

4. It Can Be Healthier

New furniture is often made from many different types of materials that are made from various chemicals — and many of these chemicals are listed on the EPA’s Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAP) database.

Frames and tops, cushions and padding, composite wood and solid softwood, and finishes and coatings can all contain hazardous chemicals. And these chemicals can “off-gas”, or escape into your student’s dorm or apartment, causing headaches, irritation, fogginess, and more.

Since new furniture can off-gas steadily for several years through the life of the product, buying used means you’re much less likely to introduce dangerous chemicals into your college student’s dorm or home.

5. It’s Easier to Move

From buying new furniture to moving that furniture a semester or year later, buying used saves you a lot of time and energy. You can find pieces of furniture from different locations at different times, meaning you won’t need a moving truck to move everything from a store (or your home) all at once.

Plus, when your student is ready for their next adventure, you and your student don’t have to feel bad about leaving some furniture behind since it was purchased at such a low price to begin with.

Furnishing your college student’s dorm or apartment with secondhand pieces can take more time than if you made a single shopping trip to one big box store. But you’ll be doing good for your student’s health and the health of the environment — and you'll have more money in your bank account, which is always a good thing.

Summer break is just around the corner. Does your college student have a plan for storing or shipping their furniture (and other all their other stuff) when they move out of their dorm or apartment? Here’s how we help make summer storage & shipping easy for you and your college student »