Happy Earth Day! 🌱🌎 Did you know that according to the EPA, 12 million tons of furniture is thrown away each year? That’s up from 2.2 million tons in the 1960s. 80.1% is landfilled. Over 9.68 million tons filling landfills each year since 2018. In our consumer disposable culture, more and more is considered junk if it’s old. Don’t like how it looks? Throw it away. Broken part? Throw it away. Out of fashion? Throw it away. Who cares as long as it’s out of sight and out of mind. The mass production of cheap quality furniture is replacing the high quality production of furniture from smaller companies which are going out of business due to the higher demand for cheaper, new furniture. The type of furniture you take out of a box and use flimsy screws and bolts to put together yourself. The particle board breaks easily from use. This type of furniture is difficult to repair due to the already cheap quality than say a solid wood dresser which can be repaired due to the sturdy nature of the wood. After a couple of years the particleboard covered with laminate falls apart which makes people buy new cheap furniture to replace it thus perpetuating the cycle of filling landfills with more and more furniture. This is why I will never refinish a cheap laminate furniture piece to sell. If this continues, there is 18 years left before landfills run out of room. What can you do to help this concerning problem?
Buy used high quality furniture. Buying used furniture that is still functional not only helps the environment but saves you money. Just because something is new, doesn’t mean it’s better. Remember the solid wood furniture set your parents used to own? It was around most of your life and even passed down to you. Trends tend to come back after a few decades. Hold onto that furniture and just change your decor to fit your taste and style. Hire a professional to repaint it if you don’t like the color or learn how to correctly paint it yourself. If you absolutely loathe it and want to get rid of it, donate it or sell it to someone who can use it. Don’t leave it on the curb for the garbage truck to pick up during spring cleaning. Give it a new home. Solid wood furniture is meant to last for a lifetime.
Look for refurbished furniture pieces that fit your style or functional need. Furniture flipping has become a popular hobby. If you search in your local marketplace and sites such as Craigslist, you are bound to see repainted furniture pieces that have transformed the original style into something new. It may be old but it doesn’t have to look old. You are also reducing the carbon foot print by buying local whereas stuff you buy from IKEA, Walmart, Wayfair, etc is shipped from countries like China which is what makes it affordable. Search for furniture that will last and only need minor updates to grow with your lifestyle. Go for the quality materials like steel, brass, and solid wood. On top of helping the environment, you are supporting a small business or helping someone pay their bills. Don’t give away your money to big corporations, support local and small businesses that give back to the economy directly.
The allure of vintage and antique furniture is the style that is different from modern furniture designs. The characteristics like dovetail joints, inlay, wood grain veneer, craftsmanship, and other thoughtful aspects gives it a special touch that is more personal and historical. I love vintage and antique furniture because of this, not to mention the quality of materials. It’s quite easy to give used furniture a fresh look rather than replacing it with something trendy. Artistic furniture pieces are also one of a kind. Each has been given a personal touch by the artistic and you get the benefit of being the only one to own that design. It’s not mass ordered so that your neighbor down the street owns the same exact dresser as you do for example. The next time you are redecorating or in need of a furniture piece, consider buying used. Be a part of the sustainability and transparency of furniture production and consumption. The most gratifying part for me doing what I do is knowing that I saved a piece of furniture from being discarded because most do not know how to repair it or transform it into something more modern or stylish. I also love hearing the personal stories from my customers and clients about how meaningful what they purchased is for them. The emotional connection something I created evokes is what makes the difference between love and function. When you purchase a furniture piece from me, it’s meant to last another lifetime.