Time to replace that bed, chair, table or sofa? Has the allure--or the veneer--worn off your kitchen table? Has it wobbled ever since the time when your best friend sat on top of it?
There are several places to dump old furniture. But first, let's make clear what NOT to do.
What NOT to do and why
Ever seen a stuffed chair thrown into the woods or off the side of a highway? Don't be that guy. The same stuff that makes furniture lightweight and flame resistant also makes it hard to break down naturally. Those cushions in your sofa may well be toxic. Particle board or composite wood? Varnishes, paints, glues and other chemicals used to treat wood make bad garden mulch. You don't want those chemicals next to your tomato plants, running off into your drinking water or poisoning wildlife. Plus, it makes our roads and wild places look like garbage. Be a good citizen!
"Dump it" online or in an ad
Just because you don't want it anymore doesn't mean that nobody wants it. Ads on Craigslist have been known to sell or give away some crazy stuff. Unless your furniture has bedbugs, it's possible that someone else might want it. But use a small amount of reverse psychology: giving your item a price, even a small price, tells the buyer that your item is worth picking up. Facebook Marketplace is another place to check out too. A classified ad in your local paper or, if possible, a nearby college newspaper might also do the trick. One possible exception: mattresses, the underwear of furniture. Would you want a used mattress? Then again, I've seen college kids take them.
Remember: any sale is a good sale. Don't expect to get rich.
Some organizations will take away your furniture for free. For others, you may have to take it to them. These national organizations will then either sell your gently used furniture or give it to someone in need. (You can also look for worthy local organizations to do the same.)
Finally, when you buy a new bed or chair from a retail store, ask if the company will take away your old item. Some of them will, for a fee.
Now, let's start with that time-honored dropoff for unwanted household items: dragging them to the curb by your house. You never have to get in a car or truck. There's a reason people do this: it often works, depending on where you live. Some neighborhoods have a lively culture of curbsite-pickers, while others may not. However, you might want to consider what the neighbors will think--and avoid getting a ticket. You can also sign on to nextdoor and alert your neighborhood that you have a furniture item on your curb – this works great.
Will your local waste management company take large items from your curb? Look online, but call to make sure. Expect to pay for the privilege.
There's another option that involves going only as far as your curb, but we'll save it for now.
To haul your item to the local dump, you first need to find out the location and hours. Make sure you get confirmation by phone about the hours. You don't want to show up and find the gates locked because it's Columbus Day.
To dump old furniture at the dump, you will need wheels. If you drive a Smart Car or similar small car, you'll need to rent a U-Haul or other vehicle where your furniture will fit. Dumps tend to be located in out of the way places, so get your GPS or Waze working. Have everything mapped out beforehand, because you'll rent the truck by the hour. See that you have all the equipment you need, including a dolly, a back brace and maybe a few aspirin for later. Of course, wear clothes that can get dirty. Once you arrive, you want to leave as soon as possible to avoid giving a free ride to any creepy critters.
There's got to be a better way. And there is.
Back to the curb!
If you have more than one or two items--say, you're clearing out a home or an office space--rent a dumpster. Junk-King offers dumpsters with a side that comes down, saving you from lifting that sofa over your head to drop it in. Your back will thank you. With Junk King, you pay for only the space you use. They'll even take your mattress! Call when you're ready and have your troubles taken away.
Remember what we said before about toxic stuff in mattresses and particleboard? One advantage of using Junk King is that we know how to recycle, by taking apart your furniture and sorting the components. Next to reuse, this is the greenest option around.