The year 2020 so far has turned reality on its head for a majority of us. Normal routines are different and changing in almost all areas of life. That includes purchases for our homes, apartments, business offices, and other dwellings.

Many folks are having to downsize, relocate, or reconfigure their living situations. And this is OK and working out for the vast majority of people. In the spirit of thinking and acting with a sustainable mindset, we’d like to share a few pointers on incorporating the value of shopping in secondhand markets for used furniture, appliances, and other household and business offices needs.


Second-hand furniture doesn’t off-gas and fill your home with noxious fumes. Cheap new furniture is often made of particleboard, which is held together by formaldehyde, a recognized carcinogen (a substance in the air, a product you use, or a chemical that can cause cancer) that causes eye and nose irritation. The best way to avoid formaldehyde is to buy used furniture that has stood the test of time. This also includes houses; an older home versus a new one has had time to off-gas emissions from carpets, paint, and construction materials. According to the Architectural Digest, some off-gassing can occur for many years, causing headaches, respiratory illnesses, hormone disruption, and a variety of cancers. 


The furniture industry is an enormously wasteful one. From textiles and woods to plastics and resins, it takes a lot to create the items in your home, especially if they’re built to last only a few years before breaking or looking out of date. Buying second-hand reduces demand for new resources and it comes without packaging. Used furniture from garage sales and consignment stores is often a great bargain. Look around your house and mentally add up the amount you’ve spent on new furniture. Had you bought used, you could easily have saved 50 percent, which means that money would be in your pocket instead of a furniture retailer’s.

Since moving furniture is expensive, and sellers have a deadline to get rid of, unwanted belongings, moving sales are another great place to find and save on second-hand furniture. So instead of possibly ending up in the dump, you get a bargain, save money (which we all need to do right now!), and you keep unnecessary items out of our landfills. Added bonus of buying used: you could acquire items that are better built than today’s newer versions.


The antique stores in your neighborhood and many other second-hand stores are privately owned or run by charitable organizations that give back to the community. Supporting these businesses keeps dollars and jobs in your local community rather than lining the pockets of large corporate chains that don’t practice sustainable methods or invest in long-lasting quality pieces.

Right here in San Francisco is one such showroom called ‘The Local Flea’, which has a huge selection of pre-owned items for your home or office. This fine shop is run by the Remoov company that takes your unwanted items and either sells, recycles, or donates them for you. The Local Flea has furniture, art, appliances, electronics, tools and more. They offer a 7-day trial run AND pick and delivery. Have items you want to sell? The Local Flea is here for you as well. 


There are many logical and rational reasons to buy used furniture, from collecting items that have been tried and tested and withstood the test of time, to being ecologically smarter- there is so much ‘stuff’ in the world, do we really need to buy new before using what’s already available?- to supporting the local community and economy you live in. We hope to meet you at the next flea market or local secondhand store sometime soon!


WebMD – Common Carcinogens You Should Know

The Local Flea

Architectural Digest: Off-Gassing