How to Keep Furniture Out of Landfills

How to Keep Furniture Out of Landfills

In recent years, we all started spending more time at home, for both work and leisure (thanks, COVID-19). With most of us on lockdown, retail closed its doors and demand for goods came to halt. With everyone at home and businesses opening back up, demand for furniture and other home furnishings skyrocketed. The problem? Shipping companies are rushing to return to capacity on busy transit routes, but backups have tied up inventories across all industries. U.S. inflation continues to rise, making it more expensive to purchase goods.

A shipping backlog can mean a long wait for consumers hoping to furnish their homes or professionals in need of furniture to fill a space quickly. And brand-new furniture costs are surging as supply prices increase, too. Many shoppers may turn to fast furniture to meet their needs, but is it the best answer for those facing a furnishing conundrum? Probably not. Let’s jump into the world of fast furniture and explore why furniture rental may be the solution to low inventory woes.

What is Fast Furniture?

Most of us are familiar with fast fashion—clothing mass-produced to replicate high-fashion runway looks at an affordable cost. These quick-turnaround items tend to be cheaply made and discarded just as quickly. You may not realize it, but there’s a plethora of fast furniture companies, too. As with fast fashion, fast furniture is made by manufacturers relying on cheap materials and high-speed production to create trendy furnishings with a short lifespan.

3 Reasons to Avoid Fast Furniture

Fast furniture isn't a fast solution, requiring repair or replacement more quickly than high-quality furniture. Here are three red flags to watch for when dealing with fast furniture, and three reasons why furniture rental is a better choice.

Quality Concern

Fast furniture often equates to subpar materials, shoddy assembly, and an inability to hold up to the wear and tear of everyday living. And it shows: Pilling fabrics, torn seams, squeaky joints, oh my! You’ll be hard-pressed to find a fast furniture maker with satisfactory customer service offering any substantial return or repair policy. Fast furniture is hardly worth the purchase when it will just need to be replaced in a year or two. Most consumers would prefer to invest a little more in their furniture knowing it’ll last.

Why rent: It’s an easy way to find high-quality pieces for your home or business. Brook invests in reliable, well-crafted furniture and decor made to last through multiple rentals. Plus, we make every effort to repair and refurbish damaged, worn items to extend the life of each piece. Renting is also an affordable option until you’re ready to invest in furnishings you’ll own for years to come.

Style Experimentation

Don’t blink—trends move quickly, both in fashion and in furniture. Fast furniture seeks to capitalize on these trends, then it’s on to the next. But how do you know if you’re ready to commit fully to industrial farmhouse? Scandinavian modernism? Fast furniture offers a fast fix, but when your taste changes, you’re stuck with a mediocre sofa.

Why rent: Renting furniture gives you the freedom to try out a new look—without a lifetime commitment. Live with an aesthetic for a few months, a year, or more with a lease from Brook. We have multiple styles readily available in our inventory to explore. Know it’s not a fit right away? We offer free exchanges or returns within the first 7 days.

Sustainable Solution

Eco-friendly and fast furniture do not go hand in hand. Nearly 10 million tons of furniture is tossed into landfills each year, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Quick production and low-quality materials lead to frequent furniture purchases for those seeking cheap alternatives to more expensive, sustainable brands. And, especially for young consumers and renters, it’s often more convenient to toss that ramshackle chair or collapsing bookcase into the trash than pay to move a large item to a new home. 

Why rent: Brook’s rental model offers a more sustainable option, and we’re continuing to dedicate efforts to sourcing sustainable furniture using high-quality materials and products that last. We use lead-free, water-based paints and stains, low-volatile organic compound adhesives and finishes, and environmentally-friendly textiles.

Other Alternatives to Fast Furniture

Not sold on furniture rental? That's OK! There are other ways to reduce waste and avoid sending old furniture to landfills. Here are two options to consider if you want to avoid buying new furniture.

Shop Secondhand Options

There are many online marketplaces where you can find used furniture and décor in great condition for low prices or sometimes for free. Check out Facebook Marketplace, OfferUp, Craigslist, or NextDoor for items. Many areas also have local Buy Nothing or Freecycle groups, where items are given up for free. Be cognizant of scammers or deals that seem too good to be true. If you're not keen on online sales, shop around at consignment stores, which are often stocked with quality, brand-name inventory at a fraction of the cost. Hit up some thrift stores as well, but their stock is often less predictable. But you never know when you'll score some treasure!

Flip Your Furniture

Maybe you have a furniture piece that you love, but it's seen better days. Maybe you've inherited a family heirloom that desperately need an update. Flip that furniture! Sanding off layers of paint, stain, and wear can breathe new life into tired pieces. Tackle it yourself for a satisfying transformation. If DIY isn't your thing, find a local furniture flipper to take your furniture from drab to fab. There are talented craftsmen and refurbishers out there to lend advice or their skill. Even reupholstering a piece with good bones will often cost you less than brand-new item. And never underestimate the benefit of having an upholstered piece a good cleaning!

Bottom Line

Why wait for months on end for furniture to ship from overseas? Brook has a wide variety of selections for your rental needs, ready to be delivered to you in as little as two business days. We do the heavy lifting—literally, so you won’t lift a finger during delivery, assembly, or pickup. From real estate staging, to corporate housing, to style upgrades, Brook Furniture Rental is the practical solution to your furniture needs.

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