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Prepare Used Furniture Before You Sell


Check drawers on used furniture to see if they function properly

Check drawers on used furniture to see if they function properly

Photo (c) Gabr Br/SXC

Used furniture is not that difficult to sell, whether you hold a garage sale or choose another method. However, there are certain steps you need to take before you get to the point of the actual sale. The amount of preparation will vary depending how you are planning to sell your furniture.

For instance, if you are in a hurry, then you can just decide to sell the furniture as is. However, if you have time, and want to make some profit from selling your used furniture then you may want to invest some time and elbow grease.

Gather Everything

Gathering all your furniture items to be sold seems like the obvious thing to do, doesn't it? But very often it's the obvious that gets ignored. So go over everything and collect all the furniture in one place. If that is not possible at least make an inventory so that you know the location of each piece that is to be sold.

Inspect Closely

Before the sale, inspect the furniture carefully, because the extent of any preparation will vary depending on its condition. Also remember that your customers will also be inspecting it closely.

Check for scratches and dents on wooden furniture. Look for loose arms or legs on chairs, and whether cabinet doors close all the way. If the furniture is painted, check for peeling or faded paint. For upholstery, check for smells and odors along with visible signs of wear and tear.

If the furniture is very damaged, it doesn't make too much sense to spend a lot of time repairing it. CPSC advises against selling unsteady or wobbly furniture. Since it is not in a usable state, either discard it, or take it apart and see if parts can be recycled.Also, check if a particular piece has been recalled. This is especially true of children's furniture.

Preparing Wooden Furniture

Wood furniture spruces up nicely with some cleaning and polish. Cover up any scratches, so that the finish looks clean and appealing. It will be easier to sell.

Fix legs, arms and spindles on a chair. Some wood glue and putty may be all that is required. Clean and polish table tops. For chests and cabinets, check to see if all veneers are in place. Glue them down if they seem to be coming off. Also check for knobs, and tighten any that are loose. Make sure drawers slide in and out easily.

Painted Furniture

For painted furniture, at the very least, make sure that the paint is not peeling or chipped. A little touch up will do wonders.

Many creative souls have turned painted furniture into amazing pieces, and if you have the time and inclination, give it a try and use your imagination. Be warned though, that this takes time and practice, so just stay with re-touching if you are not sure you have enough time or patience.

Upholstered Furniture

Used upholstered furniture is very hard to sell, period. To make it somewhat easier, clean it as much as you can. It helps if you've been good at maintaining it well.

Remove any stains after checking the fabric for colorfastness. Make sure to check the cleanability code on the couch before you use clean it. At the very least remove all cushions and fluff them, making sure to vacuum well under them.

Check to see that the legs are not wobbly. Remove any odors with a deodorizing spray.

Leather furniture is a bit easier to sell than fabric upholstered furniture. To make it look better, either follow the manufacturer's instructions, or simply clean with a clean rag moistened with mild soap and water.

Patio Furniture

If your patio furniture has been sitting outdoors and has been neglected for a while, it will need cleaning up. Most of it can be cleaned quite easily with mild soap and water. Resin and plastic furniture can be simply hosed off to clean.

Rattan and Wicker

Clean rattan and wicker furniture by simply cleaning it with a brush. If it is very dirty, then you can use the brush to apply a mild soap and water solution. Tilt the furniture to wash it. By tilting you avoid pooling water on the surface which can damage your chair or table. Allow to air dry after drying with soft rags.

Rattan or wicker furniture can be spray-painted if you wish. Avoid using a brush as it can leave gloppy paint in the crevices, and if you have washed your furniture, wait a few days till it is completely dry before painting it.

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How to Paint Furniture
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