The Hippo


Jul 16, 2019








Cedar chest. Meghan Siegler photo.

Does this cedar chest make my wallet look big?

If you’re not sure what style of furniture you have or what defines well-made wood, send a photo to a local shop to get an opinion. Smith took a look at two photos of a wooden dresser that she later referred to as a “tall vintage chest.” Going by the picture she estimated that it would sell for $150 (with 65 percent of that going to the consignor) but said it’s tough to be sure without seeing it in person. “If the wood is a bird’s-eye maple in good condition it could bring more,” she said. Smith also did an appraisal of a cedar chest, which she said is a less popular style right now and could sell for between $75 and $100.

Trash to Cash: Furniture

By Allie Ginwala

 Furniture can easily accumulate — because, hey, you can always use another bookcase, right? Here are a few options to give your old furniture a new home — or at least get it out of yours.

Is it valuable? If you have a well-made, solid piece of wood furniture chances are you have a good shot at earning some money for it.
“Solid wood is always good, so that’s the best way to put it,” Pam Smith, co-owner of Showcase Consignments in Chichester, said in a phone interview. “If it's well made it will hold its value.” 
Even if it’s not wooden furniture, if the piece is well taken care of and not missing any key parts, there could be a market for it.
How to sell it: New Hampshire is not lacking when it comes to opportunities to sell used furniture, with general consignment stores and ones dedicated solely to furniture covering the state. For those looking to make some money from their used furniture, consignment can be an easy option because the shops tend to do their own advertising, and it eliminates the possibility of inviting strangers to your home to take a look before buying.
To find out the quality of the piece, send a photo for an initial appraisal before toting it to a store. Smith said if the item looks like it’s in good condition and is a style that’s currently popular, she’ll ask to see it in person.
Policies vary from store to store, but Smith said they’ll keep an item on display for 90 days and if it hasn’t sold, the owner can take it back at no cost. If they don’t want to take it back, the piece will usually be donated to make room for other items.
Furniture from the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s is making a comeback, so if you have an item from that time frame you might do well now.
“Right now mid-century modern and Danish modern is very popular, whereas 10 years ago I couldn’t give it away,” Smith said.
Anything from the 1980s is out of vogue right now, along with Mediterranean styles, and things that are obsolete, like entertainment centers, are always a tough sell.
Whatever you’re trying to sell should be cleaned or polished.
“The better it looks the better it's going to sell,” Smith said.

How to donate it: If the piece of furniture you’re looking to get rid of has a sticking drawer or scuffs and dents, it might be hard to sell, but it could be perfect to donate.
Sophie Aikman, manager at Southeast New Hampshire Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore in Newington, said they accept all manner of furniture from antiques to hotel pieces — not to mention appliances, doors, hardware, flooring and more — for folks looking to buy a piece to use as is or repurpose.
“We’ll take pieces that have some damage to them or need to be sanded or need paint because so many people are into repurposing or upcycling so people come here and look for that,” Aikman said in a phone interview.
Many places have a list of guidelines specifying what items, and in what condition, they will and won’t accept, so always check online before trying to drop something off.
If you can’t decide if you want to donate or dump something, Aikman said the best policy is to use your common sense.
“If you’re looking at something and it’s a chair in six pieces, you know that's not something that someone is going to be able to repurpose,” she said. “A dresser that may have some drawer pulls to replace or has ring marks on it, that’s a different story.”
ReStore also has locations in Nashua and Plymouth and a warehouse in Manchester, each of which operates independently.
“Because we’re part of Habitat for Humanity, all of the profits from our store goes to building affordable housing in Strafford and Rockingham counties,” Aikman said. “A lot of people like that when they shop and [donate] here the money stays local.”
How to junk it: If you’re looking to get rid of old furniture that can’t be sold or donated, check with your local transfer station or dump to see what the protocol is for tossing large items. If you have multiple pieces and want a hassle-free removal,  there are a number of local services that will take unwanted items from your house. Get it Gone will pick up old furniture or junk and dispose of it. Visit to get an estimate, or check, and 

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