6 Ways to Properly Dispose of a Sofa

If you’re ready to get rid of a couch, use our guide on how to do it responsibly.

A sofa is one of those large items that can be a pain to dispose of. It’s not exactly trash, so you can’t just set it out on the curb and wait for normal pickup. Some stores will dispose of an old sofa if you buy a new one from them, but if they don’t, getting rid of it is your responsibility. Some cities have special pickup days for bulk items, but that might mean waiting days or weeks for the next opportunity. Luckily, there are a lot of alternatives to consider when it comes to getting rid of a couch, including selling, trading, recycling, and donating.

small living room, sofa, area rug
Marty Baldwin

What to Know Before Getting Rid of a Sofa

Before considering your options, the first thing to do is examine the condition of the sofa. Check for stains, tears, structural problems, mold, or pest infestation. Sofas that have mold or mildew, are infested with bed bugs or termites, or are waterlogged shouldn’t be sold, donated, or recycled. Unfortunately, the best option is a landfill. However, if there are no major problems, reupholstering, repairing, or updating with new cushions or fresh paint might appeal to a new owner.

How to Get Rid of a Couch

1. Call a Junk Removal Service

For a fee, junk removal services will come to your home and remove large items. They typically charge by volume or weight, but other factors may influence the price, such as the company you choose, the distance from your house to the recycling center or dump site, and local dumping or recycling fees. Consumer Affairs says that the average cost of the minimum volume accepted, roughly one-eighth of a truck (the size of a queen mattress), is $118. This might be a small price to pay if the removal includes moving heavy items up or down stairs, or if you don’t have a vehicle large enough to transport the items away yourself. Search locally to find the most competitive prices in your area.

2. Go to a Recycling Center or Local Scrap Yard

Before taking this route, you’ll need to contact the receiving site first to know how they take items. You may have to break down the sofa for easier transport or separate the different parts of the sofa by material. In that case, you will need to remove the cushions and designate them to the trash. Then, dismantle the frame. Make sure you know the hours of operation so that you drop it off at a time when the site can receive your sofa.

3. Trade or Sell Your Used Sofa

As the famous quote goes, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” Many people are looking to salvage used items, and secondhand resale websites abound. Try local “Buy Nothing” groups in your area. Or check out Freecycle.org, a global, grassroots, nonprofit dedicated to reusing items and keeping them out of landfills.

If you’re getting no hits among the free-pickup community, try selling your couch on online marketplaces like Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist. Just be careful of scammers, and make sure that the pickup terms are safe. If you prefer doing it the traditional way, set up a garage sale and promote it on social media to sell your sofa.

4. Donate a Couch

Before sending a gently used sofa to the landfill, try family or friends first. You might be surprised who can make use of a secondhand sofa—college students on the move, neighbors who just finished their basement, or friends who recently moved into town. If you strike out with people you know, consider donating to charities that accept furniture. Try local shelters, thrift stores, and philanthropic charities like these:

Furniture Bank Network saves thousands of furniture items from going into landfills by giving them a second life in the homes of people in need. They either donate or sell the used furniture at a low cost. Locate the one nearest to you through their website.

Goodwill accepts new and gently used items. Some even have an after-hours dump site that accepts bulky items on nights and weekends when the stores might be closed.

Habitat for Humanity Restore keeps items out of landfills by selling gently used furniture at low prices to help families in need of housing.

Salvation Army has thrift stores that accept furniture items. Check out their website to see if they offer free pickup in your area or drop it off yourself.

Some charities may be able to pick up the sofa, but others might ask you to transport it to them. Remember your donation is tax-deductible.

5. Try a Curbside Giveaway

Just because you put a couch on the curb doesn’t mean it has to end up in a landfill. You can put it out with a “For Free” sign and hope a passerby picks it up. A lot of cities now have curbside programs to help citizens dispose of items in an eco-friendly way. If one exists in your area, make all appropriate arrangements, and play by the rules—or else you could be fined. Respect city ordinances on curbside disposal and honor the designated times or days when this is permitted.

6. Trade It for an Upgrade

Some stores offer the option of trading in an old sofa when you buy a new one. This can be through buy-back programs or discounts on the new purchase. Some stores will only trade in brands they carry or on sofas that you bought from their store. So start your new sofa search where you bought the old one, in case you can take advantage of such an offer. Other stores may allow you to trade in any sofa and get a discount on the new one. Some even agree to remove your old sofa for free when you buy a new sofa from their store. Either way, ask around about swap programs that will make disposing of your unwanted sofa hassle-free.

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