IKEA’s Offering to Buy Back Your Old Furniture — If It Can Survive the Journey

IKEA’s Offering to Buy Back Your Old Furniture — If It Can Survive the Journey
Image: Gizmodo/IKEA

Any apartment migrant with poor planning skills has likely confronted the realisation that it’s cheaper to toss a dented FJÄLLBO coffee table to the curb rather than transport it across town. This is followed by half-heartedly convincing yourself that a bed bug-immune soul will pick up footpath IKEA, which is called denial. Now, IKEA is looking to foil that excuse by bringing its furniture buyback program: an admirable incentive to reduce waste, but fatally flawed by the fact that you’ll have to bring it to the store, knowing that creaky furniture with warped MDF board doesn’t travel.

Which then circles back to the thing you should have done before the move-out date, which was to post a photo on Facebook Marketplace for the buyer who would have come to the house and done the work for you.

In any case, IKEA is buying back used furniture. The program is an extension of roll-outs it’s already introduced elsewhere, including the UK, Australia, and Canada.

In a press release, IKEA has announced that the limited-time pilot program will debut in Conshohocken, PA from August 30 to September 19. Eligible items are also extremely limited; a long list of exclusions includes outdoor furniture, chests of drawers, rugs, items with glass, children’s products, mattresses, and upholstered chairs. Customers must also be willing to transport the furniture fully assembled. Furthermore, IKEA is only offering store credit. IKEA told Gizmodo that it is not offering transportation or covering U-Haul costs.

If customers make it this far, they’re required to complete an online form describing the condition, IKEA offers an estimate, and the customer brings it to the store, carefully, where an IKEA worker tests the furniture’s durability. If it makes it to the store without falling apart and passes the inspection, it goes for sale in the store’s secondhand section without cosmetic refurbishments. If not, IKEA offers to recycle it.

This is part of IKEA’s initiative to go circular, reducing waste by extending the life of conventionally disposable furniture and building products from renewable and recycled materials. Going forward, IKEA has said, it hopes to turn furniture into more easily disassembled “material banks,” daring us to dream of interlocking joints, or at minimum, a sturdier dowel joint.