how to quickly sell a lot of office/church furniture?
February 6, 2018 3:00 PM   Subscribe

Say there's a building about to be demolished -- say a church. The organization is strapped for cash. There is a fair amount of nice and extremely usable furniture in the building. How can the organization come out ahead?

Say the furniture that needs to be gotten rid of includes 200 very nice interlocking pew chairs, and some hundreds of banquet chairs, and some tables, and desks, and some other miscellany.

I could post items individually to Craiglist. Does anyone who needs lots of pew seating read Craigslist?

I could post it to usedpews.org, and I probably will, but I'm worried they might not have anyone local to pick up it up.

What about those companies that used to exist that would eBay your stuff for you? Is that still a thing? Do they work with things like banquet chairs?

The org as I said is cash strapped and while the main goal is to get rid of it in time for demolition, people are going to be very upset if the stuff is just landfilled (and even if it is -- how do I get that many chairs to the landfill???)

Help! Also I have no idea how to categorize this so mods please feel free to slap the right label on it.
posted by fingersandtoes to Grab Bag (10 answers total)
 
An estate sale company might be willing to handle the sale for you. They generally contract with a junk company that will haul off anything that's left over. You wouldn't get a ton of money but it would be low effort.

If you sell the nice items yourself and have stuff left over, if you have a Habitat ReStore or the like around, they might be willing to pick up anything that you can't sell and at least then it would be going towards charitable use rather than a landfill.

You might also post a notice at a restaurant/catering supply store (if they'll let you) as many of the items might be of interest to someone in that business.
posted by Candleman at 3:06 PM on February 6, 2018 [2 favorites]


Most cities have used office furniture companies that probably deal with situations just like this all of the time. A quick Google search turns up a ton of them in the SF Bay Area (back in the days of the .com bust this was both how you got rid of a hundred Aeron chairs, and how you bought them).
posted by straw at 3:17 PM on February 6, 2018 [3 favorites]


If you do end up wanting to get rid of it quickly, or have stuff left over after you sell the nicer pieces, Savers thrift stores will do a fundraiser where they buy donations from nonprofits by the pound. It's not much, but it's better than nothing. We did this when clearing out an office for my church, and they took all of the furniture and a lot of other office stuff like files, books.
posted by cpatterson at 3:21 PM on February 6, 2018


Are you a part of a larger national or international denomination? Would a neighboring church be interested in purchasing the furniture? If not, are you aware of other churches, chapels, event spaces, etc in the area who would be looking to upgrade or expand? Could they put the word out to their contacts? I imagine there might be a culture of donating used pews and furniture, but perhaps if you explained the unique situation someone would want to get a deal and help out. Good luck!
posted by annaramma at 3:25 PM on February 6, 2018


any specific suggestions on search terms or a bay area outfit you see that does this (ie liquidate large amts of commercial seating) would be hugely helpful. I think my Googling is not strong today :( thanks
posted by fingersandtoes at 3:45 PM on February 6, 2018 [1 favorite]


It'll take you ten minutes to post this on Craigslist, so even if that doesn't help, it's still worth a shot. If you end up just needing it gone, post in the Craigslist Free section and you'll probably be deluged with interest.
posted by Slinga at 3:58 PM on February 6, 2018


Can you call other religious institutions in the area? It might be a close and quick option.
posted by Vaike at 4:14 PM on February 6, 2018


"Architectural salvage" or "reclamation yard" might do it for good quality antique stuff (although those are UK terms so I don't know if they translate).

Such folks might want (some of) your things but even if they don't they might be able to point you in the direction of a dealer who would.
posted by quacks like a duck at 4:16 AM on February 7, 2018


You could also go on craigslist, find someone who's selling off office/hotel furniture (there are always lots) and call them up to find out if they could sell your furniture as well.
posted by mskyle at 7:15 AM on February 7, 2018


I put "sf bay area used commercial furniture" into Google and got a number of phone numbers I'd call. Even if they're selling furniture, they'll know who's buying.

"sf bay area used office furniture" seemed like I had to scroll down a little further to see who'd likely buy, but both of those seem like a good place to start.
posted by straw at 8:59 AM on February 7, 2018


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