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It’s been eight years since we bought any new furniture. Relocating back to Hong Kong in a hurry, we resorted to the easiest way to set up a household by going to the largest furniture chain store on earth – Ikea – to buy a mattress, a set of pinewood chairs and dining table and a toy-like fabric sofa.  Since then, we have switched to the following greener methods to furnish our home:

1. Ask relatives and friends if they happen to be getting rid of items we need

We are living in an era of too much stuff.  As long as you are willing to ask, you will realise that there are always people that you know who are trying to get rid of furniture, electrical appliances and other household items. The above mentioned toy-like sofa we purchased soon fell apart, so I asked on Facebook to see if any friends had a unwanted second-hand sofa.  A friend responded almost immediately. She was moving to a furnished apartment and so could give me the sofa from her spare room. The sofa, which happened to be a very useful sofa bed, had hardly been used was like new. It cost over HK$6000 to purchase new.  We have been using it ever since.

2. Browsing second-hand stuff websites

If I can’t get what I am looking for from friends and family, I will then go to Asiaxpat.  A few years ago, I needed a dehumidifier.  Surprising someone was trying to sell his online. I bought it for HK$1000, which is a lot cheaper than a brand new one.  The machine lasted over 4 years. Not a bad deal at all.

3. Second-hand furniture store

Sourcing second-hand furniture online has quite a number of limitations. First, you will often have to go to multiple locations to get everything you need. This is an issue because transportation costs are not insignificant. Second, the selection is often quite limited. And finally arranging moving can be a hassle.

Recently, we went to Green Dot Home,  a second hand furniture store. We were looking for a larger dining table, some cabinets and an office chair. We found a glass dining table and a steel cabinet that met our needs and decided to pick up an clear acrylic coffee table as well – all for HK$1800. We weren’t thrilled with the selection of office chairs available so decided to pass on it. Overall, they had a terrific selection of items that included many high quality solid wood pieces. The prices were also quite reasonable – with professionals you don’t have issues with people over-estimating the value of their used goods.

They arranged to move all the items to our apartment in the new territories for HK$400. We highly recommend this shop because it really is a win-win for both the consumer and the environment. The value for money is quite high because the furniture is often of significantly better quality than what you would purchase for the same price in places like Ikea. The convenience of a one-stop shop and full service delivery and setup help to seal the deal. Its also a big win for the environment because no new resources are consumed in manufacturing items. Best of all, I enjoyed the treasure hunt and finding unique pieces I otherwise might not have considered.