Furniture poverty (which includes being unable to afford anything from beds and sofas to white goods) is a genuine problem in the UK, with many prices inaccessible to those on a low income or in financial dire straits. Being in a state of furniture poverty has proven physical, emotional, social, and financial consequences.
Not being able to afford a bed to sleep on will obviously affect your ability to live, work and study; no cooker or fridge can mean a poor diet, risks to health or relying on expensive takeaways for your food.
Using a launderette adds up to hundreds more a year too, if you can’t buy a washing machine. If you’re applying for jobs without a desk and a computer, this will be difficult; no iron and ironing board may prevent you from getting ready for interviews… plus imagine not having a sofa to sit on: how can you invite friends or support workers into your home?
Where to turn
Thankfully there are many organisations set up to help people who find themselves in furniture poverty. Here are a few:
…has thousands of freebies in your area: just search. All this stuff is free, from sofas to lamps, and from baby items to beds, stuff for your garden, you name it: you’ll be doing someone a favour taking it off their hands.
This site contains ads for virtually everything you can think of: again, most of which are absolutely free, providing you can pick them up. Some might need a little love and paint, and most are being ditched by owners who have no room for them anymore, so there are some real finds to be snapped up on a daily basis.
Plus you can put up free ads to sell your own unwanted furniture, so it works both ways.
Community Furniture Store
Most towns and cities have a local community furniture store that collects all kinds of furniture from the local area, so again, if you’re getting rid of or wanting to pick up some super-cheap furniture, you’ll find these places aim to provide affordable second-hand bargains for only a few quid or at least a super low price, from large and small items of furniture to white goods and lighting. Everything you could think of, and they often deliver to your home too, for a small fee.
Whether you’re looking for free furniture, baby stuff, collectibles, craft supplies, kids’ clothes, or even free books, you’ll find them plus a whole lot more. “Someone’s trash is indeed someone else’s treasure!” as they say.
Like any real-life marketplace, Facebook is teeming with people looking to buy or offload items of furniture, and Facebook is a great place to find communities of people looking to do just that. You can join any of the organisations mentioned in their article via Facebook, or search for furniture for sale or giveaway – the possibilities are limitless.
Most towns have a Sally Army, and they are stocked to the rafters with old furniture and bargains befitting one of the UK’s oldest charities.
Also, finally, don’t forget to ask your friends and family! Every day, people get rid of furniture and home items to make space or to buy something new, so ASK and you can be sure someone will be getting rid of something: it’s all recyclable!
Also don’t forget that local councils often offer people a voucher to help. Citizens Advice say the following.
“Your local council might give you vouchers to help pay for day-to-day essentials like:
a hot meal
household appliances, for example a cooker
This help is known as ‘welfare assistance’ or the ‘Household Support Fund’. Each council runs their own scheme. The help on offer and who can get it varies. Find your local council on GOV.UK and ask them if they run a welfare assistance or Household Support Fund scheme that could help you.
You don’t have to be getting benefits to get help from your local council. If you do get benefits, they won’t be affected if you start getting money from a welfare assistance or Household Support Fund scheme.”