That Old Couch: Should It Stay or Should It Go?

If you’ve ever taken an honest look around your house, chances are you may have concluded that you own some rather old and shabby pieces of furniture.

While you could technically replace all this worn stuff with new couches, tables, dressers and more, your back pocket may have other ideas. Plus, you may still cherish some of those vintage pieces and the memories they hold, and you’re not wild about the idea of sending off your stuff to the landfill.

Fortunately, you don’t have to take an all-or-nothing approach to your old furniture. You can decide, piece by piece, what is worth saving, how to fix or clean it and which items should be discarded. Here are some suggestions about how to tell if your furniture needs replacing.

Know That Maintenance and Cleaning Go a Long Way

To help keep your furniture looking new for as long as possible, nothing beats regular maintenance along with quick responses to damage. For example, regular cleaning, dusting and/or vacuuming will help your items to look their best, and if you spot (or smell) something like a puddle of Fido piddle on your chair, tackle the stain right away.

Start by blotting the urine stain with a microfiber cloth and then mix one tablespoon of dish detergent with two cups of cold water and two tablespoons of vinegar in a small bowl. Stir the liquids together and, using a clean cloth, sponge the stain starting at the outside and move toward the center, and then use a dry cloth to blot the area until it’s dry.

For older piddle stains that you’re just noticing, use 10 ounces of hydrogen peroxide, three tablespoons of fresh baking soda and two or three drops of dish detergent and spray it on the stain. After an hour, dab it with a damp cloth.

Determine if You Can Repair a Damaged Piece

If you’re a reasonably experienced DIY’er, you may be able to repair some of your damaged old furniture. For example, table legs often get wiggly due to loose nuts and bolts. Instead of tossing the old rickety kitchen table, especially if you still love the piece, use a primerless thread locker to lock together the different fasteners and allow them to stay tight.

You can find these products online or at your local home improvement store. Essentially, threadlockers work by adding it to the threads of the screws and then tightening up the fasteners. In no time, you should have a sturdy table that will no longer be in danger of collapsing.

Donate Rather than Dump It

If the old furniture you are ready to part with is still in decent shape, you may be able to donate it to a local charitable organization. Call around to see if any organizations like Goodwill are accepting used furniture like couches, chairs and end tables, and, if possible, arrange for a free pickup.

You can also call homeless and domestic violence shelters to see if they will take your old items. Additionally, try unloading your unwanted old items on a website like As the saying goes, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” and by giving away your older furniture for free, you may find there are plenty of people who are willing to take it off your hands.

Don’t Break the Bank on New Frills

As you decide what to keep and repair versus what to donate, you’ll also have the chance to buy some new pieces. Still, if your budget has been less than plump lately, no worries — you can still find some new selections online or in the showrooms of any big box retailer for every room in your home, without breaking the bank.

Select from any number of attractive and durable pieces of furniture in a variety of styles and price points, and make sure each item includes dimensions, so it’s easy to tell what will fit — and what won’t — in your home.

Keep What You Can and Treat Yourself to Some New Items, Too

Most of us don’t have the budget to run out and replace all our old furniture. But by maintaining and fixing what you can, you can extend the life of your pieces for at least a few more years. When the time comes to bid farewell to your couch or other old pieces of furniture, look for places that will take it off your hands and then treat yourself to some new, affordable pieces that look great and will last for years to come.

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