Ikea willing to buy back your gently used furniture

Is your red storage case causing you more annoyance than functionality? It may be hard to believe, but if you’re thinking of posting that bookcase, sofa or rickety desk on Craigslist or Kijiji, you could go right back to the Ikea source instead.

As of this month, Ikea Canada stores will buy your gently used goods in exchange for store credit. And if you’re wondering how the store will recycle your furniture, it’ll land in that time-honoured (and discounted!) “As Is” section all Ikea customers have grown to love.

Brendan Seale, Ikea Canada’s head of sustainability, announced this new buy-back service at Vancouver’s Zero Waste Conference Nov. 8. Ikea is seeking to “reduce the amount of waste that’s connected to our business” said Seale to HuffPost Canada.

This buy-back program is exclusive to Ikea Canada stores as it stands, but is available in similar capacities in places like Portugal and Japan.

Accepted furniture

Ikea is accepting “gently used” furniture, which is intended to include “anything that could reasonably have a second life in someone else’s house". The furniture must be fully assembled, and cannot be “overly mangled, broken, or stained.”

Ikea has some hygienic standards on top of their request for structural integrity. The Swedish company won’t buy back mattresses or soft textile goods. They are still open to accepting a wide range of their other furniture, including “dressers, cabinets, storage systems, shelving units, bookcases, sofas, sofa beds, chairs, stools, armchairs, dining tables, desks and coffee tables.”

Legacy furniture, too

As long as the Ikea furniture is in good condition, it will be accepted – even if it was made decades ago and Ikea doesn’t sell it anymore.

“Those are exactly the products we want to see; those great stories where somebody’s had an Ikea product for a long time and it’s served them really, really well,” said Seale. “If it’s a significantly older product that’s no longer in our range and hasn’t been for a while, that’s no problem at all.”

How to do it

If you’re interested in selling back your gently used Ikea furniture, participants must first set up an IkeaFamily account on their website. Next, select a nearby store and specify which pieces of furniture you’d like to exchange.

You’ll be asked to send in four or more pictures of the item, “ideally from at least three angles, plus a photo of the tag of Ikea stamp,” said Seale. An Ikea representative will respond within 72 hours and give you an assessment.

Seale says the amount of store credit on offer isn’t easy to calculate. It will operate on a case-by-case basis which will look at the type of furniture and its condition. As a ballpark figure, Seale says anywhere between 25% and 50% of the “original retail price” could be credited for an item in “good condition.”

Ikea will give the customer an offer, who can then decide if they’d like to accept it and bring in the fully-assembled furniture into a store. Customers are also able to assemble the furniture in store if it’s less of a hassle.

The sustainability program recognizes that not everyone will have access to a car in order to return the furniture, and Seale says the company might look into a furniture pick-up option “down the road in the future”.

Given the recent introduction of the program, however, Ikea is looking to “see how it goes” and ramp up their services over time.

Alternatively, people wishing to recycle or sell their furniture can look to Canadian charitable programs and peer-to-peer networks offering pick-up services.