This article is all about how I find cheap furniture in Hawaii. I have been receiving quite a few emails asking me about starting and running Dear Olympia Furniture Revivals, so I decided to do a series called the Ask Me Anything Series in which I answer questions people send me. I recently had a sweet lady contact me and inquire about how I find furniture that I restore and sell. She writes,
“How do you collect your pieces? Do you shop at thrift stores or yard sales? Craigslist. I’ve been making trips to Goodwill daily.”
The hardest part about flipping refinished furniture is finding cheap used furniture in Hawaii. I have the added challenge of being on an island. While Oahu has a very high population for an island, most people who move here don’t bring a ton of furniture with them unless they are pretty well off (and let’s face it, those people are probably not going to sell their furniture on Craigslist).
Indeed, to find cheap furniture in Hawaii, I have to wallow around in the depths of Craigslist. But thankfully it isn’t all about Craigslist for me. Here are some other sources through which I find furniture:
1. Facebook. This one might surprise you. I belong to quite a few closed groups on Facebook that focus on buying, selling and trading in Oahu and some are specifically for Pearl City/Pearl Harbor. If you live near a military base, there is probably a Facebook page that focuses on buying, selling and trading in and around that base. I also belong to some handmade groups in which people sell and promote their handmade goods. Even more specific, I’m in one group that focuses only on buying and selling used furniture and decor items. I’ve made quite a few sales using this method and I’ve purchased a few down and out furniture pieces from other people using this method (like this dining room table set I nabbed for $75).
Pros – often it’s quicker to line up pickup times when working on Facebook rather than email.
Cons – you have to weed through a lot of “I’m selling this burp cloth for $5″ posts.
2. Craigslist. You know you love to hate it. I probably find 50-70% of my furniture that I refinish and sell on Craigslist. Enough said. Just kidding. My best Craigslist find so far has been this $40 antique dresser.
Pros: you can search for specific types of furniture to refinish. You can barter with people (if you want to risk the item selling to someone else), giving people business cards and exposing them to your for sale pieces and custom refinishing services.
Cons: scheduling a pick-up time, most prices are extremely high on the island, dealing with Craigslist sleaze bags.
3. Thrift Stores. I probably get 25% of my furniture at thrift stores. I’ve found some real gems (like these Vermont Slate solid mahogany stately side tables that cost $40 total) at thrift stores but I’ve also struck out on many occasions, wasting time and gas for nothing.
Pros: On Wednesdays, they offer military discounts, I know exactly where the Goodwill is and can drive in and quickly scope it out without having to schedule pick-up times.
Cons: The thrift stores on the island usually have very poor selection of furniture and I hate wasting a trip and gas only to be disappointed by the selection. Some thrift stores price their price their furniture crazily high, especially on the island where demand is so high.
4. Side of the road. It’s always fun finding a decent piece of furniture on the side of the road. I found this solid wood dining room table on the side of the road and now use it as a work table.
Cons: You have to have space in your car and it’s hit and miss and random.
Have a question? Email me at MyDearOlympia@gmail.com and you could find your question on Q and A. You can read more Ask Me Anything articles here.
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