Courtesy of Consignment Classics
You’ve probably heard of fast fashion—mass-produced, cheaply made pieces of clothing, pumped out quick to keep up with the ever-changing trend cycle. “Fast furniture,” though, might be newer to your lexicon.
The term is designated to furniture made of cheap materials, typically low-quality and not designed for durability. It may seem like a good thing—after all, what could be wrong with endless choices and low prices? However, there are some serious downsides: these furniture items are produced with more than their fair share of resources (and even some cancer-causing chemicals) and simply don’t last very long.
Combined, these often-overlooked issues can contribute to high amounts of waste and landfill buildup.
Liz Murphy, the founder of the San Diego-based nonprofit Sustainability Is Sexy (SIS), says that we can combat the proliferation of fast furniture by increasing the availability and desirability of pre-existing—and pre-loved—furniture items.
“Just like with any eco-ethos, the most sustainable option is the one you, or someone else, already has,” Murphy emphasizes. “Choosing secondhand is the best way to support a circular and local economy.”
The ambition to be an eco-conscious and stylish consumer might not be far out of reach. Some of the best furniture pieces and home décor items are already on this planet, lurking in corners of San Diego you didn’t know existed.
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Where to Shop Secondhand in San Diego
Consignment Classics is a chain of consignment shops in San Diego that sells new and gently used furniture, home décor, and other items. You’ll find a wide variety of items, all at reasonable prices | Encinitas, Point Loma, Mira Mesa
Architectural Salvage of San Diego specializes in architectural salvage, such as doors, windows, and lighting fixtures. They also have a selection of vintage furniture and home décor, including unique hardware | Little Italy
Kurtz St. Vintage Marketplace is a large mall with more than 100 vendors selling a variety of vintage and antique items, including furniture, home décor, clothing, and accessories | Point Loma
Mid-Century Store specializes in mid-century modern furniture and home décor. They have a wide selection of pieces, from classic Eames chairs to more unique finds | Hillcrest
My Sister’s Attic sells a variety of vintage furniture and home décor. While you shop for art, lamps, and furniture, also check out the large selection of second-hand designer clothes, shoes, and purses | Encinitas
Badlands Vintage is a highly curated vintage experience with pieces priced on the luxury end of the spectrum. The shop’s owner has an excellent eye and pays meticulous attention to quality. Be ready to pay top dollar for timeless, expertly cared-for furniture | Oceanside
Estate Sale Warehouse has thrifty pricing with some hidden gems lurking in nearly every corner of the large space | Oceanside
Sea Hive Marketplace houses a vast array of vendors, from vintage classics to more modern and contemporary items, including art and other home furnishings | Oceanside, Point Loma
Courtesy of San Diego County Estate Sales
How to Seek Out Local Estate Sales
Estate sales vend the belongings of a person who has passed or is moving. They’re typically held at the former owner’s home and are open to the public. If you take the time to look, you might be able to give an old piece of furniture a new center stage in your home.
EstateSale.net is a great resource to help you identify upcoming sales in your area and see items that will be available in advance. The website allows you to search for estate sales by location, date, and category. You can also sign up for email alerts to be notified of new estate sales in your area—in San Diego and surrounding areas, there are plenty going on every week. (I’ve found some of the most show-stopping items in my home at local estate sales!)
Courtesy of Loveseat
Best Places to Buy Secondhand and Vintage Furniture Online
Kaiyo.com curates gently used furniture and décor from recognizable name brands.
1stDibs is a high-end marketplace for art and antiques where you can find a wide variety of furniture, from classic pieces to rare finds.
Chairish is an online marketplace that specializes in vintage and antique furniture. Chairish has a curated selection of pieces, so you’re sure to discover something unique.
AptDeco’s online marketplace sells pre-owned furniture and home decor. AptDeco has a wide range of pieces, and they offer free shipping on most orders.
Loveseat Online Auctions is an online auction house that sells overstocked and returned items, as well as some vintage and antique furniture. They happen to have a location in San Diego, so you can browse auctions filled with local items and even pick up to save on shipping costs.
There are also sites like Etsy and eBay where you’ll find a variety of sellers, with some specializing in a specific era and style (and you can filter to even find items within the state or city to buy more locally).
Courtesy of Consignment Classics
Look into Renting Furniture
One easy way to minimize your footprint is to consider using rented furniture, especially if you tend to move around a lot or aren’t home often. This can also be a good option for those whose unique situation may make it difficult to purchase new or slightly used furniture.
Consider renting from places such as Brook Furniture Rental, Rent-a-Center, or Fernish.com, which allows guests to swap or return furniture after their rental period is up. Renters can also decide to buy a piece outright, too, if they end up loving it.
Search Marketplace Apps
Apps like Offerup make buying and selling items locally a breeze. There is also Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, and Nextdoor. In addition, there are Buy Nothing groups, often found on Facebook, where you can discover items people are giving away for free.