Moving is hardly a fun, stress-free experience. If you’re changing countries, the process is even more challenging. It is astounding how much junk we accumulate over the years or months without even noticing. Whether it’s out of necessity or a want to start completely fresh in your next home, donating and selling your bulky belongings before you leave Tokyo is going to make the process a whole lot easier.
Of course, you can always contact your ward disposal office and organize sodai-gomi or large rubbish disposal. This is possible for anything greater than 30 x 30 x 30 cm, which cannot be thrown away with regular trash. However, due to the associated fees and the fact that your items will end up in a landfill, sodai-gomi is not nearly as good for your wallet or the environment as rehoming your old furniture.
So, if you’re looking for great places to offload your unneeded items, keep reading!
Where to sell your furniture in Tokyo
Without a doubt, this is the most popular way to rehome your old furniture in Tokyo. Groups such as “Sayonara Sale” and “FARIS: Buy and Sell New and Used Goods in Japan” are among the most readily used. Selling unwanted furniture on Facebook groups is generally quick and convenient, however, it should be noted that the sites are unregulated and you will
need to organize a pick-up location yourself. If you do not want a stranger visiting your home, it is common to meet in public spaces such as train stations or parks depending on how large/inconvenient your items are. Take care when meeting strangers and, if you can, bring a friend with you.
Similar to Facebook Groups, the Tokyo Craigslist website is also a very popular place to sell your furniture. Simply upload a few pictures, set a price and wait. However, unlike Facebook—in which, the buyer’s comments are obviously linked to the buyer’s personal account—Craigslist allows complete anonymity. Additionally, you are required to give the buyer your personal contact details such as email or phone. As advised by the website, organize to meet the buyer in a public place, bring a friend with you, use common sense and trust your instincts.
Slightly less popular, but still a worthy avenue to consider is GaijinPot Classifieds. This is yet another public forum where you can upload pictures and advertise your unwanted furniture. If you’re leaving Tokyo in a hurry and want to sell your things speedily, it might be a good idea to cast your net wide and use as many of these forums as possible.
Hard Off & Off House
If you don’t want to go through the hassle of selling your items yourself, Hard Off and Off House both pay in cash. If you have audio goods, televisions, computers, gaming consoles, instruments, tools or anything electronic, head to Hard Off. Otherwise, for refrigerators, washing machines, microwaves, furniture, sporting gear and generally everything else, Off House is for you. The cleaner and newer your items are, the more you will receive for them. For Off House, furniture collection is also possible if you are happy to pay a fee.
The fastest growing app in Japan (also available in the U.K. and the U.S.), Mercari lets you sell and buy pretty much anything. To use it, you’ll need to make a (free) account and have a good command in Japanese, although it’s fairly easy if you have a friend to help you do it. Take up to four photos, upload them along with a short description and wait for someone to buy it. Clothes and small items typically sell within a few hours. After someone buys it, you will have to wrap the product yourself and send it to the user who purchased it. Logistics company Kuroneko Yamato has a partnership with Mercari, which allows you to just drop by at any Yamato store, whisper the magic words “Mercari” and they’ll have your goods delivered in a special package. The best thing is that it’s anonymous, so neither the sender nor receiver knows the other party’s private information (unless they’re sending in another way). Mercari takes 10% of every deal, so make sure to set the price in a way that gives you some profit.
Where to give away and donate your furniture in Tokyo
This is another public forum where you can list your unwanted furniture, however, unlike Facebook and Craigslist, everything on Tokyo Freecycle must be given away for free. This is a sure-fire way to have your old belongings find new homes quickly. Remember, though, that like the other public forums, Tokyo Freecycle is unmoderated, and you will have to list your personal contact details with your items.
If you want to downsize while contributing to a good cause, consider donating your old belongings to the Salvation Army. Located in Suginami, the Salvation Army’s Bazaar Center accepts furniture, electronic goods, large appliances and even bicycles. Keep in mind, however, that they will have to inspect your items on site before they can officially accept it and you will need to deliver these items yourself.
Where: 2-21-2 Wada, Suginami-ku, Tokyo
When: 9 a.m.-4 p.m. (Mon, Tue, Thu, Fri)
If you have smaller pieces, you can further support humanitarian work by donating to Oxfam. Oxfam accepts donations at their office in Akihabara, however, they only accept certain household goods such as kitchen accessories, crockery and cookware, vases, ornaments, clocks, and toys. Big furniture pieces will need to be donated elsewhere. Also, don’t forget to make an appointment before you go.
Where: 7F Creative One Akihabara 5-3-4 Ueno, Taito-ku, Tokyo
When: 10a.m.-5p.m. (Mon-Fri)
If you’re also looking to downsize your wardrobe before you move, feel free to check out our article on where and how to recycle your old clothes. Good luck with your next move, whatever and wherever it takes you!
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