When it comes to sustainable shopping, Ikea probably isn't high on your radar. It's not local, for one thing, and most of their furniture and home goods are mass-produced. Say you buy a Billy bookcase, abuse it for a couple years, and then throw it out. That's certainly not great for the environment (or your wallet)—if you treat something like garbage, it's going to be garbage.
But there's a whole other side—you might say, another life—to Ikea furniture. A rebirth. A renewal. A resale. If you're gentle with your furniture, it's very possible to get a hefty chunk of your cash back (and make sure you're not Billy-ing up the landfill).
We're talking about resale value. Oddly, where some higher-priced pieces often taken a significant hit on the resale market, Ikea pieces hold their value on Craigslist. (If I read again, "save on the tax!"...)
If you take a peek through websites like Craigslist and Facebook, you'll find Ikea furniture everywhere—and most of the products in reasonable condition are selling for more than half of their original value. I scrolled through Facebook Marketplace this morning and found tons of listings like this—furniture being sold for up to 70% of the original. They're listed below—scroll down to see them all, including one very deluded (or perhaps, enterprising?) Calgarian.
Leirvik Queen Bed Frame
New (plus 3 new Drona boxes): $98
Used (plus 3 boxes): $70
Hemnes Chest of Drawers
New (2): $198
Used (2): $100
Ingatorp Drop-Leaf Table
Malm Queen Bed Frame
Lack TV Bench
Used: $20 (???)
What makes Ikea furniture so resell-able? First, it's familiar to everyone—buyers know exactly what they're getting, and can easily look up exact measurements on Ikea.ca—which doesn't happen often in the world of vintage shopping. Second, it's often pretty light (yay particleboard!), thus easy to transport. Third, it comes assembled (don't get me started). Fourth, you don't have to drive to the suburbs (Richmond and Coquitlam, Vancouver's case; South off the Deerfoot in Calgary) to get it. Fifth, crafty people love transforming old Ikea wares (this entire website is devoted to Ikea hacks). All those factors combined are enough to convince thrifty folks that the brand-new version isn't worth the extra cash.
And, of course, reusing items is a more sustainable way to shop. Take good care of your Ikea furniture (and for that matter, all furniture)—and it might just pay for itself.