Unsplash | Robinson Greig

No Judgement, But We Really Need To Stop Buying Thrift Furniture Just To Flip It

Before you get angry about the headline, hear me out.

Thrift flipping is a fun (and cheap) way to spice up old furniture and give it new life. But lately, people have turned thrift flipping into a money-making enterprise, and that's becoming a problem.

Why? Because thrift stores are there for those who can't afford to walk out and pay $5000 for a new couch. And if all of those couches are being bought up to be resold, well... you see the problem here.

If you're thrifting to flip something for your house, you are not the problem!

Unsplash | Nathan Shurr

I certainly have visited my local thrift store to find a new piece I could upcycle for my house. People who are shopping for themselves are so not the problem here.

In fact, if you do that, I commend you! Buying thrifted and making a piece your own is a great way to keep furniture sustainable, and it saves you money to put towards other things.

The problem here is the thrift store vultures.

You know the type. People who go into thrift stores specifically to make a quick buck slapping some paint on a piece of furniture are the issue here.

I've seen "flips" that need to be redone more times than I can count. Painting a midcentury modern dresser that was in perfect working condition and could have been found by someone who really needed it is not a business model I can get behind.

Thrift stores are there for the people that need them.

Unsplash | chrissie kremer

If you build a business off of buying perfectly good furniture and painting it with some chalk paint, I don't know what to tell you.

Buying up furniture and reselling it at twice the price just seems so predatory to me. It's taking advantage of something meant for those who can't afford the very furniture you're about to inflate the price of.

I know how inflammatory this opinion is.

And I know a lot of people have built businesses on that exact model — buy, flip, sell for a quick buck.

I don't begrudge anyone trying to make a living doing that, especially if you're struggling and have the talent for it. I'm talking about the hobby flippers who do it for some side cash and add nothing of value to the furniture.

This opinion also doesn't apply to artists!

Unsplash | Timon Klauser

Old furniture that artists turn into their canvases is actually a beautiful concept. I love the sustainability of turning everyday objects into art.

We're not talking chalk paint and spray painting the handles gold — we're talking gorgeous, beautiful murals on old dressers and nightstands.

But sticking contact paper on a perfectly fine dresser and charging $150 for it is not the move.

Unsplash | Alexandra Gorn

Feel free to disagree — that's your right! — but to me, "rescuing" a piece from the thrift store and slapping contact paper over beautiful wood is not a flip worth much.

I don't know how people can feel good charging huge amounts of money for furniture in good condition that could have gone to someone who really needed it.

One way to ethically run a thrift flip business? Repair!

There's absolutely a way to ethically flip furniture. Check for a thrift store's "last chance" section, or grab a piece that is visibly broken.

Repairing something that would otherwise be trashed is an amazing way to give a piece a new, beautiful life. Get creative with what you're flipping!