'Buy nothing' groups are the secret spot for free furniture -- here's where to find them

Widen your search for the perfect vintage chest of drawers with these lesser-known groups

second-hand furniture
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If you're anything like us, you probably spend a lot of time wondering where to find second-hand furniture at a good price for your next upcycle. 

We're always stalking the 'Free Stuff' section of Facebook Marketplace for vintage finds while watching The Bold Type on Netflix. But 'Buy Nothing' groups are another, lesser-known corner of the internet full of hidden treasures.

second-hand furniture outside a blue door

(Image credit: Getty)

If you don't use it already, it's definitely worth checking if there's one in your area. There are over 6,000 local Buy Nothing groups on Facebook, so there's a good chance there'll be one near you.

Since the initiative aims to encourage community, you can only join one group and have to answer a few questions before becoming a member.

But once you've joined, you'll be able to browse all kinds of pre-loved items from kitchenware to patio furniture, all available for $0. In fact, the groups are strictly against monetary transactions, and offering or asking for money can get you banned.

two chairs and a table in the garden with a cute cat

(Image credit: Getty)

Users are encouraged not to give their items to the first person that replies to the listing, but to the person that needs them most. The cutest pet photograph or funniest joke are used as a kind of currency that may give you the edge.

Shopping second-hand can really elevate a room, as well as reducing waste. According to interior designers, there are four things you should never buy new - for example, they say old metal bed frames can be found second-hand and add real interest to a bedroom.

If you're moving house or decluttering, Buy Nothing groups offer a really convenient way to find a new home for unwanted items. It's great if you don't have time to list items on eBay and send them out for delivery. 

second hand sofa

(Image credit: Getty)

As they say, one man's trash is another man's treasure, and anything you're offering to give away for free is bound to get snapped up quickly.

The Buy Nothing Project was founded back in 2013 by two friends, Rebecca and Liesl, who wanted to create an experimental hyper-local gift economy on Bainbridge Island, Washington.

Doing some research will up your second-hand shopping game - take time to find out the best paint for furniture and learn how to decorate with thrift store art to give your home character.

You can also download the Buy Nothing app which is currently expanding to a larger number of areas. It's a sustainable way to source gorgeous new pieces for your home, and a way to get to know your neighbors. It's a win-win-win!

Millie joined Real Homes in early 2021 as a homes news writer. When she isn't writing about trends, makeovers and houseplant care, she spends her free time making tweaks to her rented flat in North London. Her next project is a very basic armchair reupholstering job to help create a cosy reading nook in her living room. She loves browsing antique centres, tending to her small front garden, and is never without some fresh flowers at home.