Made in the USA? These days, probably not!
This past month or so in Connecticut has been a difficult and snowy one to say the least. We’ve had more major snow storms than I can remember. The plowed snow is piled into mountains ten feet tall everywhere you look and of course the ice built up right along with all the snow! Clearing ice and snow has taken it’s toll on many of us including myself. I’ve been laid up for the past 2 weeks with a back injury, but I’m finally up and around once again and able to think straight enough to post on my blog. I wanted to talk briefly today about quality manufactured furniture. I hope this gives you something to think about next time you are looking to buy furniture. There’s a lot of high quality “pre-owned” furniture out there that can be had for a song.
Buying furniture manufactured in the USA prior to the 1970’s is a smart purchase. American manufacturers made some of the best furniture anywhere using quality wood, more traditional construction methods and “old world” craftsmanship that cannot be found in factory made furniture anymore today. Most new furniture that you see for sale in stores is manufactured in China and other parts of Asia. Why you ask? Mostly because of the cheap labor costs. But that’s not the only cheap thing about this furniture. To cut costs and “add to the bottom line” these companies have chose to use a lower (cheap) quality of wood, inferior (cheap) finish materials and the general construction is really awful (cheap… I’m sounding like a bird!) Most new manufactured furniture today won’t be around in 20 years, heck 10 years, because it will have fallen apart before then! It will also have no value.
I call it “disposable furniture.” Now I know that every piece of furniture you own and buy doesn’t have to be the best out there (unless you’re a connoisseur) and I understand that sometimes you need a desk for the kid’s room or an inexpensive bookcase for the den and that’s okay to buy a piece that you may use for a shorter term to serve your purpose. But why not consider alternate sources to acquire it from. Garage and tag sales, especially in upscale neighborhoods can be a gold mine of quality older furniture to be had for a fraction of that inexpensive “disposable furniture” you were considering. Consignment stores are also good places to look for the piece you need for the corner of the living room. And don’t be afraid to go to local auctions. There are some great bargains waiting to be had for sometimes next to nothing! Don’t be intimidated about bidding either. It’s actually a lot of fun. Just be careful you might get addicted to the thrill of winning!
Another way of looking at buying “pre-owned” furniture is that you’re being “green.” Yes, you’re recycling! Instead of the furniture being discarded and ending up in a land fill, you can give it a new life…and maybe a new look too. It’s usually well worth it to invest in repairing, refinishing or restoring that good piece because it will hold it’s value much better than the new, low quality products being pushed upon Americans in the mass marketing of furniture today. (Don’t be “dumbed-down” by what sellers and advertisers are telling you is “a great deal.”) Demand better quality than they’re selling and if they don’t offer it, go elsewhere!.
Invest in America
Think of buying “pre-owned” furniture and fixing it up as “investing in America!” Either buy products made here or if it’s pre-owned and they need repairs or refinishing, you’re giving work to and supporting a local American business. Don’t get me wrong, I think there are some great things about imports, but we just seem to have to much importing and not enough exporting (or supporting local businesses). Stop exporting your money!
Please post a comment and let me know where you have found some good deal and great pieces in your area. There usually a funny story or adventure behind every great find. Happy hunting!