What is essential furniture?

In 2016, the organization End Furniture Poverty launched a campaign to research the issue of furniture poverty. ‘Furniture poverty’ is a term used to describe the condition of not having essential furniture items.

However, the organization knew that they needed to define this term more precisely, since there is no universal definition of what constitutes essential furniture. Coming up with a list of items was important in order to understand who actually experiences furniture poverty and what specific items they would need to resolve this. The consultation that End Furniture Poverty launched resulted in the creation of the following list of essential furniture items:

  • Bed, bedding, and mattress
  • Table and chairs
  • Sofa and/or easy chairs
  • Wardrobe/drawers
  • Carpets in living rooms and bedrooms
  • Curtains or blinds
  • Washing machine
  • Refrigerator and freezer
  • Stovetop/oven
  • TV

Some of the items listed here may be surprising, or not be considered ‘essential’ by some people. However, the goal of resolving furniture poverty is not just about ensuring that households have the bare minimum of furniture. We cannot say that people from marginalized communities deserve a mattress to sleep on, but not a table to eat dinner at, or desks for children to use for schoolwork.

Rather, resolving furniture poverty is about making sure that even families who cannot afford to invest in large furniture items are able to live ‘normally,’ with the same basic amenities that are available in more fortunate households. Donating furniture is a great way to ensure that your used furniture items can be given a second life as essential items in another household.

The JRCC Furniture Depot accepts donations of many of the items considered essential furniture, including desks, tables, chairs, beds, mattresses, and box springs. If you have gently used furniture that is in usable condition, contact us to arrange a donation today! (Please note that we do not accept appliances or electronics.)