1493351258813 - Where old office chairs go to die, Christchurch’s office furniture glut

Where old office chairs go to die, Christchurch’s office furniture glut

Want to pay a pittance for a smart second hand executive desk? Christchurch is the place for a bargain as tenants in fancy new office buildings try to get rid of their cast offs. 

The city is awash with second hand office furniture and those who can’t recycle or sell their surplus gear are giving it away to charity, or sending it to the dump as a last resort. 

Trade Me listings for office furniture in Canterbury for the last three months are up almost 25 per cent on the same period last year, with 300 extra listings in April alone.

With four floors of surplus items in storage at Princess Margaret Hospital to find homes for – including 4000 chairs – Canterbury District Health Board services manager Pauline Tootell​ has become an expert furniture wrangler.

With one floor to go, as much as possible has been “re-homed” in Canterbury and West Coast health facilities, sold on Trade Me or given to community groups.

“We’ve sold about 50 old solid oak doctors’ desks and people bought them to refurbish – they’re not something we’d use again because they’re too hefty to move around.

“I’d rather sell [a chair] for $1 and have someone come and get it than pay $2000 for a skip.

“It’s been really time consuming, but a really good feel good thing for the DHB”.

Some auctioneers and second hand sellers are so overwhelmed with desks, chairs and other office paraphernalia, they are turning goods away.

Mike Young, who sells online through his Officeman​ website, said his warehouse was filled to the gunnels and he couldn’t take any more. “We’ll just ride it out”.

Sometimes he said it was hardly worth the labour involved in dismantling desks and shifting them across town.

Auctioneer Bryan Andrews said office furniture prices were 70 per cent lower than they used to be.

“We’ve got executive desks for sale for $20 each”.

One moving company hired to strip furniture from an old building said useable items were being given to charity and anything damaged would be left behind in the premises which were being demolished.

Colliers International director of office leasing  Brynn​ Burrows said tenants moving into new buildings in the CBD tended to buy new furniture to meet modern office requirements. 

“Desk sizes are getting smaller with a lot of those L-shaped desks being phased out because they’re quite big and take up a lot of space”.





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