Kent Place School's Surplus Furniture Benefits Community


Demolishing a classroom building in advance of new construction, the Kent Place School had about 200 pieces of school furniture that could not be redeployed on campus.

Material Composition:

Student and other seating, student and teacher desks, science and work tables.


Suburban campus.


The Kent Place School is an independent girls’ day school in Summit, New Jersey, teaching pre-kindergarten through 12th grade. The school is a longtime customer of Arbee Associates, a regional Steelcase dealer.

Kent Place is starting construction of a new Center for Innovation, and Arbee Associates is helping the school with planning and layout for new furnishings. Installation is anticipated in summer 2017. In the meantime, Arbee account manager Rob Pfister knew that Kent Place would be tearing down a classroom building to make way for the Innovation Center.

When Rob asked, the Kent Place School’s project manager said they planned to redeploy much of the classroom furniture, but there were about 200 items with nowhere to go but the dumpster. Rob suggested the school might consider reuse through Steelcase’s partnership with IRN, and the school’s administration jumped at the opportunity.

Rob reached IRN about the project on May 17. The construction schedule dictated that the building needed to be emptied the first week of June. The school indicated that they could provide manpower from their Facilities staff to load trucks under IRN’s guidance.


Item Count Item Count
Chairs, Desk 32 Tables, Science Lab 12
Chairs, Other 94 Tables, Other 14
Desks, Student & Teacher 35 TOTAL 187

“The Kent Place School said they had two weeks to empty the entire building. IRN responded immediately and got the job done. The school is 100% happy. That's good for the school, and even better for the kids and families who will benefit from the Kent Place School’s excess furnishings.”

Rob Pfister, Vice President of Sales, Arbee Associates


IRN made a match of the Kent Place School inventory with a Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Bucks County, PA, about 70 miles away. IRN matches furnishings with particular charities based on their composition, quantity and the project schedule.

On an annual basis, somewhat more than half of the furnishings IRN handles are provided to charities working overseas, but in recent years we have greatly expanded our network of U.S. recipients. Habitat ReStores have become some of our most important domestic partners. We’ve worked with ReStores in 18 states from coast to coast. In 2016 alone, through early June, we provided more than 40 truckloads of furnishings to Habitat ReStores, some 6,500 items and a half million pounds kept out of the landfill, and now repurposed to help support needy families nationwide.


The inventory filled two trucks: one 53-foot trailer plus one 26-foot box truck. When IRN shipments are placed in the United States, they move most commonly in 48-foot or 53-foot trailers. Box trucks are used less frequently – generally (as in this case) when there is not enough to fill an entire trailer, and the shipment is not traveling too far. (When IRN shipments travel overseas, they move in 40-foot ocean shipping containers.)

IRN set up and managed transportation of the Kent Place School inventory, using a regional hauler from our network of connections. This too is the most common arrangement on IRN domestic shipments – IRN setting up transportation and negotiating the best possible rates. A few of our domestic charities partner with large logistics firms for low-cost backhauls, and a few operate their own vehicles. Internationally, the charities we work with contract directly with shipping lines and freight forwarders, and IRN works with these organizations to schedule, load, and dispatch trucks and shipping containers according to overseas freight and customs requirements.


Nothing but winners. The Kent Place School upheld its commitment to “incorporating sustainable practices in all aspects of our facilities and campus,” and added more than 5.5 tons to its annual reuse and recycling totals. They did this at a cost that was no more than the cost of bringing in dumpsters and throwing their excess furniture away.

Arbee Associates, too, upheld its corporate commitment – and Steelcase’s – to providing environmentally sustainable products and services throughout the lifecycle of Steelcase products.

And most important, dozens of families benefitted – those who obtained high-quality, low-cost furnishings through the Habitat ReStore, and those who will live in the Habitat homes that ReStore revenues help to build.