December 15, 2017

Federal & State Bankruptcy Exemptions: Household Goods & Furnishings

As discussed in the last post, exemptions are laws that protect your property when you file for bankruptcy relief. Most people get to keep all of their property when they file a chapter 7 bankruptcy because of the protections afforded by exemptions.  This post will extend the discussion of bankruptcy exemptions, and highlight one particular exemption: the exemption that protects household goods and furnishings.

Broadly speaking, household goods and furnishings are just that: items found in the household, including appliances, plates and flatware, electronics, furniture, clothes, books, pets, musical instruments, and so on.  And as mentioned in previous posts, Oregon has two bankruptcy exemption schemes, or sets of laws that protect your property when you file for bankruptcy relief.  These exemption schemes are: the Federal Exemption scheme and the Oregon Exemption scheme.  A person who files either a chapter 7 or a chapter 13 bankruptcy must elect to use either Federal exemptions or Oregon Exemptions in his or her bankruptcy, but cannot mix-and-match exemption schemes.  The two exemptions that protect household goods are discussed below:

1.  Federal Exemption:

The Federal Exemption that protects household goods, furnishings, and the like, allows a person to protect $12,250 in the aggregate on such goods, with the limit of $575 per any one item.  Now, if you jointly file with your spouse, this $12,250 in the aggregate amount increases to $24,250 in the aggregate amount.  In addition, a person may use the Federal wild card exemptions to protect an additional $12,725 per individual bankruptcy filer on top of any exemptions used to protect household goods. In theory, this could allow a married couple who file bankruptcy together to protect up to $49,950 in household goods and furnishings, given the right set of circumstances!

2.  Oregon Exemption:

The Oregon exemption that protects household furniture, household items, utensils, radios,  TVs and other like items, only amounts to $3,000, and provides far less protection that using Federal Exemptions.

Federal exemptions, as with many cases, wins out in terms of protecting a person’s household goods and furnishings.  The amount that can be protected using Federal exemptions easily dwarfs the amount that can be protected using Oregon exemptions.

If you are interested in learning more about chapter 7  bankruptcy and chapter 13 bankruptcy and how exemptions may be used to protect your property when you file for bankruptcy relief, please contact me today to schedule your free in-office bankruptcy consultation in Eugene.

I look forward to hearing from you.




Tom Butcher
Attorney at Law
116 Highway 99 N #101
Eugene, Oregon 97402
541 762-1967 tele


Pursuant to 11 U.S. Code § 528: "I am a debt relief agency. I help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code."

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