3 easy ways to donate to thrift stores

“You can spend a dollar on a jacket in a thrift store and you can spend a thousand dollars on a jacket in a shop. If you saw those two jackets walking down the street, you probably wouldn’t know which was which.”
Helen Mirren


Today is National Thrift Store Day. If you must shop, take a tour of your local thrift stores and feed two birds with one seed by getting what you need and supporting a viable alternative to consuming new goods.

I still have several utensils I picked up at St. Vincent de Paul’s when I was in college. St. Vinnie’s, as we used to call it, was a weekly stop, offering up treasures like the full-length cashmere coat I found for $7 that was my winter coat for many years.

According to Savers, 76% of people have shopped at a thrift store before and 39% of people shop monthly at a thrift store.

While those stats are impressive, today we’re going to focus on how all that stuff gets to the thrift stores rather than the joy (and bargains) available when shopping at them.

If you feel yourself tightening up at the thought of letting something go, take a deep breath and remember that donating your own things to a local thrift store is easy, helps you get rid of some clutter and can even be used as a tax write-off.

Here are three places in your home where you can find some things that are no longer being used that would be a perfect fit for a thrift store.

1) The Closet
Let’s start with the easiest area first–your closet. It may seem scary or overwhelming, but a few seconds of standing in front of the open door and chances are, you’ll see some clutter there. Take a quick pass through your clothes with the following questions in mind. If the answer to any of them is YES, then let the garment go:

Have I worn this item in the last year, or in the last two years?

Does this go with anything else I own?

Is this damaged, stretched out, shrunk or faded?

Am I waiting for this trend to come back before I wear it again?

Am I waiting to lose or gain weight before I fit into this again? Am I more than 3 sizes away?

Am I keeping this ONLY because it was:
A) an expensive impulse purchase?
B) a bargain I think I’ll never find again?

2) The Kitchen
We all have a drawer or cupboard that is full of gadgets or utensils that have been replaced or just never used. Kitchen items are a hot commodity at thrift stores, so consider offloading a few of those old coffee mugs or other surplus to clear up some space in your cabinets.

3) The Garage
Do you still play golf? When was the last time you went snorkeling? How long has your bike had that flat tire? Sports equipment, gardening supplies and old tools are all fair game when you’re looking to declutter. Imagine how happy some kid will be when he finds those dusty rollerblades you haven’t worn in 15 years for $15 down the street. Who knows, you may even be able to park your car in the garage when you’re finished.

What are some other rooms or zones in your home where you know you’ve tucked things away you’re no longer using? Post your suggestions here and if you’re feeling really ambitious, include a before and after pic!

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