Thrift shops are like gold. There’s nothing better than a treasure hunt, and discovering a gem at the second hand store is very satisfying. You just never know what you’re going to find and that’s the fun of it. Some of it weird and whacky, but oftentimes there’s a jewel. When people ask me about my vacation, I’m forced to admit that a new thrift store was part of the fun. We seek them out every time we travel to a new town.
In fact, I’m sitting right now in a Lazy Boy recliner that I spotted when all I went in for was something to read. I have a beautiful black dress made of silky bamboo that twirls out just right when I swing dance. I have a fabulous brown leather jacket that was $15. You-just-never-know!
The point is that none of this would be possible if someone somewhere hadn’t donated their stuff to a local charity. And I try to play it forward by doing the same.
I’ve conferred with many a thrifter and we all basically suffer from the same consequence of thrift shop addiction — overflowing closets. That Eureka moment of finding a treasure sometimes lures us to compromise, by overlooking a fit or a color that’s not quite right. I usually wear it a couple times, but then hang it back up and forget I don’t like it until the next time I put it on.
It took years to figure out, but here’s the handiest thing I’ve done in a long time, both as a donor and as help in de-cluttering the house. An empty grocery bag now sits in the corner of the spare room. Every time I take something off that’s not quite right — for whatever reason — it gets tossed in. Never to wear again! Thinking of each toss as a donation to charity instead of a discard is a mindset that’s kept me from being too attached to the “treasures” in my life.
Once the bag has been established in the corner, it’s a ready receptacle of anything, not just clothes, that’s no longer relevant to you. This is what’s in mine at the moment: two paperbacks I finished reading, the game Trivial Pursuit which no wants to play anymore, a knit hat that gives me a headache and a gray sweater that makes me look like I belong in the hospital.
The secret is to put it someplace noticeable. If it’s completely out of sight, it’ll be outta mind. It could be a great basket or decorative box, but then I’d have to transfer it to a giveaway bag to donate. For now I don’t mind a plain brown wrapper. It really doesn’t matter what you use, the important part is to have a container at the ready, one that invites you to contribute. Once I started using it, a new habit was born. It’s been an easy way to clear out the house, especially the closets, bookshelves and kitchen. Happy tossing!