Support Your Local Thrift Store

In our town there is a large new store being built and it is not a new Walmart. It is a Goodwill Thrift Store. Is this a sign of the times? A trend around the country? A rising opportunity for many to get by in difficult times? Or something else?

Increasing Use of Thrift Stores

A few days ago Donna Freedman wrote a post on her Surviving and Thriving blog site about the increased popularity of thrift shops. In her opening paragraph she shared some interesting statistics from the Savers/Value Village.

Donna Freedman Blog Header

It seems that 47%of U.S. residents report shopping at second hand stores. One-third indicate that they do so more now than three years ago.

These are interesting facts and certainly reflect the changing economic conditions of our time. So many people are without work and family income has been reduced so much that most people find it necessary to find ways to cut back on spending.

Taking advantage of thrift stores is one good way to save money. If you are not doing this yourself, you probably know people who do.

An Opportunity to Help Others

While shopping in the thrift stores is a great way to save money for ourselves, there is another idea I would like to focus on. These stores also give us an opportunity to help others out by contributing our unwanted items.

Too often people just throw away items that could be of use to others. I know someone who used to live in a resort community that had a private dump of sorts, an enclosure where people living in a group of homes put their throwaways to be picked up later.

Sign - Don't trash your good stuff

Regularly, as she went to discard her trash she noticed perfectly good items being thrown away. Many of these were actually new items, still packaged, things that people evidently received as gifts, purchased in the wrong size, or for whatever reason decided they did not want.

Instead of throwing things away, if they are unwanted and still in good shape, why not take them to your local thrift stores and let others have an opportunity to make use of them? With no changes in sight for the pressures on our economy we can expect that a lot of people will be hurting for a long time. This is one way a lot of us can help in a positive way.

Help Yourself As You Help Others

In most cases I think the motivation for taking your goods to a thrift store could be nothing more than a desire to help others. But there can also be other personal benefits.

Depending on their business or organizational setup there can be opportunities for earning some money. This is true at consignment shops; by using a consignment shop you make money by sharing in the selling price.

Monopoly - tax refund joy

In other cases, where the stores operate to benefit some non-profit organization, you can get a receipt for your items which you can claim as a charitable contribution when preparing your income taxes.

No matter how we do it there are other benefits as well.

  • We become part of environmental efforts by reducing the use of natural resources used in making these items.
  • We have the satisfaction of knowing that we are helping someone less fortunate than ourselves.
  • In other cases we can help someone just trying to better manage their funds.

Doing Our Part

There are a lot of great causes in this world and we need to be a part of many of them. But sometimes there are little things we can do that mean a lot to others just the same.

Donating to your local thrift store or selling your stuff at a consignment shop may be one of the latter. Nevertheless, it is well worth the small effort it takes and it really costs us nothing but a few minutes of our time.