Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Charity Wednesday - Thrift Store Love

I have blogged before about my thrift store obsession.  I love them.  Where else can a person save money, reduce their global footprint, and help someone in need all at the same time.   Plus, they feed my creative streak as I search for interesting items for my home. 

So imagine my delight upon reading this article in Philanthropy Today about a woman taking a road trip to visit thrift stores all around the country.  This is the kind of trip I can only dream of.  Right up there with backpacking Europe.  Something I'm sure my husband will expect me to plan the week after our youngest child moves out (in 18 years . . . ).   Goodwill Industries is sponsoring her trip, to draw attention to its stores and the people they help.   Goodwill rocks.

Thrift stores rely on a steady stream of generous donations.  As with donations of cash, the BBB recommends that donors be careful about where they donate household goods.  Here are a few tips:

  • Not all thrift stores benefit charities equally. Ask your favorite store how much your donations and purchases benefit the charity it supports.
  • When gathering items to donate, make sure that the items are needed (check with the thrift store) and in good condition. Remember that torn, soiled clothing is never in style and that as hard as it can be to toss that three-wheeled monster truck into a landfill, no child wants to play with a broken toy. Disposing of unwanted and unusable gifts is costly to charities.
  • Make sure you obtain a donation receipt if you would like to record your donation at tax time. Information on how to claim a deduction for charitable purposes can be found here on the IRS website.
In the coming weeks, I'll be writing a few posts about the organizations that call homes advertising they will be collecting donations in your area.  I'll also discuss those Planet Aid boxes we see everywhere that take donations.  For now, I recommend donating to a charity thrift store you know well.  When I get those calls about pickups, I keep in mind that my favorite thrift store - a place I know puts ALL of its revenue toward charitable programs - charges $50 to pick up stuff at my house because of costs incurred with driving a truck to a private residence.  All thrift stores have those costs. They just might pay for them in different ways.


  1. I didn't know what I'd find when I Googled "Philanthropy Thrift Blog." Loved reading your post. I will say, lots of the things the thrift stores dump (because they're not "good enough") are just the sort of things that can be valuable.

  2. We all love thrift stores. With this kind of economy, everyone is into savings.