Okay, just because I’ve had to throw so. many. clothes. away just in my first week of working (and I’m shocked what some people think are okay to turn in)… let’s go over the rules you should follow when donating clothing to thrift stores, because I’m pretty sure most are pretty similar.
- First of all, please please PLEASE WASH YOUR CLOTHES. It doesn’t matter if they’re folded, but please wash them right before giving to us. If they’ve been sitting in your garage and smell musty, it’s likely that we will toss them because we can’t tell if they’re clean.
- No pet hair. Let me repeat this one a few times. No pet hair. No pet hair. NO DAMN PET HAIR. I can’t tell you how many times this week I tore open a garbage bag to have a cat hair cloud come out of it. There are workers sorting your clothes who are allergic, there are customers who are allergic, we will toss it.
- No smoke. While some light smoke smells fade, donations that smell strongly of cigarette smoke we will just toss.
- Please check for stains. If there are sweat stains under the arm pits, or milk stains on the collar of baby clothes especially, we will not keep them. Also, if there is definite wear in the crotch area or if things are pilly (when fleece/sweaters wear out and get those little fuzzies all over them), we won’t keep those either.
- Don’t give us ripped pants. I thought this would be a common sense one, but I have tossed the majority of the jeans we’ve gotten. Don’t give us obviously over-worn jeans with ripped knees or frayed bottoms.
- More common sense… don’t turn in wet clothes.
- If we don’t think it’s going to sell, we’ll probably toss it. So… things with Hannah Montana, High School Musical, shoulder pads, really crazy/ugly patterns, etc, it’s likely going to get tossed.
- We don’t usually keep shirts with advertisements. This may just be a local thing, but especially ones with beer/cigarette/innappropriate ads on them. If we’re in need of men’s shirts, we’ll keep some.
Mostly, use common sense. Sometimes it is better for you to throw them out instead of bring them to us. We want things that are gently worn and in good shape, not things that have been your loved clothing for years. Definitely donate! Thrift stores are always in need of stock, especially non-profit organizations like St. Vincent de Paul. Some of the stock goes to homeless shelters or families who can’t afford clothing for their children, etc. Just be picky about your donations and realize that some things can’t be reused and you shouldn’t waste our time or yours by donating stained, worn out, smelly clothing. :)
Whenever people act disgusted with the idea of a thrift store it honestly degrades how I see them. One, because these people have exaggerated ideas of what the clothes at thrift stores look like and consist of, thinking they’ll get some kind of infectious rash or something. Two, because you are NOT so important that you need a brand new one of everything. How self-centered is that anyways? A lot of garments outlast however long their original buyer wants them. I know in my life I’ve given away A LOT of clothes that are perfectly fine I just grew out of them or something. Also, do you even know what it takes to make that pair of jeans? That shirt- the labor? The resources? Three, because if someone else pays for you to do your clothes shopping and they’re strapped for cash like a lot of people are it’s incredibly selfish and unnecessary to go pay a shit ton of money at basic ass clothing stores like Hollister.
Also you know, if you shop at certain thrift stores you’re totally helping out local people and the local economy.
I, personally, have bought a lot of my clothes at a thrift store that does things like host local artists in a lobby area, hosts free wifi for the community, gives away kids books and sells other books for super cheap, and helps give a lot of people in dire situations some decent clothes. Thrift stores do actually have a lot of good stuff too. I just recently found theeee cutest blazer for like five dollars that would have normally been at least thirty, and two pairs of jeans that fit me just right for like three dollars each.
And another thing- I don’t know anyone who throws away their clothes, but seriously- don’t do it. Donate your shit, okay. Just because you can’t sell it at a yard sale or give it to a relative doesn’t mean it’s worthless. You might not get something out of it yourself but someone else could.
Like, there is no reason to purposefully avoid a thrift store. They are some of the coolest shops around. Go donate, go shop, just go.