Friday, March 19, 2010

Thrifting in DC!

The DC Fashionista goddess of Goodwill honored us with an invitation to post on their blog.

We decided to post about Kids & Thrift.

We also hope this offer includes a tour of DC thrift spots when we’re in town. We're good for it.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Where the love you give comes back to you

I want to believe kindness begets kindness. In this partisan world, kindness takes a back seat to power. This, to the point we need to be reminded to be kind. Power and money sometimes sadly seem to come innately.

Here in lies the beauty of the charitable thrift. I can have my cake and eat it. In a former post, Learning When To Let Go, I was met with one comment that felt a wrong decision had been played. I put some serious thought to that possibility. An antique table had been sitting in my garage for years and would remain so for many more to come. It was not a family heirloom. I had paid nothing for it. But, it was an object of quality and beauty. I let it go to the charitable thrift store.

My wondering was answered on my very next trip to the thrift store. There, in the front window, was a table almost exactly the same as the one I’d given! I had my moment of reflective serendipity and it felt better than tickling my daughter. I smiled and joyously whispered, “Thank you.” I love it when these things happen. It makes me feel like I'm on the right road to happiness.

Reality check: would something like that ever happen in conventional retail? Not a chance because conventional retail is simply about money and mixing values with luxuries until you don’t know what you need versus what you want so you just spend hoping you’ll hit the mark of satiation.

Confusing, no? Well, you’ll probably spend more money when you’re confused. I’m certain this has been studied. Oh, and that mark of satiation is such a small mark, a shopper’s chances of hitting it are slim. So, they will keep shopping. And shopping.

When it comes to conventional retail the love or the money you give doesn’t really come back to you. It just seems to fall into a pit. Perhaps long ago, when storekeepers knew their customers there was a cycle of kindness and giving that sustained the community. Perhaps, a storekeeper would lend or give when families were hit low. Perhaps they cared about their customers well being. But, I just don’t get that warm and fuzzy feeling in a mall.

In these hard economic times, why not turn to the charitable thrift store? Participate fully. Donate and shop. What you give will come back to you in some other way that you need. And what you spend will directly help those in need.

My question has been answered. See, I was saving that table for my daughter’s when they leave the nest. Now I know, there will be a table at the charitable thrift waiting for them when they are in need of one.

What is your mark of satiation? Mine? A healthy family. Healthy friends. Education. Shelter and food. A Marc Jacobs bag is not going to sustain me and the cost could rival three months of groceries.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Learning when to let go

My neighbor offered it while cleaning out her garage when she moved. There must have been stars my eyes when she asked if I wanted it, free. It was an antique French Provincial dining table with two legs with brass caps. It wasn’t in mint condition but it was decent and could easily be refinished to near perfection. An elderly French woman had given it to my neighbor years before.

The table went into from her alley garage to ours. I needed to think about where to put it. It was soon apparent that there was no room for it in our modest 100 year-old home. But it was beautiful and I didn’t want to let it go. I thought I’d keep it for my daughter’s when they grow up.

As I have written many times, this recession has landed on my family like Dorothy’s house landed on the Wicked Witch of the East in Oz. Despite the fact that we’ve lived within our means during our 14-year marriage, Mr. Golightly and I have had to tighten an already tight belt and turn to the charities we used to support.

But there are always ways to give, even when your own pockets are empty. Upon cleaning out my youngest daughter’s closet of quality toys she no longer plays with and nice clothes that no longer fit, I turned to the garage in rounding up the donations for the charitable thrift. I donate by season. With children, I always have items to donate.

And there it was, the beautiful antique table, unused for years sitting in my garage and my neighbor’s garage before. I sighed knowing it was time to let it go. It will be many years before either of my daughters will need it and who knows where they’ll be when the time comes, they could be living on the other side of the planet.

So the table went to the charitable thrift store where I know it will sell for a handsome but fair price to someone who will be thrilled to have it and will put it to use now.

I’ll bet there are items in your home that are not in use that another person needs. When we let go of those items not only to we help a charitable organization, we open the possibility for another person to honor that object and welcome it’s use.

Maybe when my daughters are grown, there will be a beautiful table waiting for them in a thrift store to help them outfit their new homes. I don’t like to think of them leaving the nest, but they will someday. Hopefully they will participate in the thrift market. Maybe by then, reuse will be more common than now.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Air their dirty laundry

Catherine over at The Vegan Good Life sent me another great story. I’m not a germaphobe, but do draw the line on buying underwear at thrift stores, even though they have the original retail tag still dangling.

I love debunking conventional retail myths. Here’s one on, yup, dirty underwear from The Today Show.

So again, I say wash ALL clothes when you bring them from ANY store.

You just might be paying a full price on something used in conventional retail stores.

So why should thrift be so gross?

Thanks Catherine!