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.


Sewfast said...

All of those things you mentioned sustain me too. Finding a Prada bag at the thrift store for $4.95? That's just living right! Seriously though, my Mama taught me that new does not equate better and living within your means makes you sleep better at night! Thanks for sharing your thriftiness and thoughts.

Karen in Pittsburgh said...

Great blog! The older I become the more I am perplexed by STUFF. Letting go of things is important. Your message of reuse, recycle, donate, and shop locally is important. Thanks for your entertaining and inspiring writing.

Di Hickman said...

There is also something else you aren't considering. Just because YOU like the table doesn't mean your daughters will. Sure a free table is nice but if it's not your style of decor then why take it? Better to pass it on through the thrift store of life and hope that karma comes back to your daughters when they want a table of their own

Shopping Golightly said...


Yeah, imagine all of us hoarding items for people who may not even want them.

Anonymous said...

Beautifully stated! Thanks for confirmation!

Summer said...

Another issue of course is the space that was formerly taken up by the table that you can use now. Part of living thrifty is not having palaces full of extra rooms. Feng shui experts go so far as to say that if there is no space in your life, your life will never expand - you have to make room for new things. I don't go that far, but I agree that your daughter will find a table to her own taste when she needs one. I do have things I store away for later, but I have limits.

Saver Queen said...

Learning when to let go is tough. We're weighing the benefits of living simply with the risk of being wasteful, and trying to manage our emotional attachments to stuff all the while. I think when you have the urge to let go of something it probably means that it's time to do so. Recently I posted my engagement ring online to sell it. That is a tough one too, but I know i need to let go of it. Letting go of meaningful items is difficult, but it can also be therapeutic and relieving, too.

You've given the table back to a place where it will be found, loved and treasured. Imagine the family who will buy it, love it, and be grateful that someone donated it. imagine the meals they will eat on it, the conversation they will cultivate. You had a hand in that, and isn't that lovely?

Jill said...

This post really touched me. I have renewed my love of thrifting recently. I quit when well meaning family members tsk-tsked me to death, saying that I deserved better than thrift-store merchandise. What I finally came to realize is that what I deserve are nice clothes that I don't have to pay a fortune for, so back to Goodwill I went!

I typically don't have a problem letting go of things because I know I'll find more treasures down the road. It's sort of like swapping with myself! :)

Alex M said...

I like that I can give away my stuff. It just isn't fun for me to sell it -- I like going to garage sales, but hate having them. And I don't have time to list/sell stuff either. Thrift stores offer me a convenient "out."

Also, I know some of the purses I've gotten at thrifts are likely knock-offs. I wouldn't buy one off the street because I have *some* morals. But if buying the piece benefits a thrift, then my conscience is clear!

More Style Than Cash said...

As an antique dealer I use to make my livelihood dealing in stuff and trust me, there is a LOT of stuff out there. I lost count the number of times I've been in homes, to do a appraisal or to buy, that were so crammed with stuff that you could barely walk around the room. Yes it was nice stuff but it was still just stuff. I totally agree that if you don't need it now then pass it on and it will come back to you latter in one form or another when you need it.

Anonymous said...

I've follow the comments on this blog regularly. One benefit is learning about related blogs and sites of interest; however, there have been a few posts that are blatantly self-serving and, as such, offer little or no benefit to the audience you've built. The recent post from Laguna Pearl Jewelry is a case in point. Pearls? (Used maybe, but then only at the right price.) When you do your legitimate culling of break-the-rules distasteful posts, please also consider removing transparent compliments designed to co-opt your readership.

Shopping Golightly said...


Thank you for your comment. I deleted the self-promoting comments. Didn't feel comfortable about them.

I'm constantly ignoring ad pitches to the blog because these are not related to reuse. It pits me in a pickle for compensation but maybe some day there will be more places that wish to advertise reused items.

I'm networked int BlogHer to help pay Stat Counter and am pleased they do run many ads for non-profits on my site - they allow me to pick ads and have a system that runs ads similar to the blogs content.

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