The lot at our neighborhood Goodwill is a bottleneck of cars queued up to donate holiday gift castoffs, some still in boxes with “To/From” tags still affixed; coffee machines, mixers, and televisions replaced by gifted upgrades; and other purged during the last minutes of 2010 to snag the documentation for a tax write off come April, 2011. (Mr. Golightly does the taxes and gives the skinny on tending to those in his post "Thrifty tax time".)
Straggler donations will continue to filter in through January when "organizing stores" urge Americans to dig through their closets and purge by offering annual sales on closet shelving and storage bins. Which begs the question - do we need more bins or less stuff?
This makes January an exceptional month in thrift stores. One can score a two-year old TV for a tiny fraction of the original price. Wary that it might not work? Find an outlet in the store and plug it in. Also, Goodwill (and the other giants of thrift) have return policies, so just ask. It amazes me how Americans are so quick to rush out and purchase the newest generation of an electronic product that rapidly depreciates in value - and the next generation of this very same products is being produced in factories and will be available as soon at it can be shipped across the Pacific, clear customs and get trucked off to the discount retailer.
It is also the start of men’s suit season when gentlemen clean out their closets to forgo what no longer fits. Some gentlemen finally come clean and admit they're never going to have that size 32 waist ever again. I believe there was a Seinfeld dedicated to Jerry marking his Levis the size he used to be.
Today I scouted in my routine ten minute surgical strike:
New toys and games still in the plastic wrap. One that caught my eye was a plastic case ten plush animals for baby all neatly arranged with the FAO Schwarz tags dangling from the handle. A gift tag on the bottom read "For Ben" from an undecipherable signature. Why Ben’s parents didn’t want these animals, I know not. Perhaps Ben’s nursery is already full. Goodwill priced it at $5.99. Too bad I don’t have any infants in my life. There were Barbies and tea sets and no doubt more is to arrive.
An unopened hefty plastic casing container displaying a SiPix Stylecam Blink II Digital Camera for $5.99. Amazon has this camera discounted from $139.99 to $118.20, I don’t believe that includes shipping. For an original sale price of $140, I must say that the original packaging looks like hell anyway. Despite it being new, I’ll repackage it to make it look more enchanting.
A darling set of spring green new childrens wooden lawn furniture: a love seat; an Adirondack chair; and a picnic table for $34.99.
In addition, new kitchen electronics like a tea steeper - it looks like a coffee maker for tea. But, I love my vintage British Simplex whistling copper pot found for $6. It’s a classic design, Simplex still makes it today. Click here to see it, it’s the first model. I never knew of Simplex tea kettles until I started thrift shopping. Shopping thrift has provided me a very in depth product education. Probably one that most retailers don't want me to have.
More, you say? Many new clothes with tags still dangling and a few vintage coats that I adored. But, I already have more gorgeous vintage coats and capes than I can wear in a week. It’s a weakness of mine. Fortunately the cost I paid for my entire cashmere blend collection doesn’t even come close to the cost of something similar from a department store. And, I must come clean, I love the compliments. The mean part of me loves telling people it’s a one of a kind vintage I found for $15. Sorry, it’s fun to accept a compliment on something that other people can’t rush out and buy at the local mall. In a wicked sort of way it makes it MINE!
Here’s where this gets really interesting, tomorrow when my neighborhood Goodwill opens it’s doors at 8AM, most everything in that store will be 50% off. Same goes for all the Goodwill stores in the Denver metro area.
I am not a person who gets up at 3AM to stand in line to go shopping, but tomorrow is another day. 8AM? That’s not so bad considering it only takes me five minutes to get to the store and I can slap my black beret over my bed head. Or, maybe I’ll wait until the early evening when the crowd has died down and the stock room continues to roll out the dress racks and the gray bins because the New Year's Day re-stocking process never ends at the thrift store. They're getting swamped with donations and want to keep the mill moving.
If you have young children, you might enjoy taking up the tradition of A Letter From Baby New Year, a post from our sister blog Mommy Golightly.