I had someone ask me the other day: Why do you keep buying things at thrift stores and yard sales only to take even more stuff to your local Salvation Army? I was very surprised. The answer is very simple in my mind. Let me give you a couple of analogies to make it clearer.
To survive, everyone must go grocery shopping. Unless you grow everything you eat yourself that is. This comes with the responsibility of disposing of all of the accompanying refuse that comes with shopping – unless you are the Johnson family from Zero Waste Home , who I aspire to be like and will more than likely never accomplish. You must then recycle the things that you can and trash what’s left or you will find yourself swimming in home filled with garbage and recycle.
We all like new things, yes? I just prefer to find my new to me things at yard sales and thrift stores. When Denton and I first married, it was a huge blessing to our family of two that I came with all of the inherited knowledge I had from my own mother about thrifting. Way back in 1995 it was not a popular past time like it is now.
That first year, I worked for a bank in Old Town Alexandria in Virginia. One day at work one of the other young women complimented me on my outfit and asked me where I got it. Well, I had paid $2.00 for it at a yard sale earlier in the week on Route 1. She was stunned. She had never been to yard sale, heck, she had never been in a Wal-mart! She was from New York and it would never have entered her mind to shop at a yard sale. There’s nothing wrong with that either. If you have the disposable income to buy your new outfit at Nordstrom’s, not even on clearance!, that is your prerogative. For me though, I would rather find those gems at a yard sale for $2.00 and pocket the other $198.00 and put that towards our next adventure.
Here is a perfect example of something I bought earlier this year that is going away this weekend. It’s a beautiful throw. I love the color, and it is as soft as a cloud. It is absolutely perfect and I gave $2.99 for it at my local Goodwill. But, here is the problem I have with this particular throw. When I washed and dried it, we ended up having to take the dryer APART. This thing sheds like a baby alpaca in the dryer. I am shocked that the dryer didn’t catch fire while it was drying. The throw came out beautifully, but I cannot have things in my house that are that finicky and time consuming. Now, it can go live with someone who doesn’t have three cats who make their home on everything and therefore cause things to be washed and dried in the dryer.
I am very glad that I only paid $2.99 for this throw, because even though I still love the color and softness, I don’t feel too terribly bad about sending it away. Now, had I bought it at West Elm and given $160.00 for it, yes, that would have caused me to have heart palpitations. And then, I might have kept in it my house when I truly didn’t want it anymore. Which will not bring me joy.
I have had to learn over the years, that if I bring something home, something else
may will have to leave. So I use this as a balancing measure when I am out and about shopping at my lovely yard sales and thrift stores.
How do you balance shopping with donating? Nosy people want to know!
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