Cindy’s Weekly Wisdom
My thrift-store shopping girlfriends, Holly, Natalie, and I hit The Goodwill Outlet last month. Goodwill, I believe, is the most common thrift store in the United States. In Austin, the Outlet is where everything not sold at the neighborhood stores goes to die (at least that’s how I think of it). It’s a massive, one room warehouse with another massive room for processing goods, and a separate area for the local offices of Goodwill – in total, a 124,200-square-foot (11,538 square meters) building.
There’s definitely a “last chance” quality to the store. Everything is put in waist-high, shallow big blue bins that are probably 4 foot by 5 foot. The merchandise is divided into clothes (probably half of the merchandise), books, and housewares. Everything is sold for $1.39 a pound. You literally push your cart onto a floor scale, and it gets weighed.
The blue bins are exchanged on a regular basis. I’m guessing that each bin is out for only about 3 hours before it is rolled away, and that’s it. Get it now, or it’s gone.
While some of the items are still in great condition, much of the merchandise has a slightly pick over quality to it; after all, it’s already been at a regular Goodwill store for a month or so, and it made me sad to watch the bins of housewares literally being dumped, sometimes accompanied with the sounds of glass breaking. There are clearly people there who are shopping professionally – one carts was filled with just VHS tapes, another filled with just books, plus plenty of folks who are either stocking up on clothing for selling at flea markets or in the used clothing markets in Mexico.
One disadvantage of the pricing system is that some of the housewares, which can be quite heavy, might now be more expensive than they were originally priced at the Goodwill. I considered buying a large set of Thomas the Train items, but because they’re wooden, they’re heavy, and the price was $40. That’s too much to risk on reselling.
Besides just being boggled by the amount of stuff, the strongest impression I left with was a desire to do more to place my no-longer-needed items into loving home, rather than sending them to the thrift store. I’m sure the person who donated the Thomas the Train set or the never used set of napkins never imagined they’d end up in the “last call” bin, and after 3 hours, they’re gone for good.
Today’s Declutter Item
Not long into my first year of decluttering I sold all of my kids ski gear on ebay, or at least I thought I did. I somehow managed to miss this jacket it must have been hiding in a different closet. Well it is sold now. Hopefully I also have a buyer for my husband’s and my ski gear too. Fingers crossed.
“In daily life we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy.” Brother David Steindl-Rast