I am an avid thrift store shopper. I am also an equally avid thrift store donater. Sometimes, I return an item to a thrift store with their own tags still on it because I never wore it, and every book I buy I donate back within a few weeks. It’s my way of justifying purchasing at a thrift store when I could buy my clothing and items new, and also a great way to get rid of good items I just don’t need around my house. I am quite surprised at the junky things that hit the shelves that people actually dared to donate. Here are the appropriate things to donate to thrift stores and charity, and the things you should just throw away.
Clothing is always appreciated, but not your pit-stained, holey, and torn clothes. Jeans without zippers, blouses missing buttons, and white shirts stained to yellow always creep up in thrift stores, and some poor soul is going to buy it without realizing the zipper is completely gone or broken, or that all the buttons are MIA. If you are donating clothing, don’t donate clothes that you wouldn’t give to your friends or family. In other words, don’t donate blood-stained underwear, sweaters with moth holes in them, shirts with dark armpit stains, or worthless clothing. Be fair, donate nice clothing that others would be proud to wear. Thrift stores and donation stores are not garbage dumps.
Electronics that don’t work. Lamps without switches or cords, toys that don’t turn on even with batteries, and TVs that have no functioning buttons, VCRs and DVD players that don’t run, etc should just be junked or taken to an electronic store or pawn shop to try to get parts out of. Somebody who sees a $4 DVD player will be very disappointed when it doesn’t read disks. Don’t donate electrical trash unless you put a note on it what does and does not work. Not all thrift stores check electronics before they hit the shelves.
Don’t donate shoes that have holes in them clear through, or are so damaged that they can’t be worn comfortably. I’ve passed over shoes that had soles falling off, broken and knotted laces, the insides ripped out, and holes that you could see your socks through. These shoes are crap- don’t donate them. Donate shoes that you would be comfortable wearing to the store if you had to- if you’re too embarrassed to wear them due to their condition, trash them.
Stray away from donating books that have been scribbled and highlighted in so much that a new reader can’t enjoy it. Likewise, don’t donate children’s books that have torn, missing, or colored on pages. Also, make sure to take out personal belongings in your books that you’ve used as bookmarks, like pictures, letters, postcards, and even money. I once bought a book that had $200 in it- 2 $100 bills tucked inside, and returned the cash to the register. I can’t believe money like that would be in a donated book. (note: the money was unable to be relocated to the owner, obviously, so the money went to the local Deseret Industries vocational training program to rehabilitate people into the working field, which is a terrific cause in that it helps rehabilitated felons, addicts, homeless people, and mentally challenged people find work. Silent and possibly unaware donater, be proud!!!) Feel free to donate books in good or great condition, even if the cover has been torn off. If the whole story is still there, it will still get read.
Above all, just donate items you are proud of. Don’t donate your broken chairs, tables, entertainment centers, stained clothes, torn up shoes, and jacked up books. If you wouldn’t put it in a yard sale or give it to someone you know, don’t donate it to charity or a thrift store.