I’ve been volunteering at the “New To You” second hand store in town for years now and thought I should take the time to explain what a worthwhile and important function these second hand stores play in our communities. The one I volunteer at actually donates all of their proceeds to a local mental health charity that helps people in need.Of course there are the obvious benefits of providing access to slightly used but very useful unwanted items to people and families who might not otherwise be able to afford them.
In our family we always got the most out of our clothes by handing them down to our younger brothers and sisters until they were all but worn out, but what if an item actually makes it to the end of the line and it still has lots of wear left in it? I know this is the case in smaller families where there aren’t any siblings to pass these clothes on to and the way kids grow out of clothes, it seems like such a shame to throw them away. Saving them in garbage bags somewhere until the next garage sale doesn’t seem like an efficient solution either. Why not donate them to your local second hand store and let them complete their function by cheaply offering them to other families who have children these clothes will fit?
I’ve always thought clothes were such a shameful waste of a family’s money anyway and spending all that money on brand names just didn’t seem like the right thing to do with a family’s limited resources. I figure that money is better spent on a camping trip or some other form of quality time then trying to keep your kids looking cool, but that’s my opinion and I guess I’m just old fashioned. Besides I’ve noticed lots of brand name stuff makes it into our second hand store anyway. Who’s going know that those jeans are used when the style these kids are into these days have them running around in tattered jeans that they intentionally rip holes in!
It’s not just clothes either that find their way into an appreciative family’s home. I know we get dishes and kitchen accessories and sports equipment and all kinds of useful things that people just don’t need anymore and it always makes me feel good to see that these things end up being useful again instead of being thrown away. Some of the bigger organizations that are in all the big cities are Salvation Army Thrift Store, Goodwill, Value Village and ReStore (which is run by Habitat for Humanity).
There are lots of individual stores like "New To You" as well which are run by ladies auxiliary groups and churches, etc. The idea is to promote the good work that they do with the money that they earn by reducing waste, reusing and recycling items that are still good and offering them at reasonable and affordable prices to people who are less fortunate or who simply like to prioritize where and how they spend their money. In turn, the money these organizations makes goes back into your own community to fund some very worthwhile programs.