By Larraine Roulston:
Shop secondhand … first. On Thursday, August 17th, nonprofit thrift stores celebrate National Thrift Shop Day (also known as National Thrift Store Day). By supporting secondhand shops to purchase and donate items, you will save money, conserve resources and reduce waste. Buying gently used goods from thrift stores will also create “green” jobs as well as aid social service organizations.
This annual observance reflects the growing popularity of visiting a store with a diversity of goods that constantly changes. According to the Association of Resale Professionals, the reuse of items has turned into a multi-billion-dollar-a-year industry. These stores attract the vintage collector, hobbyist, and financially well-off, as well as those who are on a tight budget and everyone in-between.
Crafts: In the sewing corner, you’re apt to find the right tool, fabric or threads that you require. I have replaced broken knitting needles with ones displayed in a large jar containing many single needles. Wool can be found not only in a bin of various ball sizes, but also in sweaters or shawls that can be unraveled.
Sports: If you are contemplating taking up a new sport, it might be wise to pick up the equipment at a thrift store first to test your skill and enthusiasm. When my daughter and husband were deciding whether or not to join a tennis club, I surprised them with two decent racquets so they could determine whether or not they liked playing the game. Ice skates, skis, soccer shoes, pads, ball mitts and skateboards are usually found at large thrift stores.
Furniture: With a selection of odd chairs, desks and tables, students in particular will head for the nearest thrift store to furnish their first housing co-op.
Gifts: My grandkids know I purchase their books and puzzles at thrift stores. One year, the board game Battleship was on their Christmas list. Checking out my local Salvation Army thrift store, I found an original version in mint condition. With luck, you’ll spot that perfect ornament, picture or book as a gift.
Building or Renovating: Nothing beats shopping at Habitat for Humanity when you are looking for building supplies or fixtures. My latest acquisition from our local store included two wooden louver doors at $15 each and a beautiful large braided rug for $10.
Kitchen: Thrift stores are known for their large variety of glasses and mugs. This month, my neighbor failed to find a certain style of drinking glass she wanted at department and kitchen stores. As soon as she walked into a thrift store, though, she yelled, “Voilà!!” (my friend is French Canadian) and happily completed her mission. You’ll usually find what you need in the way of serving spoons, ladles, graters or potato mashers. At these stores you’ll notice they also have complete sets of china.
Stationery: As it’s a practical idea to have a few birthday, get well or sympathy cards on hand, check out the box that contains a mix of greeting cards.
Clean Rags: To find a suitable fabric to clean brushes, artists frequently rummage through the container of flannel and cotton shirts.
Thrift stores’ staffs and volunteers take pride in keeping their shelves and clothes racks clean and fresh. These are places where shoppers find delightful treasures at bargain prices. What’s more — no packaging! No lengthy transportation! By supporting thrift stores, citizens are engaging in the rising circular economy.
Larraine writes children’s illustrated adventure books on composting and pollinating. Visit www.castlecompost.com