Thursday, June 7, 2012

Donating & Garage Sale Tips

We started collecting donations for refugees back in 2010 when we didn't even ask for them. People would just leave items on my porch or ask if they could give us some things they had. We always said sure! And from there we figured out that it was way easier for someone to give us their "Goodwill" stuff than it was for them to give us even $1. And we knew that we could give the items away to the families that needed the items and then sell anything leftover to use for their real needs.

I love having garage sales. I know, some of you are thinking that you HATE having garage sales. Well, great! Donate your stuff to City of Refuge! My husband also hates them too, so he understands! But I love garage sales because I get to meet interesting people that I would never meet otherwise. And the people buying the items feel like they are getting a good deal and we are making money for our non-profit so we feel like we are getting a good deal. I see it as a win-win. But yes, it is a lot of work.

I thought it might be fun to write a light-hearted guide as to what you should donate/sell or what you should just throw away.

I have found that it is hard for many of us to just throw stuff away. When I was a kid I was even taught this. If I had a shirt with a stain on it we would often donate it. I remember thinking "maybe some poor person would like this." I think that's the problem. We see "some poor person" as a person who really doesn't exist in America. Some of my friends are the poorest people in our city and they like the same kind of clothes we do.  They don't want a shirt that's stained, shorts that ripped, or an outfit that was from 2 decades ago. So here is a general guideline:

1) Organs - I learned this the hard way. No one wants an organ. Don't accept one unless YOU want one. And definitely don't do what I did and hire an electric company to fix a cord on it. Lesson learned.

2) T-shirts from Events - Throw them away. No one wants your Blood Drive shirt from 2005.

3) Stained Clothes - Throw them away. The non-profit you give the item to is just going to throw them away, so save them a step and you throw it away yourself. You can do it. Make the clothes into something if you need to, but don't donate them.

4) Ripped Clothes - I had someone this week donate a jacket that had so many rips I didn't even care to start counting and ripped shorts. It's ok. Throw them away. You don't want it and no one else does either.

5) Dirty Underwear - No kidding. Throw them away.

6) Bras - Believe it or not they sell very well. Donate them.

7) Swimsuits - They are also a hot item. Donate them!

8) Clothes from 2 Decades ago that still aren't cool - Throw them away.

9) Knick Knacks - Even the oddest ones sell, so donate all of them!!

10) Christmas trees with a strand of lights that are out - Unless you personally know someone who wants it throw it away. You can post it on Facebook and see if you can find someone but these do not sell because garage sales are held in the summer and hardly anyone is thinking about Christmas when it's hot.

11) Baby Items - Everyone loves this stuff, so donate it!

12) Towels/Washcloths - Great items to donate!

13) VHS tapes that you or your dad taped shows on - I know you really enjoyed these shows growing up but no one wants to buy them so just throw them away. Many people don't even have a VHS player anymore so it's hard enough to sell the ones in the nice packages.

14) Old TVs - Ok, so I don't know why but these don't sell. I would see if anyone you know needs a TV. We donate them and I really don't understand why people won't buy the used ones even when we have them plugged in and a show playing on them.

15) Kitchen Items - Hot items! Donate them because lots of people need kitchen stuff and you can easily sell them in a garage sale if you price it right.

So, here is just a start. Thanks for donating to City of Refuge and the other non-profits in town.