Tag Archives: feel-good

shopping for free

24 Oct

I dislike it when I get sucked into a site with an enticing headline. Apologies for doing it to you but I promise I won’t do it again (for a few months anyways, hehe) but I think this topic is important to be aware of and will make you feel good too!

There comes a time when you just want to get rid of your clothes. Maybe you want a new style or things just feel blah. You can try to sell it on Craigslist/ List4all, consign it, give it away, re-purpose it (white t-shirt -> rag), or donate it. Donating your clothes is definitely the easiest way to get rid of your clothes but where you donate your items should  be a strategic place that will benefit most from your donations (not profit thrift stores like those run by Dave Hester from Storage Wars! You know you like that show too…)

However, donating items to  bigger thrift stores like Value Village and Salvation Army is easy because most people are aware of them and there are multiple locations across the Lower Mainland. While the Salvation Army does do a lot of charity work, and I applaud their efforts, profits from the thrift stores are actually surprisingly small ($12,103) when compared to monetary donations ($182,561) according to their financial summary for 2011.

Instead of donating items to these larger thrift stores, I prefer to donate to organizations that give away items for free to those who need it. For example, when I lived in Surrey, I did some research and found a couple of places that accepted the items I wanted to donate and gave away these items for free. One of my top feel-good moments in my life was when I brought some of my clothes (and children’s clothes from my sister) to Whalley Family Place where they had a little “shop” set up where parents and their children could come in, grab a basket and shop through the racks of nicely hung clothing for free. While I was there donating, a mother and daughter came in and you could tell that the little girl was really excited to go shopping for clothes, toys and school supplies.

In addition, I also found a place to donate a lot of my unused toiletries like hotel shampoos, soaps, makeup, etc. to the Surrey Women’s Centre where they give free clothing and personal toiletry kits to women living in poverty or fleeing domestic abuse. I knew there had to be a use for 10 bottles of body wash, shampoo and conditioner I would lug home with me from every vacation!

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It just takes a little bit of research to find a place in your neighbourhood that would give away your donations for free. A good place to start is with Google using keywords like “your city name” and “free childrens/ womens/ mens/ household/ etc. donations” and see what comes up.

Depending on what you are giving away, you might be able to tailor your search even more with items like dress clothing with dedicated places like Dress for Success Vancouver.    

Note: when donating, don’t donate “garbage” items. If you wouldn’t use it/wear it because it’s broken, ripped or stained, then it’s probably not a good thing to donate. For an interesting and amusing article on the cost of getting rid of these garbage items (and a picture of a dirty stained boxer briefs, haha) check this out.