January 29, 2019

"Madison thrift stores feel the effects of the Marie Kondo decluttering craze."

The Cap Times reports:
NPR reported that thrift stores around the country are subject to a tidal wave of Kondo castoffs.... [I]t’s impossible to directly attribute the increase to Kondo.... But anecdotally, stores report hearing “Kondo” on the lips of donors and customers alike....

There’s no such thing as having too many donations, [said Alie Tronnes, manager of the Odana Road St. Vinny]....
Okay! I would have thought the glut was a reason to be more selective about what to take to Goodwill (or wherever) and what to just throw away. But I guess not.

38 comments:

Henry said...

For the record, the consignment stores are getting pickier.

robother said...

Oh, shit. What if the thrift stores start applying Kondo's principle in accepting or rejecting our junk?

MayBee said...

Perhaps they said they are moving into a condo.

mccullough said...

I prefer Spartan

Ralph L said...

I've got an immense amount of my parents' and grandparents' stuff to dispose of in the next few years. Thankfully, we're on a main street, so I can put most things on the curb and they're gone in a day or two. The big problems are distinguishing what is worth selling and then doing so. My sister just shifts stuff around.

Ralph L said...

Actually, the biggest problem is putting down the internet and getting off my ass.

The Cracker Emcee Refulgent said...

The Goodwill store in Olympia is getting very picky about what they’ll accept. Word is the guy manning the drop-off used to be a buyer for Nordstrom’s.

Original Mike said...

There's a St. Vinnys on Odana Road?

chillblaine said...

They say not to look a gift horse in the mouth. But this is not selfless giving, with regard to the low-income person who needs a donation. This is people getting rid of their useless shit. But they still hoard everything. But hey, let's give these fuckheads a medal.

Ralph L said...

Getting rid of pianos is nearly impossible here.

I've heard the young people aren't interested in old furniture and stuff.

MayBee said...

If you have furniture and stuff to get rid of, check (you can use the internet!) to see if there is a furniture bank in your area. Furniture banks will pick up furniture and household items and donate them to needy families.

tim maguire said...

They can be as picky as they want so long as they continue to stock unusual items at great prices. Drop either one of those and they may as well not exist.

Wilbur said...

You can call or contact online the VVA (Vietnam Veterans of America) and they will come to your house and pick up whatever you're getting rid of in the way of clothing small furniture, books, etc. And they'll leave you a signed receipt for your taxes.

At least in South Florida.

Fernandistein said...

I assume it's fake news, what with the lack of actual information ("We don't really keep track, we're not sure, maybe 10%...like you suggested..?!")

Internet searches for "thrift store" and "online thrift store" show only the slightest trend around Jan 1, 2019, and they're NOT in the direction indicated by NPR in it's self-advertisement, er, article.

https://trends.google.com/trends/explore?date=2018-12-25%202019-01-10&geo=US&q=thrift%20store

https://trends.google.com/trends/explore?date=2018-12-25%202019-01-10&geo=US&q=thredup

Ralph L said...

The Salvation Army store in sight of me became a popular slot machine den for a few years (in sight of police HQ). Now it's empty. The SA has a truck, but they and Goodwill moved their stores to the rich end of town.

My sister could really use the money, but I can't get her to try selling anything, even the step-monster's (Nordstrum) clothes she can't wear. I'm not looking forward to her waiting for me to croak--but then she'll get to deal with all the stuff.

Mr. Forward said...

48 HOUR SALE on all Global Warming items.

Fernandistein said...

Searches for "goodwill" and "salvation army" decreased right after Kondo was on NPR:

https://trends.google.com/trends/explore?date=2018-12-25%202019-01-10&geo=US&q=goodwill

Nonapod said...

It's a simple truth that while money money can't guarantee lasting happiness, the problems of excessive affluence are far more preferable to the problems of excessive poverty.

As the basic standard of living of the world increases thanks to increased automation, robotization, and increasingly sophisticated machine intelligence, one may conclude that it will mean fewer problems. But it's really just trading old problems for new problems, but those new problems will be far more preferable.

Bruce Hayden said...

Good friend grew up in the charitable thrift store business, then in mid life moved over to what he called the "rag business", which meant buying used clothing that charitable thrift stores didn't want, and shipping it to third world country. They made a killing up until 9/11, when imports and exports crashed. They knew the secondary market for used clothing from selling it for so long, built sorting facilities far enough out of major ports to avoid the Longshoremen unions, and shipped their containers around the world. Ever wonder why the kids in sub Saharan Africa are running around in Adidas logo clothes and western tennis shoes? This is probably why. Not all of it is economically resellable somewhere in the world, like, probably the used underwear that the Clintons used to take tax deductions for, and some of that actually gets turned into rags, and even, I believe, paper. So, I never feel bad about dropping off pretty much anything, including my used underwear, at the Goodwill about a mile from here.

What is bad though is that I am contemplating building a bigger house here in AZ, and another garage in MT, partially for all of our stuff. I am at least at the point of donating more clothes than I am buying (except for shoes, underwear, and jeans, I easily have enough clothing to last the rest of my lifetime). My partner though isn't there yet. She has two large walkin closets filled with a lot of expensive clothing that she is loathe to go through. She seems to be of a mind these days of going to Ross and buying outfits for the rare times that she needs something beyond jeans. This is a subject that we don't discuss - partially, I think because she probably doesn't fit into many of those expensive outfits in the two big closets, but soon (ha ha ha) will, and partially maybe because she doesn't remember everything there, despite her claim to a photographic memory (something that most people grow out of when the hit full adulthood). I take advantage of the latter, of course, which is why her donations come close to matching our purchases for her in terms of clothing. I did kinda get caught the other day though, with her assuming that the fancy shredder in the garage was hers. In reality, I had donated both of our shredders to justify buying a new fancier one from Costco.

My weakness right now is tools. I finally have a workshop (corner of the garage) and it needs tools. A lot of them. The problem is that we have a Harbor Freight, Home Depot, and Sam's Club all within a block or so, about 10 miles away in Goodyear. Harbor Freight has the problem for me that they are always sending me flyers for their sales, and they inevitably have the exact gadget that I might need next year. That sort of thing. Making things worse, with the new garage in MT, I will need to stock a workshop there too. Of course. And if that isn't enough, we have a Goodwill store less than a mile from the house, and every other Sunday they have a half price sale. Still, I am comfortably ahead with them, donating more than I am buying there.

Anthony said...

I got on the decluttering bandwagon years ago. Then after cleaning out my mom's house (in Fond du Lac!) that was packed to the gills with stuff -- she wasn't a hoarder, more of a Depression-era packrat (and some other family-related things) -- and moving ourselves, I became Stuff-Averse.

In my new home, nothing makes me more pleased than empty drawers and cabinets.

Ralph L said...

I will need to stock a workshop there too.
I'm working on two adjacent houses, and the tool, or whatever, I need is always in the other one--but not where I remember putting it.

robother said...

Bruce Hayden: "...have the exact gadget that I might need next year."

Perfect description of the tool-hoarding mind. I recall the mass of tools in my dad's garage when he died, and went through my collections when I bought a new tool chest last year. It is amazing the single-purpose tools you gather over the course of 40 plus years of home repair. One trouble is, by the time a second occasion comes around when you need it, you often forget you have it.

For a lot of men, there must be an adaptive hoarding gene from thousands of years of tool scarcity, that, like fat storage, has become maladaptive in an environment of plentiful cheap tools.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

@ Bruce

Paring down the collections of stuff is hard.

My husband is currently going through his workshop building (1400 sq ft) where he has sooooo much stuff. An accumulation of parts and tools from his years in the plumbing business, his current tools and inventory from our pump and well business, old tools from his grandfather's farm and logging tools from his father's operation.

In addition, he can't turn down a yard sale for tools or "found" antique items that abound in our area. Clients move out of their property and leave all sorts of "treasures" behind. Tools....hmmmm a common theme /facepalm :-D

Trying to pare down the hoard (yes hoard!) we have been listing items on Craigslist and selling many of the interesting items, duplicates...lots of duplicates, antique tools, vintage auto parts, antique hand pumps, and even a 33 Dodge sedan body (4 suicide doors) that was yard art for quite some time.

Yay for paring down the load. Now....to get busy in the house with my own hoard and have a big yard sale this spring!!

Caligula said...

There's a huge market in Africa for used clothing that fails to sell in American thrift stores. At least when its not in the XXXL size that all too many Americans wear.

That would seem to be good news for Africans, who like the clothing and have been able to buy it at low prices.

Of course, such a thing can't be allowed to continue, as clothing manufacturers in many African countries have demanded protectionist quotas to limit this in-demand, low-cost competition.

Here's a (rather clueless) look at this trade:
https://qz.com/africa/1245015/trump-trade-war-us-suspends-rwanda-agoa-eligibility-over-secondhand-clothes-ban/

MayBee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Renee said...

You need to know where the 'niche market' for someone's collection. Not all things I feel are hoards.

No one wants your furniture. No one. I hate the fact when people try to dump their stuff on us, yes I'm not as affluent as my peers. It's a big issue in a your somehow fall into this 'pity' category. We don't want your crap.

If you really felt that we could have put whatever you had to good use, you woudl have handed it down years ago instead of letting it sit your basement.

Birches said...

Sorry I disagree Renee. Until recently, most of our furniture came free from other people. I'm happy they thought they needed better stuff. My kids are going to destroy anything we get, it might as well be stuff I didn't spend money on.

Matt said...

There's a market for used furniture. There are some niches (e.g., used Mid-Century Modern furniture) where people are willing to spend quite a bit of money for even partially broken and scratched furniture. Frankly, I have no idea why someone would spend more money for furniture made with wood paneling and plywood than they would spend for something made out of actual wood, but who can argue with taste?

There's also a vigorous resale market for tools. Might not want to sell your father or grandfather's old tools. There's probably a buyer out there who is willing to pay a premium for them.

MadTownGuy said...

We tried to give away a serviceable Wurlitzer organ before our latest move. Nobody wanted it. Who knew it would be so hard to be an organ donor?

Anthony said...

There's also a good market for vintage stereo equipment. Like pre-1990s, mostly 1970s. Anything with brushed aluminum faceplates, not the black stuff. Used to be you could grab that stuff for a song, but it started getting pricier, shortly after I got into it. I've seen bidding wars on old receivers. Pioneer SX-1050 receivers go for at least $1000.

Anthony said...

MadTownGuy said...
We tried to give away a serviceable Wurlitzer organ before our latest move. Nobody wanted it. Who knew it would be so hard to be an organ donor?


Ha.

But yeah, those things most often go to the dump.

Freeman Hunt said...

If you have a refugee resettlement organization in your area, they take furniture to set up houses and apartments for people who are beginning life anew in this most excellent country with nothing.

Freeman Hunt said...

Places here seem happy to take furniture. If you go inside and see the broken down, should-have-gone-to-the-dump stuff that a lot of people drop off, you'll see why.

Caroline Walker said...

I’m beginning to put a greater premium on things I already have....mending, shortening and altering instead of giving away simply because the quality of clothing is taking a nosedive, I’ve noticed. Thin ply cottons, buttons so poorly stitched they come off with a simple tug of a thread, poor quality home decorating items. Cheap cheap cheap. Mend the old stuff!

CJinPA said...

ALSO, tax experts have been advising people to load up on stuff fro two years and donate it in bulk to better take advantage of write-offs.

Which either contributes to or counters this trend.

Ralph L said...

I've bought a new coffee table and mattress, and an old chair and chest of drawers in my 58 years. Everything else in my 1850 sqft is Mother's or older (Grandma put my name on her best antiques to keep them out of the hands of the step-monster). The mattress I use is solid cotton felt from 1944.

Henry said...

Slightly on-topic, I just ran across this article about how liquidators will buy palette fulls of Amazon returns... and throw most of it away. Good cafe post, I guess:

On Amazon’s website, sophisticated sorting algorithms relentlessly rank and organize these products before they go out into the world, but once the goods return to the warehouse, they shake free of the database and become random objects thrown together into a box by fate. Most likely, never will this precise box of shit ever exist again in the world. On liquidation.com, each pallet’s manifest comes with suggested prices for each product in a pristine state. If you add them up, the “value” of the box might be $4,000, while the auction price might only come to $200.

BudBrown said...

They don't want The New Yorker. Ok, any magazines. But hey, The New Yorker. I now wear dark shades and a ball cap when I take 2 or 3 to the library where I accidently leave them on the bench outside and fantasize that somebody is like, Wow, New Yorkers. And they're like new, they've never been read.