Why do local thrift stores have such a prohibitive policy on clothing donations? They take donations on certain days only or theyll take a minimum amount only. Interestingly, if you go inside to buy a shirt, theyre $5 each. It seems that they would want as many free shirts as possible. If the donations are bothersome, I can always throw away my gently used clothing. However, that seems terribly wasteful. Suggestions? Brenda Shockley
Throwing stuff away is a step in the right direction. But not the gently used items, mind you.
For every caring and conscientious donator like Brenda, theres a careless and clueless clothing creep who drops off multiple bags of worthless, perhaps toxic, apparel.
So Action Line is going to say something un-Durangolike: Most clothes shouldnt be recycled.
Thats right. Chuck em. In the trash. In the Dumpster. The one that goes to the landfill.
Bury the stuff under a pile of dirt and smash it down with a bulldozer.
Gasp! The crowd is shocked. They fall silent. Then they turn angry. Very angry.
And the next sound you hear is a mob forming to tar and feather Action Line for blasphemy.
But not so fast, all you miffed thrifters.
First, heating up a vat of tar contributes to global warming. Youll need to purchase some carbon offsets prior to committing acts of vigilantism.
Second, lets take a look at what local thrift stores have to deal with. Not everyone is like Brenda, who has a kind heart and some nice items in good condition.
When Action Line called some local thrift store, they sadly said they are overwhelmed by heaps of filthy, worthless, worn-out and useless clothing.
Were talking smelly shirts with gaping holes, pants with mysterious stains, unwashed socks, threadbare jackets, sweaters with moths and clothing boxes with mouse droppings or, in more than one case, actual mice.
Yup. Thats what some are donating. Thanks, but no thanks!
Thrift stores are drowning in the dregs from our drawers.
Our wonderful local thrift stores all depend on donations and reselling stuff supports a host of wonderful causes and charities. But theyve run out of storage space, and volunteers cant keep up.
As one anonymous thrift-store worker pointed out, If we have to wear rubber gloves while sorting, its not worthy of a donation let alone resale.
Thrift stores dont have the time, equipment or facilities to launder. Theyre not going to mend holes. Or fumigate.
We have plenty of cleaning rags, added another worker.
The flood of used clothes began about three years ago when the economy soured, said several thrift-store workers.
We thought donations would drop off, but the opposite was true, one manager said. And with the economy the way it is, people are buying a lot more, too.
Therein lies the rub. We hate not to accept donations, said a thrift store volunteer, but we cant keep up. We just have too many clothes.
So heres the simple rule. Before donating any clothing item to a thrift store, ask yourself: Would I wear this right now in its current condition? Would someone purchase this right now in its current condition?
A no to either, and it should go to the trash.
The adage one persons trash is another persons treasure is just secondhand smoke and mirrors. At least when it comes to clothes at local thrift stores.
Email questions to email@example.com or mail them to Action Line, The Durango Herald, 1275 Main Ave., Durango, CO 80301. You can request anonymity if you purge your vocabulary of the phrase, I betcha someone would like this.