January isn’t usually a busy month for thrift stores. The weather makes it difficult for people to haul boxes out to their cars and unload them at the other side. However, thanks to Marie Kondo’s cleanups, thrift stores are overflowing with goods.
Netflix aired “Tidying up with Marie Kondo” on New Year’s Day, which was just in time for those resolutions and while people were still on vacation and had time to sort through their closets. Marie encourages people to ask if their possessions ‘spark joy’ and, if they don’t pass muster, it’s to the thrift store they go!
Marie’s methods have struck such a chord that thrift stores and charity shops have been overwhelmed with donations. Ravenswood Used Bookstore in Chicago claimed that it took just two days to get a month’s worth of donations after Marie’s show aired. From Facebook, “The good news is, we have a LOT of new books. The bad news is, we need a nap! Phew!”
Goodwill stores in Washington said donations were up 66% while one location claimed to see a 375% increase.
Some locations are asking people to refrain from dumping items next to overflowing charity bins. Items that don’t make it into the bin are considered spoiled and must be relegated to the landfill, regardless of the condition they are in. Spoiled and broken items cost charities valuable resources as they have to be processed by landfills. Jamie Mackay from Lifeline claimed that dealing with overflowing donation bins can cost upwards of 30 per cent of the charity’s funds.
The influx of donations is both a blessing and a curse. Charity shops have more to offer, but consumers are also buying less.
Decluttering is a wonderful idea, as long as it is backed by a reduction in consumerism in the future. If you are going to donate to charity, be responsible in the way you go about it. Do not leave items outside of donation bins, check to see if friends and family want items before you give them away and always put the right items in the bins.