Charity Shops: Why They Beat the Rest of the High Street as a Retail Experience

By Esther Pugh, Senior Lecturer in Retail Marketing and Consumer Behaviour, Leeds Beckett University. Originally published at The Conversation

A bone china teapot, a pair of leather brogues, a poetry book, a velvet coat, an embroidered tablecloth and a saucepan. These are just a few of the things I have recently bought from charity shops – where someone else’s trash became my treasure.

I have also donated a big bag full of unwanted toys and games. Hopefully, my cast-offs are destined to become the precious discoveries of others too, stumbled across in a serendipitous browsing session.

This circular relationship is just one of the many joys of charity shops. They extend the usefulness of objects, which instead of ending up in landfill, are appreciated by new owners. Second-hand donations make up 90% of an averagecharity shop’s product range, comprising mostly clothing, but also furniture, homeware, books and much more.

Yet with growing awareness of the benefits of a circular economy, a certain discernment has developed among charity shoppers which has influenced the relevant language in recent years. Instead of “second-hand clothes”, we now speak of “antique artefacts”, and “pre-loved” or “vintage” finds. What was once considered scruffy is now “shabby-chic”.

So charity shops are no longer the preserve of those seeking cheaper goods out of necessity, but the highly revered stamping ground of savvy shoppers. These knowing consumers are not just in search of everyday useful items, but seek creative and artistic trophies, swooping like jackdaws onto rich assortments of paraphernalia in these contemporary Aladdin’s caves.

The economic value of charity shops is considerable too. There are currently over 11,000 of them in the UK, raising approximately £270 million a year for all kinds of important work. This means vital funding for medical research, tackling poverty, improving child welfare, and a multitude of other causes.

Charity shops also epitomise a business concept known as the “triple bottom line”, which argues that companies should have three key imperatives: people, planet and profit. For while these stores make money for their charities, they also have social and environmental benefits.

As a social good (apart from supporting charitable work), they provide employment in the UK to 25,000 people, and volunteering opportunities to another 233,000. These volunteers often benefit psychologically from their roles, with many overcoming loneliness while developing confidence and self-esteem.

From an environmental perspective, charity shops keep goods in circulation which might otherwise be thrown away, saving local councils in the UK at least £31 million a year as they divert 339,000 tonnes of clothing textiles from being thrown into landfill, and reducing CO₂ emissions by millions of tonnes.

So while retailers in the “first-hand” sector grapple with the dilemma of how to be more sustainable while depending on continuous consumption, charity shops are at the forefront of sustainable retail. They deliver slow fashion to thoughtful consumers, and provide new purposes for donated goods.

Of course, the chance of bagging a bargain is a major draw for many shoppers too. Charity shops provide a rich array of affordable goods, and allow even those on modest incomes to upgrade to designer brands. Yes, you really can find a Burberry trench coat for £30 – you just need patience and a willingness to practise your treasure-hunting skills.

Recycled Retail Therapy

Charity shops are uniquely experiential. They are special retail spaces which satisfy a desire for individuality and authenticity, providing a thrilling shopping experience which engages all the senses.

One study even highlights the pleasure that people gain from spending time in these relaxed and informal environments – as a welcome antidote to the meticulously designed retail spaces of first-hand shopping, offering abandonment and chance instead of curated perfection.

Charity shop environments have certainly evolved. Until fairly recently, research suggests they were often regarded as “dark, smelly” and disorganised places. Today, the majority have undergone a transformation, becoming light, bright and pleasant places to visit.

Their challenge for the future will be to maintain that feeling of discovery, surprise and escapism which sets them apart from mainstream shopping. They will also continue to rely on donations from the public – whether they’re unwanted Christmas gifts or toys that children have grown out of (there was a surge in donations after the first lockdown when many households decided to spend some of their enforced time at home clearing out wardrobes and cupboards).

If the donations continue to flow, the cabinets, shelves and rails of charity shops will be freshly stocked with all manner of wonderful items looking for a new home – and providing the ultimate in guilt-free shopping. It’s hard (for me) to imagine a better pastime than something that combines supporting good causes, saving waste and spending very little.

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48 comments

  1. PlutoniumKun

    I have to admit to being – quite literally – allergic to charity shops. I’ve a mild dust allergy and every time I go into one I end up snuffling and sneezing. So I’ve never appreciated been dragged through them as several friends of mine have tried over the years.

    I do know people in the charity sector, and they tell me that a well positioned and well run charity shop can be spectacularly profitable for the charities. But from what I can understand, they were particularly hard hit by covid. Fast online fashion has also seemingly undermined a lot of their business models. They get overwhelmed with crappy stuff that was very cheap to begin with, and can hardly be sold on, and they’ve lot the cost advantage of selling stuff to young people looking for bargains.

    Reply
    1. Susan the other

      You make a good case for banning single-use clothing. Cheap, flimsy fabric and fabrication have no real shelf life; no extended usefulness except to pollute the planet both in their manufacture and disposal.

      Reply
    2. James Simpson

      Is there good evidence apart from your nose that charity shops have a dustier air than any other? I would be surprised if it’s the case.

      Reply
  2. David Jones

    Charily shops also are much treasured also by Vinyl addicts.My eldest son has happily spent the last 20 years seeking rare and esoteric records in charity shops.

    Reply
    1. Eric The Fruit Bat

      Yep – I wound up donating 100 classical records to Goodwill because the local record store only bought rock and jazz records. When I went in to Goodwill, I saw they had priced the albums at $4 each – so I know how much my donation is worth come tax time.

      Reply
      1. juno mas

        Charity shops are called thrift stores in my town. They are organized as non-profits, so there is no sales tax on the items sold. In my town that’s a near 10% discount.

        Reply
  3. PressGaneyMustDie

    “The problem with charity shops is you eventually run out of other peoples’ stuff.”
    Dame Margaret Thatcher

    Reply
  4. The Rev Kev

    My mother passed away before the pandemic started and my sister and I had to clean out her place. A lot of it went to the Salvoes charity shop in the hopes that what she had accumulated could find a new home. To my surprise when I was walking through that place, I found a wealth of items of high quality in that place and it occurred to me that perhaps this was a result of the baby-boomer generation aging out and having to downsize as they moved into aged care or just passing away from age. For a young couple that wanted good quality gear to furnish their places with, there was a lot to choose from and I wonder how many did. Certainly if you wanted quality clothes that lasted more than a single season, there was lots to choose from and I recall a reader here saying that she chose clothes from decades ago because not only did it last but that it was well styled and made her look stylish.

    Reply
    1. Sue inSoCal

      Hi Rev, that would be me. I’ve avoided the thrift stores that have the “CEO at the top” formula. When I lived in the Seattle area, there were 2 little vintage shops each owned by one person. (Wonder if they still exist, I doubt it.) That’s where I bought the 1940’s camel hair coat. $30! Down here, the market is dominated by Angel View. Angel View is everywhere. (I have read that their care homes aren’t the greatest to work for. Lost the site – Glassdoor?)

      Reply
    2. Anon

      I also wrote about buying vintage clothes because they are quality classics, made to last. Two of my best charity shop purchases: a black 100% cashmere coat for $5 and a grey alpaca coat for $3. Both are from the 1950’s. They are beautiful coats and very warm.

      Reply
  5. Ross reller

    My wife and I are thrift store “addicts”. We have spent considerable time discussing why such amazing pieces of art, pottery, designer furniture and clothing and china are donated by the owners to charity which monetize these gifts to support a higher cause. In the case of our favorite store run by a Jewish community center, the money funds a women’s shelter. The cheapest kitchen and bath donations go first to the clients they serve, leaving higher quality china, ceramics and silver plate for the store to resell. We joke that we are depriving poor people of having nice things. But the sheer volume of donations never abates, driven by both Marie Kondo’s advice to discard what no longer gives us joy but also by mobility. When adults live hundreds of miles from their departed parent(s) it is far easier to make a phone call to a charity to take everything than to transport or resell individual i terms. IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad was an avid frequenter of thrift shops and only bought his clothing there. He also recycled tea bags and was known to keep the salt and pepper packets in restaurants (wiki). And there is a whole subset of thrift specialists such as those who resell all they buy on sites like ETSY or EBAY and seek out premium resale items such as Patagonia clothing. Our joyful addiction.

    Reply
    1. PR

      “IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad was an avid frequenter of thrift shops and only bought his clothing there. He also recycled tea bags and was known to keep the salt and pepper packets in restaurants (wiki).”

      All these types of things being said about Kamprad are just corporate PR for the employees to accept their low salaries.

      There was a lot of hush-hush about his vineyards and properties owned around the world. Top notch luxury.

      Reply
  6. The Meandering Monkey

    I am not so sure ‘charity shops’ are accurately being presented for what they are being utilized for. Perhaps the simmering class and socioeconomic divide is a bit more prominent than in previous years due to more affluent members engaging them (as well as other more prominent social/political trends).
    In some sense, a chum in the water situation; one which is always symbolically violent for those truly benefiting from such shops.
    From my experience simply observing, there are many issues at hand here, however, the most glaring one is that such a focus on ‘vintage’ and ‘upcycled’ clothes provides a level of class/status camouflage. Though people are not as fooled as the affluent would like for them to be; as many know, it’s not difficult to spot a have in the waters of the have-nots for a number of reasons.
    Just some thoughts to consider, especially as the majority of the reused items are ‘throw-away-fashion’ in and of themselves. Perhaps another example of the marketing sphere distortion in presentation, and the interests such business comes to speak on behalf of.

    Reply
  7. Arizona Slim

    I’ll go you one better: Finding it for free.

    Matter of fact, I’m gathering up some no-longer-needed things for a trip to the Free Table. It’s on a side street in a residential neighborhood that’s about a mile and a half away from the Arizona Slim Ranch. To make things super-green and environmentally friendly, I’m going to transport my Free Table donation with my trusty bicycle.

    If I find something interesting at the Free Table, so much the better!

    Reply
    1. howseth

      The county headquarters/distribution center of Goodwill- here in Santa Cruz – used to be a couple blocks from where we live. Hordes of people would arrive in the AM. A joyous experience, in a way – some people going to re-sell stuff.
      Goodwill moved – however, the apartment complex we live in -a ‘Tax credit’ place for artists on modest to low income – set up a Facebook page primarily for security reasons (funky part of town) – but also to exchange – or give away stuff. (half our furniture was came by this way). this trade goes on all the time including artists supplies – very cool – now there is also a food pantry –

      Nice.

      Reply
  8. Tom Stone

    The best thrift shop in Sonoma County is the Hospice thrift shop in Sebastopol.
    I like Hawaiian shirts and frequently find the real deal there in new condition for $5 apiece (You can tell by the buttons).

    Reply
  9. Hayek"s Heelbiter

    Not to be a naysayer, but…
    I used to be a bookseller and doing okay, till charity shops contributed to the collapse of secondhand bookshops.
    How could I possibly compete with an enterprise that gets:
    A. Free stock.
    B. Free labour.
    C. Reduced rent
    D. Reduced or no rates (real estate taxes).
    I was informed by one of the UK’s largest used book dealers that a well know charity will find a town with thriving second bookstore and set up a shop nearby, knowing that they have a built in customer base.

    Reply
    1. Jesper

      I am of a bit similar opinion.

      If, and only if, the charity shops pay living wage then I believe them to be good. That opinion might be coloured by how the charity-shops operate in Sweden:
      -the people at the top of the charities have upper middle class incomes and higher
      -the volunteers aren’t really volunteers, they are told to volunteer to work for charities to get their welfare-payments. Refusal to volunteer or annoying the charity can and will cause the welfare-payments to stop and people risk ending up on the street. The power-dynamic between the ‘volunteer’ and the charity is way off balance. Charity gets the work done for free. The volunteer?
      SEK 4,000 for 160 hours of ‘volunteering’ per month which might explain why the deals in charities can come across as steals….

      The above might clarify why the second-hand shops are all run by/for charities. Nobody else can compete with zero-cost volunteers. The upper middle class loves the charities because they are so cheap but the cheap comes at a cost and the cost is borne by the ‘volunteers’.

      The argument that some (not specified more than that, why?) benefit psychologically from being volunteer due to volunteering for a charity beeing similar to work might be countered by that some are worse off psychologically as some experience the volunteering environment to be toxic due to the extreme imbalance of power between ‘volunteer’ and ‘charity’.

      The smiles from the ‘volunteers’ might be even less real than the smiles of minimum-wage workers so maybe do not look too closely or the feel-good-feeling from shopping at a charity might disappear…

      Reply
      1. Josef K

        Goodwill used to be a straight-up thrift store–started getting stuff there in the ’80s. Some years back they started a system of four colored tags, with each one of those colors being marked down in turn, by 1/3 Thu-Fri, then 1/2 Sat-Sun, then reduced to $1.99 on Mondays. But the initial “retail” price is often too high to be a bargain, sometimes ridiculously so. It’s like they don’t even intend to sell it at that price. So it’s become a Sat-Mon feedfest when the stores are crawling with people looking for the sale-color-tagged stuff. This system reeks of something unpleasant, very corporate and neo-liberal.
        St Vincent’s is still a regular thrift store, I’d recommend giving them one’s items and one’s custom over Goodwill.

        Reply
    2. Terry Flynn

      Somehow this chimes with me. People point to the “charity shop culture” as evidence of the decline of our formerly much more high-status suburb.

      They say “stop taxing local independent businesses”. Yet many of these have low or zero land taxes. Their problem is rents – which charity shops get (IIRC and backing up what you say) big discounts/rebates on these. This is not to say charity shops are bad per se…. Merely that the big companies use tax avoidance to pay low rents and gain other tax advantages which small businesses simply can’t get. So the “equilibrium” is a big ASDA supermarket plus a plethora of charity shops and nothing else.

      Just introduce a land value tax to solve this. I’m aware of the practical difficulties so don’t take my comment completely literally…. But I think moving in that direction is important.

      Reply
  10. Cocomaan

    If you enjoy some degeneracy and hilarity, the UK podcast Cheap Show is two guys who go into bargain bins and charity shops and talk about their finds.

    Reply
  11. Carla

    When I was still buying stuff, I enjoyed perusing secondhand shops. But now there’s another good alternative in the circular economy, in the U.S. at least: Freecycle.org.

    Reply
    1. LowellHighlander

      Though I still buy from thrift stores, where I have found items I needed at prices I could afford (am unemployed, but my wife has a well-paying job), I have also been using Freecycle.org for years.

      I remember when my wife and I were having a general contractor make renovations on our current home (built just after WWI). Across the street, a couple of young guys were having to move out of their rented house, and they had left a nice-looking wooden chair outside on the front lawn, in the weather (i.e. rain). So, I went over and asked them whether they wanted that chair, and they encouraged me to take it. Then they asked me whether I wanted a set of wooden kitchen chairs. (Though they were painted, I could tell that they were made of solid wood – maple or oak.) All that was needed was to glue one or two of the cross-pieces (i.e. horizontal supports) back together, overnight. So, I took them and repaired them, then I posted them on Freecycle. A woman who was apparently too poor to afford a set of kitchen chairs wanted them. And because she didn’t have a vehicle of any type, she sent a guy from her church over to our house to pick them up with his pick-up truck. He confirmed that she was living on the edge, economically, and I told him the history of these chairs. I further suggested that he relay all this to the new owner, but he said she won’t mind.

      Tell me you get that kind of satisfaction from going to WalMart or Amazon.

      Before I forget, all I had to do with that wooden chair that had been sitting out in the rain on the front lawn was to glue the seat back to the chair itself, and to glue one of the horizontal supports back into place. [I learned how to do this in shop class, back in junior high school.] Am now using this chair with a desk that I found in a thrift store. So, now I have a place to write letters and other similar tasks.

      Reply
  12. Kim

    Charity begins at home; If you are discarding, but not donating something useful,
    put it on top of, or alongside the garbage can or dumpster visible from the street. It usually gets picked up by someone who can use or repair it.

    Expensive dump runs can be avoided or lessened by posting things for free on Craigslist, which a great source of odd and sometimes very useful things, like hundreds of bricks, lumber, entire garagefulls of stuff and other things.

    from a site about this: https://www.verdant.net/handson.htm
    “*Salvage and gather reusable screws, bolts and fasteners from wood or other item being recycled or discarded. Place them in a large clear container. Soon you will have a readily available collection of fasteners that are visible through the sides. Except for large projects you may never have to buy another screw or fastener.
    *Do the same for larger items by category. For example, in a box marked “electrical” , we place lengths of wire, adapters, extension cords, switch-plates, fuses etc. Some items are surplus to our home, others are garbage-picked or just found. Whatever the source, they inevitably get used. The larger the number of people, as in a neighborhood, or apartment house, that contribute to these stashes, the greater the variety and more money and material preserved. Consider categories such as hardware, plumbing, garden, car etc.”

    Reply
    1. Eclair

      Great ideas! We have inherited a garage and workshop filled with containers of ‘fasteners.’ These are packed in old metal coffee tins, baby-food jars and in two ranks of ancient metal library card catalog drawers. All unlabeled. Sorting them will be a Herculean task. But I do like the idea of a neighborhood used screw ‘center.’

      Reply
      1. Carla

        This reminds me of a service operated in our community. An agency that was developed to help homeowners learn to repair and maintain the mostly older homes in this area opened and maintains a “tool library.” Membership is $25 a year. For that, you can borrow just about any hand- or electric-powered tool you can think of for up to a week (and sometimes extensions are possible, depending on the demand for that particular item). This is just a brilliant service — things like ladders and saw-horses are included in the inventory as well. The agency (called Home Repair Resource Center) also offers free and low-cost classes on how to do various types of home repairs. The most popular ones are specifically targeted to women.

        Reply
  13. Eustachedesaintpierre

    There is a local religious charity in Bangor here in Northern Ireland called Storehouse which operates from a warehouse about 100 mtrs by about 70 mtrs. It is almost a museum of household items going back from what I have seen to before Thatcher. They provide a household package when notified by the local housing authority for those in need of such – beds, tables etc, fridges & washing machines which they repair & then deliver all for free. Sadly that problem is growing here with as part of that a 50% reduction in private rentals due to landlords turfing out tenants in order to profit from the latest property madness.

    It sort of reminds me of a more civilised & vastly quieter version of the jumble sales that my Mum would drag me to as a kid, where I would be placed at a safe distance away from the rugby scrum that would swallow her up, from which she would eventually emerge with a prize deserving of her prop forward impersonation.

    Reply
  14. Eclair

    The Goodwill warehouse outlets do charity shops one better. And provide an amazing experience in class consciousness.

    We lived in a suburb of Denver until a few years ago, and the local Goodwill warehouse was amazing. Think an airplane hangar-like building, filled with roll-out bins packed with cloth goods, all higgledy-piggledy. One bin could contain bedding, towels, tablecloths, and clothing ranging from long underwear to jeans, to parkas, to pajamas to fancy dresses and men’s suits. And there were at least 50 bins. Hard goods, such as cookware, plant pots, games, books, shoes, etc. where off to one side in separate bins.

    Most people seemed to be regulars, a lot of Spanish speakers, families with a couple of kids who had a train of shopping carts and systematically went through every bin. I think other shoppers, who wore latex gloves and systematically filled multiple shopping carts, were buying for resale. The arrival of a new bin was announced a few minutes before, and the shoppers would line up along the sides. The back doors would swing open, staff would roll out the bin, position it, then signal to the shoppers that they could attack. Amazingly, people were polite.

    Cloth goods were priced by the pound; 99 cents per pound was the cost when I started going there. And, the more you bought, the cheaper it became. I teamed up with a friend, a fabric artist, so we could get the best price.

    My most memorable finds: a full length, new, down robe (at least $200); a heavy hand-knit patterned Peruvian sweater; a wool Pea-jacket. Plus, great cloth napkins! During Occupy Denver, we made regular runs for sweaters, winter jackets, wool blankets and sleeping bags.

    Reply
    1. lordkoos

      The Seattle Goodwill warehouse is huge and fun to shop in, although I haven’t been there in awhile since I moved away. Unfortunately from the customer’s point of view, nowadays Goodwill has someone who pulls out the most “collectible” stuff and lists it on ebay to get top dollar for it. This is great for the store but not the customers looking to score a deal. Another Seattle thrift shop chain, Value Village can still be good. But at this stage of my life I’m not interested in acquiring more, I’m needing to get rid of things.

      Craigslist is great, especially in a city like Seattle where there is a lot of affluence and people often get rid of perfectly good stuff. When I lived there I furnished my kitchen from CL – bought a perfectly good Jenn-air gas stove with a convection oven for $50, and a like-new modern fridge for $300. I scored my current automobile on CL as well.

      Reply
      1. Eclair

        Seattle also has a slew of neighborhood Buy Nothing groups, on FaceBook. However they are geographically segregated, and thus racially and economically segregated.

        My daughter-in-law is a recycler, Expert category. They wanted to cut down a huge walnut tree that had long outgrown its space and taken over their small yard. She used all the available sites, from Craigslist to Buy Nothing, to Free-cycle, to word-of-mouth, to find a woodworker who wanted the walnut wood. The woodworker actually arranged a truck and small fork-lift to remove the wood, after the tree people had cut it down and sawn it into large chunks. Other neighbors and friends took the small branches to chip or compost or burn. Took her an entire year to coordinate all this.

        Reply
      2. lamovr

        Correction:
        Many of the high value donations to Goodwill are sold via their shopgoodwill.com auction website.

        Reply
  15. Thomas P

    Charity shops are great if you like shopping, buying random stuff you take a fancy for. If you don’t enjoy shopping and only want to buy something specific you really need, odds of finding it there are rather small.

    Reply
  16. Senator-Elect

    One of the main reasons to shop at thrift stores is that the quality of old household items and tools is often far superior to what one finds new in stores today. For example, anything made of metal today is likely to come from China and will rust, bend, discolour or simply break apart much faster than something made 30 or even 60 years ago. And the craftmanship was evident then, while today everything is stamped out as fast and cheaply as possible. (And it’s not necessarily the fault of the Chinese; more likely the beancounters, as usual.)
    In other words, why would I buy new junk when I can buy old junk that has stood the test of time? :-)

    Reply
    1. Frank

      That’s why we use the Salvation Army. Low or non-existant CEO pay, does marvelous quiet work to benefit communities, ex cons, elders and others.

      Reply
      1. Anon

        Goodwill treats its employees like (family blogging). I know from experience. Far better to shop at and donate to the Salvation Army or local charity shops. They actually give back to their communities.

        Reply
  17. YankeeFrank

    Back in the early 90’s NYC was home to some of the best, we called them “vintage” shops. Some were charity shops but some were for profit: places like the Antique Boutique and several others on Broadway in Greenwich Village. But the best by far was this huge old warehouse in south Williamsburg called Domsey. It was 5 or so floors full of everything from clothes to kitchenwares and decorative items. We were mostly pretty poor college kids so it worked well for us but it was also a popular style at the time, esp among the artist types and hipsters. The plaid flannel shirt was a mainstay. You could really get nice, if rumpled, stuff as the clothes were mainly well made items from the 50’s through the 70’s. You could get 5 pairs of paints and 5 shirts for something like $25 that would last years. The best deals were the thrift stores which would have bins of new arrivals we’d purchase by the pound. New clothes were for preps and frat boys. Of course we were just stupid kids but it was fun and creative.

    Domsey and all the others are long gone. Its location one block from the East River is now one of the many, many ugly shiny metal and glass condos for pretend millionaires. If you ever want to see what Williamsburg looked like before the “creative class” moved in and young people started paying $5k a month rent and $250 for a pair of pants there’s an old indy film with Brad Pitt before he was a superstar called Johnny Suede. A funny little movie but the neighborhood stole the show with its desolate old warehouses full of a strange barren charm and huge empty spaces thanks to the first decades of neoliberalism and its deindustrialization of NYC in the 80s. In the early 90s you could rent a 3000 square foot loft for $1200/month and with two friends you had tons of space, a view of the river, rent for $400, and a place to practice with your band. You could actually live in NYC and be poor without desperation.

    I know I sound like an old gen-x get off my lawn crank but as crap as the 90s were they really were a far better time, even if we knew things were getting worse. I would never attempt to defend my generation. We’re a tiny generation with outsized pretensions. I know much of the CRT craziness, and it is largely crazy, is being pushed by “us”. Its apparently our greatest nihilistic hipster pose that also serves as a kind of revenge on the world for its perceived betrayals. The world we were born into is so completely different from what it became so perhaps they aren’t just perceived. But as my beloved grandma used to say, “life isn’t about happiness”. Sometimes it feels like that generation’s greatest sin was being too decent to believe the monstrous deceptions hatching all around them.

    Reply
      1. YankeeFrank

        Ah yes, that huge market that took place weekends while the parking lots were empty a couple blocks north of the Freemasons building. Great furniture deals and everything else you could imagine. And I think Housing Works is still around. They were a later addition, or at least I only learned about them later, but they had the most high end stuff of any thrift shop I was aware of.

        Reply
  18. maria gostrey

    i love shopping for original paintings by amateur artists. among other finds, i have four small still-lifes (2 oil, 2 watercolor) found on 4 different shopping trips to the 3 thrift stores i frequent, all by an artist identified only as “Fred ’66” (which i am guessing is the yr they were painted). the watercolors have home-made frames. long live such home-made art, made to please its maker!

    Reply
  19. sd

    I used to love ‘shopping therapy’ at thrift stores. Some great finds over the years of some art, books, etc.

    Several of the charity shops I used to give items to stopped taking contributions even high quality items.

    So I’ve recently taken to posting items for free. My goal is to see something repurposed rather than end up in a landfill. It’s actually surprising how quickly even large furniture items will go, typically in under an hour I’ll get a message that someone is interested.

    Reply
  20. WendyS

    My daughter and I have been having fun buying old paintings on shopgoodwill.com. I went to pick up a ship painting and found one in the store, someone must have not paid for their bid. A very nice copy of The Bohemian, I can’t figure out how to show the picture, but the model the used for mine is a little more well fed than the original.

    Reply

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