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What Happens to Your Donated Items

January 22nd, 2013

your donationsWhat Happens to Your Donated Items

Many of us are addicted to watching Storage Wars.  In the earlier seasons, they’d show Dave Hester’s operation for sorting through all the massive amounts of items from his lockers.  He mentioned how he had to do some community service at a place like Goodwill and Salvation Army, and learned how they sort through donations, and applied that assembly line process to his store.

So, we bet you were wondering what happens when you drop off a box somewhere.

Types of Stores

While it can go by many names, the purpose of a thrift store is to sell donated items in order to fund a charity or a cause.  It’s often called hospice shop, resale shop, charity shop, thrift shop or thrift store.  In Australia and New Zealand, it’s called an op shop for “opportunity shop.”  These shops are staffed by volunteers.

For a directory of Thrift Stores, check out the Thrift Shopper’s National Directory.

If you have questions, ask at the front counter what cause they are supporting.  If they have none, you’re in a second hand store (like Dave Hester had)

Some religious and spiritual organizations also accept charitable donations, but they are more limited in what they accept.  The items are then passed out to the needy.  You should check directly with the organization for their guidelines.

What to Donate

First, find out if your organization accepts what you want to donate.

Here’s a list from the Salvation Army:

Clothing, Toys & Furniture Donations Dos and Don’ts

  • Do test all electrical and battery-operated equipment to make sure it is still working prior to donation
  • Do include all manuals, if available
  • Do include all pieces and/or parts
  • Do donate items in clean, non-soiled condition
  • Do call ahead of time if dropping items off at a center or store
  • Do bring an itemized list of your donation and ask for a receipt
  • Do NOT donate broken or soiled items
  • Do NOT leave items outside a collection box or center
  • Do NOT donate items that have been recalled or banned or which otherwise
  • Do NOT donate items that do not meet current safety standards
  • Do NOT donate items that have scratches, rips and/or tears

Once It’s Donated

First, the items have to be sorted into type: clothing, household, furniture, etc.  From there, they evaluate if the item needs to be cleaned, recycled or thrown away.

The clothing then gets sorted into sizes and marked.

Then the item gets priced.

If it’s a large organization, they may have one central clearinghouse for donated items, and then try to ensure a good stock in each store.

What’s your favorite organization where you donate?


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