MASTERING THE THREE R’S

three-rs

Reduce, Reuse and Recycle! A Thrift Shop mantra for sure, but just how effective are we at accomplishing this?

Sweden recently released a new tax incentive to help reduce landfill waste. Citizens can receive up to 25% towards the repair of large appliance items like washers and dryers. This incentive hopes to counter the extra cost incurred by repairing these items as well Sweden is hoping to boost their economy with jobs in the repair industry.

At the Thrift Shop, we strive to waste nothing. Of course, this is ideal, but not always attainable. As a not-for-profit, every cent we make goes directly back into our community through the funding of our services (like the food bank) and the general administrative costs generated by offering these services (like hydro, rent and salaries for staff). So, every time we dump our garbage bins it costs us money for the service which could be better spent elsewhere. This is a prime example of how necessity is the mother of invention. We have come up with a system of waste not that is very efficient but, there will always be room for more.

WE RECYCLE

  • Blue Bin Pickup: Most of our donations make it to our store shelves, but when they don’t we recycle what we can
  • Textile Recycling Program: We have a devoted volunteer who brings all collected textiles that didn’t make it to the store to a special drop-off bin. We could not run this program without this volunteer’s commitment.

WE REDUCE

  • Christian Aid: If clothes meet the criteria for the Christian Aid program we pass them on.
  • Soiled bedding-for kennel use at the Humane Society kennel
  • Damaged stuffed toys-for a local dog training school

 WE REUSE

  • Rag Bags: We collect rag-friendly material and sell bags of uncut rags to local businesses
  • Buttons: cutting buttons off recyclable clothing to package and sell
  • Quilt Squares: making quilting squares of jean and cotton
  • Jewellery: collecting broken jewellery to sell as beads

We always love new ideas and strive to implement them if there is the demand and the volunteer power to supply.

I feel like this has been a heavier post then usual, so to lighten it up I dare you my faithful Thrifters to comment on this post with one word. Make it a word of an item you think is not reusable to the Thrift Shop and I will dare to find a use. I will be waiting by my inbox!

LeeAnn Bagg

 WCS Staff

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What a Scream

Before Halloween reached the large event status it is known for in North America today, it was a much more modest affair. I remember growing up in the eighties and even then it was almost unheard of to wear a “store bought” costume. When my teacher released the date of my classroom Halloween party it marked the starting point for the count-down to my costume preparation.

I went through the idea stage. First, wanting to be Cat Woman, then Dorothy from Wizard of Oz, then Jem from the Holograms. Finally, I would settle on the inevitable hobo, rock star or old lady every year. They were always the easiest costumes to come up with from the materials found in my closets. I know you are nodding your head in sympathy.

Even when I recall the store-bought costumes of my Northern Ontario eighties childhood, I laugh because they were so much more heinous than the homemade closet costumes. Do you remember the cheap plastic paint-smock like costumes accompanied by the equally cheap plastic masks of superheroes and princesses? Remember how they were bought extra-large to fit over your snowsuit? This was when Halloween was really scary. My memories are haunted to this day of streets lined with chubby marshmellowed Ninja Turtles and wobbly googly-eyed Snow Whites’ robotically marching from door to door.

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These costumes always ripped, cementing their one-time use only status. I shiver looking at this picture….oh the flashbacks!

This trip into store-bought costumes was short-lived and saw us returning to the homemade costume again. It was always original, always a challenge which prolonged the Halloween experience, and always a revolving door of ideas fostering creativity through necessity.

Of course over the years the commercial costumes became better in quality. Party stores started popping up offering very detailed and luxurious costumes to the masses. Though I see the convenience and beauty in these costumes, I could never justify the price.

My alternative will always be a trip to the Thrift Shop. Check us out for affordable Halloween gems at a fraction of their regular retail price. On average, you will spend less than $10 and walk away with a complete costume.

Just last week, I had a couple of girls in the shop looking for costumes. The girls had to be between the ages of 10-12 and they spent at least an hour combing the store for ideas. They were having so much fun trying on hula skirts, wigs, clown glasses and dance outfits that I couldn’t help but have fun watching them. But, you know what the best part was? It was when the girls started to venture into our regular clothing racks looking for items they could transform into a costume which was a little more unique. Some of their ideas I overheard included: Where’s Waldo and Spinster Cat Lady (“let’s glue cat stuffies to an ugly sweater”).

Ah, the creativity was flowing. Just another reason to love our Thrift Shop; it’s like stepping into your rich-friend’s parents closet. Happy hunting!

LeeAnn Bagg

WCS Staff

 

Old Look with a New Twist

blogShabby Chic, Country Glam or Rustic Romantic; no matter what you term it, fusing the old with the new is all the rage in weddings these days.

Lately, we can’t keep doilies and china tea cups in stock. Customers are coming in weekly trolling our isles in search of any piece of china making itself hidden amongst our shelves. Only five short years ago, I couldn’t give the teacups away! What has changed and why are these items selling out? This is why, shabby chic décor that has bled itself into the wedding scene.

Where did this style originate? According to Wikipedia (so it must be true) it started in Britain amongst the modern bohemians.

If I am to weigh in, I would definitely attribute a rise in the shabby chic style to factor in the increase in popularity of thrift shopping itself. Mixing the old with the new is an economical art-form everyone can participate in no matter where you fall on the income scale. In unstable financial times, thrift shopping is an affordable option for all.

After establishing affordability, we can now focus on style and décor and thrift shops naturally appeal to the shabby chic style. You as the shopper can use a discerning eye to see the hidden potential in any item. Then you may be able to mate it with a similar piece you already have at home or use it to anticipate finding a complementary item in the future. This is a visionary task and after accomplishing it, voila you are an artist you clever thrifter!

And how does this all tie into the Saturday afternoon wedding circuit? Easy, your wedding is your time to shine and showcase your style and personality. If your style is shabby chic, country glam or rustic romantic then in all likelihood, your wedding will follow suit.

Happy hunting wedding warriors, and hail to finding your doilies and teacups!

 

LeeAnn Bagg

WCS Thrift Shop

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Slow Down and Thrift About It

It’s a sunny Saturday morning and perfect for a drive. Hop on the expressway due North to Elmira and come thrift with me. You won’t be sorry.

While some retirees cruise down to Port Dover on their bikes every Friday the 13th to partake in the camaraderie the event offers, others would rather uncover their classic mustang convertible, throw down the top and take a drive through the county side to feel the wind in their hair. Then there is the weekend thrifters who are a bred of their own. You know who you are and I never get tired of meeting you.

George and Gale are a couple or retirees who take thrifting to an almost professional level. They leave their bike and mustang at home in favour of driving their roomy sedan. Perfect for loading up with found treasures. They walk through our door at 10 a.m. with a double double in their hands and a genuine smile on their faces. They have nothing but time and want to spend it cruising our isles.

Time is one of our most precious commodities. However, it is most valued when we notice its lack in our everyday lives. Except on Saturdays when George and Gale walk in to remind me that life is a cross-country journey and not a sprint race through the self-checkout line at the closest big box store. Here, at the Thrift Shop we nurture a slower pace. After all, it takes a lot more time to sift through mismatched shirts in order to find that elusive Lululemon hoodie that fits you like a glove. But atlas, the couple find it and it is their treasure, their gem, their great find. Finding it makes them feel akin to euphoric.

Today, George and Gale’s car ride out of the city beside their favourite wingman and wingwoman led to a small drive through breakfast and carefree conversation about their grandson’s sixth birthday coming up. “Boy, he’s a smart kid with all those Lego projects on the go.”

When George and Gale finally walk through our doors they are calm, comfortable, and happy to start their treasure hunting. We don’t sell comfort or quality time, but never the less we do specialize in it.

Keep calm and thrift on my friends!

LeeAnn Bagg

WCS Thrift Shop