Vintage is the future!

At the Assistance League of Irvine thrift shop we get all kinds of retro, vintage, and just plain used items. “Retro,” “vintage,” and “mid-century modern” seem to be hot categories right now. For instance, the most popular specialty license plate at the DMV is the legacy yellow-on-black 1960s retro plate. I remember when I had an ORIGINAL license plate like that. If I’d only kept it. Like my miniskirts, my platform shoes, and my electric typewriter.

Browsing through the thrift shop can bring back many fond memories. Someone recently donated a whole set of vintage Corelle dishes. Every family I knew, when I was in junior high, bought a set of Corelle. Why? Because . . . You could put them in the dishwasher! My friends and I were ecstatic. No more evenings of washing china dishes by hand while your younger brothers and sisters hogged the TV. (The TV, which had a dial on it. Not a remote.)

If you want to return to those thrilling days of yesteryear, stop by the thrift shop. We have the good (fondue pots), and the ugly (lava lamps). We don’t have the bad, because anything that isn’t in good enough condition to sell in our shop is passed on in turn to the Salvation Army.   And because there’s no such thing as a bad donation – there’s a use for everything somewhere.

Just in case you’re wondering they still make Corelle! It comes in pretty patterns now that go well with today’s decor. Maybe we should all buy some so that we’re prepared for the vintage trend in 2075.

Welcome to Irvine, aka ‘Little Seattle’

Irvine is having so much rain right now I’m starting to think we should re-name Irvine “Little Seattle.”  Here in Southern California, we’re not used to entertaining ourselves on days when it’s too stormy to even drive to the mall.  After an hour of “Storm Watch Breaking News,” on TV, it gets boring.  What can you do?

The ALI thrift store can give you lots of ideas for rainy-day activities.  You’ll have to make a trip to the shop BEFORE it rains, but you were planning to do that anyway, right?

For kids:

  • We always have miscellaneous craft supplies, and with some scissors and glue the kids can put their creativity to work.  (You’ll have to clear off the dining room table, but you can put all that stuff back once it stops raining.)
  • Pick out some of our more unusual or vintage-look clothing and keep it in a “dressing up” box.  The kids can make up a play where this box provides costumes and props. 
  • Board games and jigsaw puzzles are rainy-day staples. We’re constantly getting new donations of games and puzzles, and these are fun activities for the whole family.
  • For the grown-ups:
  • This is the time to try out that espresso machine/panini maker/blender/set of cookie cutters in the shape of flowers that you found at the thrift shop on your last visit.
  • This is the time to start that knitting project/sewing project/scrapbook that you found supplies for at the thrift shop on your last visit.
  • If you just feel like curling up by the fire, we have books, books, books! (Lots of kids’ books, too!) And DVDs!

Don’t worry – it will stop raining eventually.  But in the meantime, the thrift shop has plenty of things to keep you and your family busy!

DRUM ROLL PLEASE – IT’S NATIONAL THRIFT SHOP DAY!

If you love comic books, you go to Comic-Con. If you love thrift shopping, you celebrate NATIONAL THRIFT SHOP DAY (that would be WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 17) by visiting the ALI thrift shop!

You probably won’t encounter costumed Storm Troopers or X-Men Mutants, but you’ll find plenty of other thrift shop fans who know we have the best bargains in town. All BLUE-TAGGED ITEMS WILL BE 50% OFF, so stock up on back-to-school clothes or dorm room supplies, an outfit for that Labor Day barbecue, shoes, and housewares.

We like to think our customers celebrate National Thrift Shop Day EVERY time they come into our shop. So shop with us on August 17 – and all the other days in the year, too!

Celebrate National ‘Simplify Your Life’ Week

Like me, blog readers, you probably never knew that the first week in August is “National Simplify Your Life Week”!

It’s not our place to address the philosophical reasons why we now need a designated NATIONAL week to remind us to clean out our garages. There are actually many things that go into simplifying a lifestyle, but for most of us, the first thing that comes to mind is getting rid of all those things we no longer use. (I can recall a time when clutter was actually seen as sort of a good thing. You never knew what you might find down in your grandmother’s basement – stacks of old magazines, boxes of clothes, discarded furniture that you could use to play house. You could get hours of entertainment out of it.)

Nowadays, experts recommend that you periodically go through your closets, kitchen cupboards, kids’ rooms, and, yes, your storage unit. Separate everything into things you want to keep, things you want to pass on, and things to throw away.

Bring those things you want to pass on to the ALI thrift store! While we don’t take furniture, TVs, old computers, or large appliances, you can bring us everything else. We take donations at our shop during the hours we’re open (Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday from 10 am to 3 pm; Friday from 10 am to 5:30 pm). Drive around to our rear door at the back of our building, and we’ll happily help you unload your car.

Once you’ve simplified your life, you’ll be so happy you’ll be ready for the second week in August, which is “National Smile Week”!

LOOKING FOR A WAY TO GIVE BACK?

Here’s a quote from one of my favorite singer/songwriters, Carole King:

“Good people help their neighbors in communities every day. Whether through military service, political activism, volunteering at a school, hospital, or library, or simply through quotidian acts of kindness, each of us has something to contribute to improve another person’s life.” (from Carole King’s autobiography, A Natural Woman)

 If you’re reading this blog, you’re familiar with the Assistance League of Irvine and what we do to help our community. But have you ever thought about joining us? We currently have 118 members, with more joining us every month. We have several levels of membership or volunteer opportunities, that can accommodate just about anyone’s schedule. Our members have diverse backgrounds and interests, and along with our philanthropic work, we have a LOT of fun!

If you’re looking for a way to give back to your community, or want to expand your activities and your circle of friends, stop by our thrift shop at 2452 Alton (between Jamboree and Von Karman) and fill out a membership interest form. You can also email us at: membership@irvine.assistanceleague.org. Our membership chair will call you and meet with you to give you more information about ALI. We’d love to have you join us!

ALOHA TIME AT THE ALI THRIFT SHOP

Every guy in southern California needs a Hawaiian shirt for summer, and we’ve got plenty of them right now at the thrift shop. This popular shirt style was first conceived in the 1930s by a Chinese shopkeeper in Waikiki, Ellery Chun. He advertised his “aloha shirts” on June 28, 1935. They sold out immediately and a fashion trend was born!

World War II servicemen stationed in Hawaii loved the style and brought it back to the mainland. As tourism to Hawaii took off after the war, the shirts became even more popular. The State of Hawaii proclaimed “Aloha Friday” (which became “casual Friday” everywhere else) in 1965 to relax office dress codes and make aloha shirts a wardrobe staple. Today we can’t imagine summer without them!

Tell your guy that Hawaiian shirts have a history going back 80 years, and bring him to the thrift shop to add a few to his closet. Aloha!

75% OFF ALL WEEK AND $5 BAG SALE (AND EARLY CLOSE) ON FRIDAY!

Blog readers, this is the week you’ve been waiting for – our last week before inventory! We’re clearing out everything in the ALI thrift shop at the INCREDIBLE SALE PRICE OF 75% OFF. That’s right – 75% OFF EVERYTHING IN THE SHOP!

BUT WAIT – THERE’S MORE! On Friday May 27 we’ll have a $5 BAG SALE. Pick up a brown shopping bag at the register. Anything you can fit into the bag, will be $5 for the bag. Items in our glass cases are excluded from the $5 bag sale, but will still be 75% off. And anything that WON’T fit in the bag, is 75% off.

We’re CLOSING EARLY ON FRIDAY THE 27th AT 3 PM because of inventory. So if you want a bag of stuff for $5, make sure to come in on Friday between 10 am and 3 pm.

We love our merchandise, but we want you to come in and buy it before we have to count it.   Help us out by shopping this week at our final pre-inventory sale!