Mothers Day, Graduation and more!

imageIf you haven’t been to the Thrift Shop lately, come in and see our revamped checkout area. This new setup gives us more working room at the cash registers, so we can ring up your purchases more quickly.

And that’s a GOOD thing because . . . May is super-sale month! We’ll have INCREDIBLE sales all month, because we’re counting down to May 30, when we take inventory. You’ll get amazing deals all month long, so “shop early and often.”

This is a GREAT time to look for Mother’s Day and graduation gifts, and, for those who really plan ahead, Father’s Day presents. With summer approaching, you’ll be going to a lot of parties and barbecues, so you can also pick up some inexpensive hostess gifts to keep on hand. Beach books, small toys for the kids to take on vacation – it’s all here.

Stop in soon to take advantage of our May sales! (And think of us when you’re doing your spring cleaning – we accept donations any time during the hours our Thrift Shop is open.)

 

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KEEP THE SPARK ALIVE!

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For the past two months, one of the top books on the Los Angeles Times’ best-seller list has been “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” by Marie Kondo. Judging by the book’s sales, there are a LOT of us out there who want to change our lives, or, at least, to straighten up our houses.

Now I don’t want to give away all the details of Ms. Kondo’s de-cluttering strategy (if you want the whole scoop, you need to buy her book). I WILL tell you that one of the steps is to discard anything that doesn’t make you feel “a spark of joy.” Maybe you felt a spark of joy when you bought that sweater. Maybe you felt a spark of joy the first ten times you wore it. But if you don’t feel a spark of joy right here, right now, it needs to go.

That doesn’t mean the sweater can’t bring a spark of joy to someone else! If you donate all the things you discard out of your life (after you read the book) to the ALI Thrift Shop, the spark of joy will keep burning. In fact, one of the things that continually amazes us is how often we put an item out on the shop floor and a customer exclaims, “This is just what I’ve been looking for!”

So as you’re tidying up, think of the Thrift Shop. We accept donations during any hours the Shop is open. If you have a large donation (a car full of boxes, for instance), drive around to our rear door and ring the bell. Our volunteers will happily accept your donations and give you a receipt.

And then, of course, you may see something ELSE at the Thrift Shop that brings you . . . a NEW spark of joy!

Off the Grid at the Thrift Shop

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By Marta Mahoney

It’s HOT out there, readers! And when it’s hot, we run our air conditioning and our fans. And when we all do that at once, we have power outages. And when we have power outages, we can’t watch TV, make microwave popcorn, or play computer games. We have to go OFF THE GRID and find other ways to entertain ourselves!

In fact, we had a power outage in Irvine just the other day. Now before we have another one (remember, we still have at least two months of REALLY HOT WEATHER), head over to the ALI thrift shop and get prepared! It’s HOT out there, readers! And when it’s hot, we run our air conditioning and our fans. And when we all do that at once, we have power outages. And when we have power outages, we can’t watch TV, make microwave popcorn, or play computer games. We have to go OFF THE GRID and find other ways to entertain ourselves!

  • With no TV, you need puzzles and board games you can play by flashlight or candlelight (and we know you have flashlights and candles that you bought for earthquake preparedness, right?). And you can always read a book by flashlight – just like you did when you were a kid who was supposed to be asleep!
  • Pick up some of our plastic margarita glasses or plastic tumblers. You’ll need to use up the ice, milk, and juice in your refrigerator, and the plastic glasses won’t break if you accidentally knock them on the floor in the dark.
  • Buy some flip-flops from our shoe section, because it’ll be too hot to wear shoes.
  • Get a supply of tank tops and shorts in case the power goes out for several days and you can’t do laundry.
  • We always have a selection of water bottles – and you’ll need one to keep you cool.

Last but not least – take home a few DVDs from our vast collection, and hide them away to reward yourself with a “movie night” when the power comes back on!

 

Downton Abbey on a Shoestring

The new season of “Downton Abbey” on PBS has started.  According to USA Today, 10.2 million people watched the premiere. Media experts everywhere are pondering why Americans are so enthralled with this soap-opera saga of an aristocratic British family and their servants. 

We KNOW why everyone in Irvine is watching this show.  It’s lawn envy!

Just look at the gorgeous expanse of green lawn surrounding the manor.  Does the Earl of Grantham get an insert in his water bill every month asking him to “Replace your lawn with drought-resistant native plants?” No! Did the Earl of Grantham have to pay $300 to the sprinkler repairman to fix his sprinkler valves? No! In fact, the Earl of Grantham has never even seen a lawn sprinkler! Because at Downton Abbey, water falls miraculously from the sky! All the time!

The other reason is that we all have a fantasy of living in a place like Downton Abbey.  In spite of your zero-lot-line house with its two potted succulents on the patio, you too can create the Downton Abbey ambiance.  And you don’t need to be as rich as the Crawleys  – just visit the thrift shop, where you’ll find:

  • Silver.  We have beautiful silver trays and goblets, along with a silver butter dish and silver-trimmed bowls and coasters.
  • Crystal.  We have a Waterford bowl and a Waterford desk clock that would fit in perfectly at Downton, along with other crystal bowls and a decanter.
  • Glassware.  We have wine glasses, martini glasses, and champagne glasses.  Just what you need for that after-dinner sherry, or to help you keep a stiff upper lip in the face of life’s dramas.
  • Jewelry.  We have a fantastic selection of vintage-style costume jewelry.
  • Sweaters,  scarves, and gloves.  You can dress up in these and pretend you’re at Downton Abbey in the winter!
  • Picture frames.  We have lots of silver and gold-toned picture frames for your family portraits.
  • Needlework.  Although the times are changing at Downton, upper-class girls would still be expected to do needlework.  We have embroidery hoops, cross-stitch patterns, and a huge assortment of needlework books.
  • Stationery.  No one at Downton Abbey sends email.  They pour out their hopes and dreams in hand-written letters.  (Of course, they had cheaper postage back then.)

And if you just want to invite your friends over to watch the show, we have fondue pots, cake pans, and coffeepots to help you stay up until 10 pm.

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…wait a minute Mister Postman

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There are usually two major projects during the holidays.  The first is putting up the decorations.  The second is the Christmas cards.

ALI Blogger Marta says ‘I’m the person who is single-handedly rescuing the post office. I mail about 100 Christmas cards.  I’m still putting a holiday letter in each one, although the writeup gets shorter every  year (the adults in the family aren’t doing anything new, and the kids have already posted everything on Facebook).  But I love Christmas cards! In an era when we hardly receive actual mail any more, it’s wonderful to open the cards and re-connect with our relatives and friends once a year.  As creative as electronic cards can be, there’s something special and personal about the old-fashioned paper card.’

The thrift store has a wonderful assortment of boxed Christmas cards at unbelievable prices.  We also have some absolutely amazing hand-made cards on the single-card rack.  These beautiful, unique cards are produced by some of our members, who donate them to be sold at the shop. You may not need to send 100 cards, but chances are you’ll need one or two, so check these out.

And while you’re looking at our cards, drop by our stationery section – you may need something for those thank-you notes after you open your presents!

Black Friday at the Thrift Store

There were a lot of stories in the media this year about stores opening earlier than ever on Black Friday.  Many stories talked about increased security and safety training, as malls and merchants tried to keep their customers from injuring each other in their rush to buy.  These don’t sound like happy shoppers to us!

I worked at the thrift shop on Black Friday – and it was a delightful day! Our customers weren’t tired, frazzled, or desperate to get their hands on the early-bird special.  Many people told us they had no intention of going to the mall, because it was too crowded and exhausting to shop there. Instead, they came to the thrift shop where there was ample parking just a few steps from the door, they had plenty of time to browse for gifts for everyone on their list, and Assistance League volunteers would even help carry their packages to the car.  What better way to get in the holiday spirit?

Now I have to be honest, and admit there are things you won’t find at the thrift shop on Black Friday.  We won’t have a 50 inch flat screen TV (even if we had one, it would never fit in the shop); an iPad Air; or the hugging Elmo doll (but check back on that one in a couple of years).  For those, you’ll still have to go to the mall.  For almost everything else you need on Black Friday, or the other 25 shopping days until Christmas, there’s the thrift shop!

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YOUR THRIFT SHOP SALESPEOPLE

All the people you see at the Assistance League of Irvine thrift shop in the blue aprons are VOLUNTEERS.   Most of us had never worked in a store until we joined ALI.  But now we’re working at the best store in Irvine!

We love working at the thrift shop! Every shift is a new adventure.  We love welcoming our customers.  We love getting to know our regulars and helping our newbies discover our treasures.  We love connecting people with great bargains.  We love it when someone finds a replacement for the broken casserole lid.  We love it when a collector finds another silver bracelet or antique teacup.  We love showing teenage boys how to pick out a shirt and tie for their first dress-up occasion.  We love helping  you find the shoes, the scarf, or the purse that makes your outfit look like something out of the fashion pages.  And we love it when our customers tell us, “I’ll be back next week!”Image

So the next time you visit us, say hello to your ALI volunteers, because we LOVE to have you shopping with us!