NEW YEAR’S SHOPPING THOUGHTS

I spent yesterday at our local internationally-famous mall, checking out their “end-of-year” sales. The parking lot was full, the mall was packed, there was a line of 20 people waiting to get into the Starbucks, and everybody (except for the woman carrying a puppy) was carrying bags of merchandise. Now everyone (except for the puppy and some babies) was in a happy, festive mood. But as I looked at all the shopping bags, I wondered: how much of this stuff do these people actually need? (We’re not counting the puppy. Puppies need homes.)

At our thrift shop, customers aren’t buying because of mall glitz, fashion trends, or the desire to post a selfie of yourself in front of the Chanel store. Most of them are buying things they truly need: clothes for work or play, dishes and cookware, bedding, gifts for others. Or they’re indulging themselves with some jewelry or a collectible, at a price that won’t require a 2nd mortgage. When I ring up a sale at the shop, I feel that the customer is buying something they’ve they’re going to use and love – something they really want or need.

Meanwhile, if you really want and need a puppy, I refer you to the Irvine Animal Care Center, where they have lots of puppies (and kittens) who would love a new home in 2017. Otherwise, come by the ALI thrift shop for everything else.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

California Dreamin’ – Thrift Shop Road Trip

If you drove by the thrift shop a couple of Mondays ago and saw a group of ALI volunteers in their blue aprons clustered around a red Thunderbird convertible in front of the shop, you weren’t California Dreamin’. That was a visit from National Assistance League’s Anne Salenger, and her “Thrift Shop Road Trip.”

Anne is traveling around the country, visiting and blogging about different Assistance League thrift stores. We were thrilled to have Anne join us for one of our Monday behind-the-scenes work sessions. Our shop was filled with eager ALI volunteers sorting, cleaning, and changing out the merchandise for the coming week. Anne’s visit came just after our Holiday Extravaganza, so the shop looked especially festive with all our holiday items. Anne was able to see first-hand the incredible effort that goes into getting the shop ready to open for the week each Wednesday morning.

While everything ALI does is for our own community, it’s inspiring for us to be able to share our story with other chapters – and to learn from them as well. We hope Anne and her “Road Trip” come back soon for another visit!

IMG_0059

Our newest gift idea!

iStock_000009799796MediumDid you know that the ALI thrift shop has GIFT CERTIFICATES? These come in $5 denominations and are a perfect solution for those situations where you need an affordable gift. Like these:

  1. You belong to a Bunco group where everyone has to bring a token door prize to award during the evening.
  2. Your 8th grade daughter wants to have a sleepover birthday party, and you need party favors.
  3. The kid down the street, who has been sleeping on his parents’ couch ever since he graduated from college five years ago, because he’s “writing a screenplay,” finally moves into an apartment, and you want to give him something to send him on his way. (You give his parents a bottle of champagne, however.)
  4. You’re the church youth group advisor/band mother/drill team chaperone or some other type of adult volunteer for a high-school group, and need a unisex-type gift or prize for the kids, that isn’t food.

See how easy this could be? Just visit the thrift shop and tell the cashier you want to buy some GIFT CERTIFICATES. (And while you’re at the shop, reward yourself with a little something, too!)

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.

down

New Years Resolutions

Happy-Quote-Up

According to the University of Scranton, the top three New Year’s Resolutions for 2014 are:

1)    Lose weight

2)    Get organized

3)     Spend less, save more

I could instantly identify with this, because I went to the thrift store yesterday and here’s what I did:

1)    I saw a copy of Susan Powter’s book Stop the Insanity (remember Susan Powter, the fitness guru with the shaved head?), and skimmed through several chapters hoping to find her weight-loss/fitness secret.    (Spoiler alert:  There’s no magic formula.  It’s all about balanced eating, regular exercise, and a healthy self-image.)  I have to admit I didn’t buy this book (since, like most people, I already have five similar books), so it may still be on the shelves waiting for you.  The thrift shop also has a lot of guides to healthy eating, low-fat cookbooks, walking shoes, and a food scale to help you with this resolution.

2)    Next, I stopped at the “Office and Tech” section, where the organizationally-challenged can find file folders, three-ring binders, an in/out basket, and desk and office organizers – putting you on the path to achieving Resolution #2.

3)    The ENTIRE thrift shop helps you spend less and save more! I found a top from a well-known mall store (which shall remain nameless) on sale for $2, which I knew had originally sold for around $50.  Resolve to spend more time in 2014 checking out our bargains!

The FOURTH most common New Year’s Resolution is:

4) Enjoy life to the fullest!

One of the things that contributes most to our enjoyment of life, and the feeling that our lives are meaningful, is doing something to help others.  Helping the Assistance League of Irvine, by shopping at our thrift store, does just that.  The sales from the shop directly support our programs in Irvine.

So when you shop at the thrift store – you’re actually fulfilling FOUR New Year’s Resolutions.  Where ELSE can you get that kind of result? Head over to the shop and get started today!

What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?

Ring out the old, ring in the new! The annual decision:  to go out or stay in on New Year’s Eve?Image

For our New Year’s Eve-challenged readers, we offer a guide to this decision:

GOING OUT:

– You don’t have to eat leftovers.

– You leave the kids with a babysitter.

– You get to go to the thrift store and pick out a glamorous new outfit from the selection of cocktail/evening dresses we currently have in the shop.  Glittery beads and spangles or the timeless elegant look – we’ve got something to make you the star of the New Year’s Eve party.  For the guys, we have a trove of dress shirts and ties that are perfect for this special evening.

STAYING IN:

– You don’t have to remember where you left the car.

– You can wear your comfy slippers instead of those shoes that make your feet hurt.

– You get to go to the thrift store and pick out a new bowl for popcorn, a new blender to mix up whatever drink suits you, and a new warm blanket to snuggle under on the couch.  AND a jigsaw puzzle or board game to play with your kids while you count down to midnight.

Whatever you decide – HAPPY NEW YEAR!