It’s warm and dry inside ALI Thrift Shop!

It’s January.  The sky is gray.  The weather is cold.  Your plants look bedraggled.  The holidays are over, and you miss the excitement, the food, and the decorations.  What can you do about your gloomy mood?

We have the answer:  come to the ALI thrift shop! It’s warm inside! Our volunteers are friendly and cheerful! Our CUSTOMERS are friendly and cheerful! You can check out our stylish clothing, shoes, and purses; enjoy the artwork we have for sale; or browse through our craft section for a new project.  We have recent magazines for 50 cents each (compare THAT to the prices at the supermarket checkout counter), and books that will take your mind off the January weather.  And just looking at our toy department will make you smile.  You might even take home a stuffed animal buddy to keep you company!

If you’re one of those people who LOVE chilly temperatures and overcast skies, come to the thrift shop too. We have winter jackets!  We have woolly scarves!  We have mugs for hot cocoa!

However you feel in January, you’ll feel better after a trip to the thrift shop. Come in and visit us soon!   

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STAY COOL AND HELP A GOOD CAUSE!

We’re going to let you in on a secret. The ALI thrift store has something you desperately need. Something that, for much of your life, you have felt that you couldn’t live without. Something that will rejuvenate your body, make your thinking clearer, and calm your spirit. We have . . . Air conditioning!

Yes, when you visit the thrift shop you’ll be able to shop in comfort. AND right now you’ll be supporting our Operation School Bell program, which gears up in August every year. OSB provides school clothing and school supplies to low-income students in the Irvine Unified School District. Last year we helped almost 800 kids at a cost of approximately $130,000. We expect the numbers to be similar this coming school year. This money comes directly from the sales at our thrift shop!

So when you step into our shop, three things happen:

  • You cool off
  • You find great bargains
  • You help your Irvine neighbors in need

It’s not too hot to shop – head over to the thrift shop now!

Previously loved!

By Marta Mahoney

My son bought a used motorcycle last year, and he refers to it not as “previously owned,” but as “previously loved.”

That’s a good description for our merchandise at the ALI thrift store! It was all “previously loved” by someone who wanted it to go to a new home, instead of the trash bin. (Even those pants you found that still have the original price tag on them. The pants can’t help it that the person who loved them in the store put them in the back of their closet, and forgot they were there.)

People donate “previously loved” items to us for all kinds of reasons. The kids grow out of those baby outfits and turn into toddlers. Bigger kids go off to college and leave you with bins of toy cars. You change jobs, or you retire, and you have a closetful of clothing that you’ll never wear again. You’re no longer in your twenties, and you can’t wear 4-inch heels. You loved your fondue pot/pasta machine/food processor for many years, but your diet and cooking style have changed. You came in the thrift shop and found some fantastic holiday decorations, but there’s only so much room in the storage unit, so some of the old ones have to come back to the shop. We could go on and on.

Visit us soon and find some “previously loved” items that want to go home with you to be loved some more!

I’m ‘Not Shopping’ – no really….

Today’s story is about . . . Not shopping. Notice we didn’t say “Never shopping.” This IS, however, a story about the ALI thrift store. We WANT you to come in and shop with us. (We’d especially like some readers to come in and buy all those winter coats and ski jackets that people donated to us after their once-in-a-lifetime trip to see the snow in Big Bear.)

But you don’t need to shop 24 hours a day. This is the holiday season of Christmas and Hanukkah, and even if you’re not particularly religious, a time to take stock of where you are in life as the new year approaches. “Not shopping” means spending time during the holidays with your family, your friends, and those in need of help. “Not shopping” means reaching out to others with love and attention, letting them know you’re glad they’re a part of your life. It means spending a morning serving meals at a homeless shelter, instead of endlessly circling the parking lot at the mall. It means simply taking a long walk along the beach, or on one of Irvine’s urban trails, and reflecting on the beauty of the natural world.

We know you’ll still be looking for that perfect gift (which is why you need to come to the thrift store), but try to make “not shopping” part of your holidays this year.

Coming Attractions in Irvine

Every time we turn on the TV we are deluged with ads for “Coming Attractions” at the movies. At ALI, we can’t afford to buy TV air time, so here are ALI’s OWN COMING ATTRACTIONS FOR THE NEXT FEW WEEKS!

THROUGH FRIDAY, MAY 26: Our annual pre-inventory sale! Incredible discounts on our already low, low prices. We need to sell as much as we can before we take inventory at the end of May. If you buy it – we don’t have to count it!

WEDNESDAY, MAY 31 THROUGH SATURDAY, JUNE 3: THE SHOP WILL BE CLOSED WHILE WE INSTALL NEW FLOORING!!! We tried, and we tried, but there’s no way to do this without closing for a few days. Just save up all those dollars you would have spent at the shop between May 31 and June 3, because . . .

TUESDAY, JUNE 6: YES – TUESDAY! A SPECIAL RE-OPENING SUMMER SPECTACULAR SHOPPING DAY with ALL NEW (well, new to the thrift shop) SUMMER merchandise. Summer clothes, summer accessories, summer shoes, summer hats, and a new supply of housewares, toys, and linens.

None of these “Coming Attractions” feature superheroes, super villains, man-eating space creatures, or songs your kids will sing over and over for the rest of the summer. Just great merchandise at a LOW price (and depending on how much you buy, it’ll be cheaper than going to the movies)!

THRIFT SHOP INFORMATION

Assistance League of Irvine is an all-volunteer 501(c)(3) organization with a rich history of philanthropic programs to meet the needs of our community. Every year our volunteer base grows in strength and hours given, enabling us to provide greater benefits to the community in which we live and work. We are Assistance League.

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.

You never know!

I’ve been watching that TV series “The Crown,” about the young Queen Elizabeth II in the early days of her reign. (And it’s a relief to watch a TV show about a royal family where you don’t have to worry if the main character will be killed off before the end of the episode.). The real Queen Elizabeth is 91 now, and to most of us it seems that she’s always been a kindly elderly woman with a big purse, a hat, and her pet corgis. As we tend to do when considering our own elderly relatives, we forget that she was once an eager young woman, full of curiosity about the world and finding her place in life.

I’ve concluded that the young Elizabeth would have felt right at home in our thrift shop. Obviously, she would never have done her own shopping, or have had to count her pennies and shillings. But she grew up in the years of the Great Depression and World War II, when shortages, rationing, and making do with less were part of daily life.   She was a Girl Guide (the British version of the Girl Scouts), whose promise includes the words “to be of service to my community.” At 18, like other women of her generation giving to the war effort, she joined the Women’s Auxiliary of the British Army and trained to be a mechanic. She would have completely sympathized with ALI’s mission to to support needy families in our own community. And had she been a non-royal ordinary British housewife, she would have been thrilled at the bargains in our shop!

In real life, you’re not going to meet Queen Elizabeth in our thrift shop – but you’ll meet many women (and men) who share her devotion to their community. You’ll meet other shoppers who may not have struggled through World War II, but who understand the value of quality merchandise at an affordable price. And you can put away the money you save for a supply of popcorn for Season 2 of “The Crown!”