No Dumpsters Allowed (Otherwise Titled… I Love To Donate!)

No Dumpsters Allowed (Otherwise Titled… I Love To Donate!)

My grandmother always had a saying for everything. We’ve all heard “Waste not, want not” and that was one of her favorites. I was brought up believing that waste was sinful and I still believe that. We live in a world of excess. We have all said… I need that purse, skirt, pair of shoes, etc. when truly it is a want.

My mother’s Sunday school teacher had a line she would occasionally use, “I need to get my ‘wanter’ fixed.” I’ll digress here and leave most of that subject matter to someone else, but what I do want to talk about is what to do with that excess when it is no longer wanted or needed in our homes. The occasional yard sale is always a fun endeavor, but living in a very proactive Home Owners Association I am not able to do that. (Of course, shopping other people’s yard sales is much more appealing to me!) If you are Facebook savvy you can always make a little green$ by posting your items in a Buy Sell Trade group. I’ve used this handy little system many times, and almost always the results are good but, when time doesn’t allow or just the need for simplicity is best, DONATE! I cannot think of one single negative in donating unwanted clothing, kitchen items, décor, tools and such. There are many entities that are in the business of selling your donated items. The four that I have personal experience with are Goodwill, Grace Works, Our Thrift and my very favorite, Habitat ReStore. Let’s talk about household donations first. Those last three wine glasses from the set of eight, those leopard print heels that made you wince when you walked in them, the jeans that are just not quite on the cutting edge of style, the trim fit business shirt that is a little too trim fit now or the TV that isn’t “smart” but still works great can all be donated. There is someone out there that has no wine glasses and those three are the perfect fit for their budget and I am betting there is a cost-conscience smartly dressed lady out there with a foot more narrow than mine who will be giddy with glee that she scored a pair of Anthopologie leopard heels for $7.

Most people who thrift shop from donation stores are on a budget, starting out fresh or starting over and, there is a group of people that shop thrift stores for the simple pleasure of finding the unusual, the discontinued, the out of the ordinary, not to mention just the pleasure of scouting out a bargain!

My mom and her husband live in a lovely home they built 6 years ago in Franklin near Westhaven. Not far from their home are several thrift shops that they frequent on a regular basis. Along the way they have made several friendships with the folks that work there. I think it’s all a part of that small town charm. I have been the recipient of several of their thrifting trips. Antique mirrors, brass doorknockers, and a large collection of beautiful books for our library have all been acquired through their adventures. Someone else’s donation has benefitted me, so I am happy to donate my unwanted items to others! No dumpsters needed for household goods for sure! To all of this is the added benefit of that April 15th tax deduction.

Our biggest donations recently have been to the Habitat ReStore. When we gave our Oak Hill house a little fine-tuning along with a total kitchen gut and rebuild they were the recipients of a truck-load of reusable goods. A few of the items we donated were stainless steel sinks, faucets, the stove, wall ovens, a microwave and 17 interior doors. (Side Note: The previous owner had removed all of the original 1940 hardwood doors and replaced them with home improvement store faux wood doors. Why????? Over a period of four years we hunted yard sales, estate sales and thrift stores and replaced every one of them with vintage doors and vintage hardware and this makes my heart very happy.) When we started the renovation of our current home the donations were almost endless. Four trailer loads to be exact. Granite counters, walls of cabinets, chandeliers and lighting of all types, exterior windows, cabinet hardware, bathroom mirrors, and 28 interior doors including two sets of French doors with side lites were just some of those donations. Oh! I need to mention that ReStore also does pickup. See? It gets even better! The only thing that left our house in a dumpster was the dredges of drywall, tile from removed backsplashes and general construction debris. We even removed the 1982 custom built master closet and repurposed all of that wood for the upstairs guest bedrooms closets. “Waste not, want not.”

John and I keep a large shopping bag in the garage and when it gets full, we drop it off at Goodwill and feel good about having clean closets and along the way, helping someone else out (and there is never anything wrong with having an empty drawer, cabinet or closet… and we have several of those!)

The photograph I’m sharing with you is my best thrift store find yet! I found this beautiful mahogany sideboard at Habitat ReStore several years ago and paid $275. There was not one scratch on it. Not everything in your home can be that big of a bargain but when you do find one it sure does feel good! While a well collected home is comforting and desirable, excess and the unneeded can weigh us down. So, go free yourself and DONATE! Don’t Dump!


GraceWorks Ministries Thrift Shop
104 Southeast Parkway
Franklin, Tennessee

Our Thrift Store
1018 Columbia Avenue
Franklin, Tennessee

Habitat ReStore
414 Harding Place #100
Nashville, Tennessee

Goodwill (My Location)*
3812 Hillsboro Road
Nashville, Tennessee

*Yes, I am aware that Goodwill is controversial due to the high salary of the CEO. I choose to look beyond this. They provide thousands of jobs to those who need them and offer terrific values on the purchase of merchandise to those who need and want to pay lower prices. The numerous and convenient drop off sites are invaluable to me.

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