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    Déjà Vu Donations: When Well-Loved Items Hit Thrift Store Racks

    Goodwill store racks

    Having been a thrifter and thrift store donor for so long– and having met so many thrifters in my travels– there’s one question I often get: “Do you ever see stuff you’ve donated out for sale?”

    And the answer is pretty often, actually. I’ll never forget the first time I stumbled onto a donation I’d made at a Goodwill in Columbia, Missouri. I’d donated a bridesmaid dress in college during one of many moves. It was pretty unique looking, and I’d lost the top back button of the strapless periwinkle gown while getting down with the other bridesmaids at a wedding. Fast forward a year: I’d graduated, left, and ended up with a job back in Columbia when I pulled in to a parking space in front to look for furniture for my new apartment. There it was, hanging in the window — missing button and all.

    I was reminded of this a few weeks ago when my husband and I were cleaning to make room for the baby. We made multiple donation trips over the course of a few days, and of course popped in once or twice to see if they had anything we still needed.

    I didn’t have to go far before recognizing a maternity blazer I’d thrifted and re-donated, as well as a pink sweater that just wasn’t quite my color. I often joke that I’m drawn to specific colors and patterns, which is why I easily find my old stuff. I’ve even stopped to think, “Oh, this is cute! Oh, wait–that was MINE!”


    On this trip, I didn’t buy my old stuff back, but I did find the same desk lamp I had in college — except in way better shape than the one I donated years ago. It’s a perfect lamp for my crafting cave!

    Thrift stores are the circle of consumer life, and on some visits it’s more apparent than others. So just donate, smile and say thanks for the memories!

    Jenna Isaacson
    is a journalist, Midwesterner and thrift addict. She started her project All Thrifty States, in 2010. In 2011, with support from Goodwill and Kickstarter, she spent 52 days traveling 10,000 miles in an RV documenting items, people and scenes from thrift stores in 30 states. Now with 40 states complete, she intends to publish a book when it's complete. She lives in Washington, DC with a very patient husband.
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    • allyson.rivas.franco@gmail.com
      July 30th, 2014 at 10:16 pm

      Thank you Goodwilll…

    • tallgal1@msn.com
      November 26th, 2014 at 1:09 pm

      I am looking forward to your book Jenna!

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